Causes and Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Vitamin B6 is one of the eight B vitamins. This group of vitamins is important for proper cell function. Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body and is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions, benefits metabolism, keeps the central nervous system, normal brain development and immune system healthy, affects mood, appetite, sleep and thinking.

B6 is also needed to fight diseases and ensure that the blood carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Helping the body metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats for energy, regulating energy use in brain cells, and synthesizing chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin and dopamine are among its main tasks.

What Can Happen in B6 Deficiency?

Low Energy: Anemia (anemia) can be seen if vitamin B6, which is a vitamin necessary for the creation of red blood cells (red blood cells), the cells that the body uses to carry oxygen to every cell, is very low. Not having enough red blood cells can drain energy and make you feel very tired. This is not the only reason, not enough iron in the body, deficiencies in folate, B12 and other vitamins can also cause anemia. Vitamin B6 is effective in treating a genetic type of anemia called sideroblastic anemia.

Skin Rashes: B6 deficiency can cause an itchy, scaly red rash known as Seborrheic dermatitis. It can appear on the face, upper chest, scalp and neck. The rash may become evident over time. If the deficiency is minor, it may take months or years for symptoms to appear.

Dry, Chapped Lips: The mouth is one of the places where B6 deficiency can be detected. Scaling and inflammation of the lips, cracks in the corners of the mouth with pain may indicate B6 deficiency.

Shiny, Painful Tongue: A swollen, inflamed, red, smooth, or painful tongue may indicate B6 deficiency. This can cause problems with chewing, speaking, and swallowing.

Weakened Immune System: B6 deficiency prevents the formation of white blood cells and antibodies that the immune system must produce to fight disease. As a result, it becomes difficult for the body to defend itself and a vicious circle can be entered. In cancer and other diseases, the source of B6 may be depleted, and more vitamins may be required to compensate. This can easily be done with a vitamin B6 supplement.

Numbness in the Hands or Feet: In a nerve disorder called peripheral neuropathy, tingling in the fingers and numbness in the feet are felt. B6 deficiency can trigger this disorder. Apart from B6, vitamins such as B12 are also important and necessary for the nerves to stay healthy.

Grumpy in Babies: Grumpy in babies may indicate low vitamin B6. This can happen if the baby has not been fed anything other than breast milk for more than approximately 6 months. Even a small deficiency in vitamin B6, which has an effect on brain development during pregnancy and infancy, can lead to seizures. It can sensitize the baby’s hearing, so that the sounds, noises around him can easily be upset.

Nausea During Pregnancy: Expectant mothers need more B6 in their diet than anyone else. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may reduce the severity of morning sickness during pregnancy. The combination of doxylamine (an antihistamine) and pyridoxine may also work for moderate symptoms. Vitamin B6 supplements may be prescribed to pregnant women if they have persistent nausea and vomiting. Supplements should only be taken under the guidance of a doctor.

Changes in Mood: B6 is an important part of building neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to regulate mood and memory. If not enough, increased irritability, anxiety and depression may be noticed, and mental abilities may slow down. If a person experiences confusion, clouding of consciousness (brain fog), and especially if they are elderly, it may be due to a vitamin B6 deficiency. This can make them more likely to become depressed after a hip fracture, stroke (stroke), or other serious illness. In fact, there is little evidence to suggest that vitamin B6 supplements improve cognitive abilities, mood changes in patients with dementia or others.

Cancer: A low level of B6 may play a role in the possibility of cancer. Researchers do not know exactly why, but studies indicate that B6 deficiency may be associated with cancers of the esophagus and stomach. In addition, the deficiency of this vitamin can increase the risk of developing hormone-induced (steroid-type hormones) cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer.

People with any of the symptoms described above should see a medical professional to determine if they have a vitamin B6 deficiency.

Food Sources of Vitamin B6

Most foods contain some amount of vitamin B6. People with a balanced diet do not tend to develop a deficiency. Beef, beef liver, poultry, and fish such as salmon are good sources of B6. A glass of chickpeas meets half of the daily requirement. Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, potatoes, corn, bananas, nuts, tofu, bulgur wheat, cottage cheese, pumpkin, rice, raisins, onions, spinach, watermelon are among other sources of B6.

Daily Dose

Daily requirement of vitamin B6 can be affected by several factors and may vary depending on age. For example, babies aged 7 to 12 months need 0.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily. As you get older, your daily needs increase. The recommended daily amount for adults age 50 and younger is 1.3 milligrams, after age 50 the recommended daily amount is 1.5 milligrams for women and 1.7 milligrams for men. Pregnant women need more (1.9 milligrams daily).

Causes of B6 Deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare. Most people get enough from the food they eat, but a deficiency in other B vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and B9, increases the likelihood of B6 deficiencies as well. Those with autoimmune disorders, those who are obese, smokers, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding are more likely to have low B6 levels. Problems such as long-term excessive alcohol consumption, hypothyroidism, and diabetes can also cause B6 deficiency. Deficiency may develop if people have poor intestinal absorption and are taking estrogen, corticosteroid, anticonvulsant or other drugs. If the doctor prescribes a new drug, the overall effect on the body should be asked.

Vitamin B6 Supplements

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. The body does not store this vitamin and excretes the excess in the urine, so adequate amounts of vitamin B6 should be taken with food every day. Generally, most people consume enough vitamin B6 and do not need to take supplements. If enough B6 cannot be taken with the diet, if deficiency is detected, doctors may recommend dietary changes or vitamin B6 supplementation. Supplements are available in capsule or tablet form. Most multivitamins contain vitamin B6, but it can also be found separately. If medication is used or any supplements are taken, the doctor should be informed.

There is no evidence that consuming too much vitamin B6 with food has any adverse effects, but caution should be exercised when using supplements. Taking too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage, numbness, lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements (ataxia), nausea or heartburn, sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity), pain, or decreased ability to perceive temperature extremes.


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