All About Vitamin B6 Supplementation

29th September 2019
Vitamin B6 is one of the many nutrients that the body needs to maintain a proper metabolism. Discover the symptoms of pyridoxine deficit and excess.

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin within-group B. This vitamin consists of three fundamental components: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. This vitamin is one of the fundamental micronutrients that the human body has to consume on a daily basis in order to maintain proper homeostasis.

Where is vitamin B6 obtained?

Vitamin B6 is found in many foods you consume on a regular basis. For that reason, it’s quite easy to maintain adequate levels of it. For example, it’s present in foods such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Wheat and derivatives
  • White meat and veal
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Fruits, especially banana and avocado

Usually, a person who follows a balanced diet will have sufficient vitamin B6 intake to meet the body’s nutritional requirements. Instead, those athletes who follow restrictive diets will have to modify their nutritional habits or consider supplementing with pyridoxine.

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Functions of vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine acts as a coenzyme in many cellular processes of the body. Its functions are highlighted in the synthesis of red blood cells and in maintaining proper brain function. It also plays a fundamental role in the following processes:

  • It’s involved in the energy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It participates by degrading glycogen to glucose in the liver.
  • It’s of great importance in the metabolism of certain amino acids, including tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin. Adequate serotonin levels are related to maintaining mood and preventing mental illness such as depression.
  • Participates in the creation of new nerve endings.
  • It contributes to the formation of immunoglobulin, known as antibodies. This means Vitamin B6 helps strengthen the immune system.

A deficit of this vitamin

Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with numerous symptoms. Having an important role in so many different processes, it’s natural that it manifests itself in various ways:

  • Skin disorders such as rashes or petechiae
  • Fatigue, asthenia, and lethargy.
  • Alterations of mood, such as depressive disorders
  • Anemia
  • Mouth or tongue ulcers, known as ‘canker sores’
  • Tremors and irritability
  • Muscle cramps

Excessive consumption of this vitamin

It’s very common for people who start practicing sports begin to supplement their diets with all kinds of substances. Many beginners want to increase their performance as soon as possible by taking these supplements.

However, you should consult a specialist before supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals. Remember, a vitamin excess in your body can be as harmful as a deficit. Some symptoms of vitamin B6 excess in your body are:

  • Alterations in your mood
  • Dizziness
  • A weakening of the immune system
  • Sickness
  • Hypersensitivity to sunlight
  • Peripheral neuropathy
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All of these symptoms are preventable with proper nutrition. If you suspect that you may have an excess of vitamin B6, don’t hesitate to go to a doctor. Only a specialist can decide what the most appropriate therapeutic attitude to follow is. The objective will be to correct the situation as soon as possible.

Another important point to keep in mind is that this vitamin, having a hepatic metabolism, can interact with numerous drugs by increasing or decreasing their concentration in your blood. This is why vitamin B6 can alter the effect of other drugs and their possible side effects. If you take medication regularly, you must be careful when supplementing your diet with this vitamin.

Vitamin in sports practice

As we’ve seen, vitamin B6 is a fundamental nutrient in many metabolic processes related to obtaining energy in the body. Naturally, a higher energy demand due to regular sports practice will increase the demands of vitamin B6. However, a person who follows a balanced diet shouldn’t worry about a possible deficit of this nutrient.

Keep in mind that if the body is exposed to restrictive diets it could easily lead to vitamin B6 deficit. If you’re aiming to lose weight quickly and drastically, you’re likely to experience the symptoms of a pyridoxine deficit. These include fatigue, lethargy, and mood alterations.

These symptoms will significantly decrease athletic performance. For this reason, and by way of conclusion, we insist that you follow a balanced diet with a correct contribution of vitamin B6. Thus, if you believe you might have a deficit, you should consult a doctor for proper analysis and treatment.

  • Spinneker A, Sola R, Lemmen V, Castillo MJ, Pietrzik K, González-Gross M. Vitamin B6 status, deficiency and its consequences–an overview. Nutr Hosp [Internet]. [cited 2019 Apr 13];22(1):7–24. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17260529
  • Vitamina B6: MedlinePlus enciclopedia médica [Internet]. [cited 2019 Apr 13]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/002402.htm
  • Brown MJ, Beier K. Vitamin B6 Deficiency (Pyridoxine) [Internet]. StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2019 [cited 2019 Apr 13]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29261855