Vitamin B6, also called Pyridoxine, is one in the group of B vitamins. This vitamin is very essential for the body because of the many useful functions it performs to keep the body fit and well-functioning.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. The following food sources contain vitamin B6.
- Meat – beef, pork, chicken and turkey.
- Fish like tuna, cod and salmon.
- Vegetables like yam, peas, carrots, spinach, asparagus etc.
- Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds.
- Seeds of sesame and pumpkin.
- Whole grains.
- Fruits like bananas.
- Milk and cheese.
For meat-eaters, it is very easy to get their daily dose of vitamin B6 through light meat consumption. For vegans, they should consciously incorporate the above nuts, seeds and vegetables in their diet to derive the benefits of vitamin B6. They can hoard packets of roasted but unsalted peanuts and almonds. These can be had as a snack. Similarly, sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds can be bought and stored. These can be had in place of desserts. While cooking vegetables which contain vitamin B6, care should be taken not to overcook them; being a water-soluble vitamin, its nutrients would be lost if cooked for more than the required time.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B6:
Mental and Nervous Health:
- Vitamin B6, along with other drugs, is prescribed for many mental disorders including Alzhiemer’s, Down’s syndrome, Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This powerful vitamin works on the nervous system by helping in the production of the chemicals, serotonin and melotonin, which enable better communication between the brain and the nerve cells.
- This activity of vitamin B6 ensures that mental fatigue and tiredness are removed.
- Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is one common symptom experienced by at least 50% of women, the world over.
- A wrong food pattern, over stress and a hormonal imbalance can be attributed to PMS.
- To balance the hormones, a prescription of vitamin B6 in combination with zinc and other nutrients is prescribed by the doctors.
- Also, for all those women who experience pain before and during periods, a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium, can relieve them of pain. The vitamin and the mineral combination work on the body to significantly reduce the intensity and period of pain.
- Many women experience severe body ache during periods. Doses of vitamin B6 with lots of rest would help them counter the problem.
Vitamin B6 during pregnancy:
This vitamin is prescribed for the following conditions during pregnancy:
- To prevent anaemia.
- To help in morning sickness during the first and second trimesters.
- To regulate high blood pressure.
- To help in making antibodies, red blood cells and neuro-transmitters, to support foetal growth.
However, pregnant women should stick to the recommended dosage of this vitamin. Excess of this may cause serious complications in the woman as well the baby growing inside her.
For the heart:
- Studies indicate that low levels of vitamin B6 in the body may affect the heart adversely. This can lead to inadequate functioning of the heart which can be the reason for many related diseases.
- Intake of vitamin B6 helps in reducing the level of some of the amino acids, whose excessive presence may cause heart diseases.
For the skin and hair:
- Vitamin B6 is prescribed for acne. Also, it helps in preventing skin allergies.
- It is useful in treating more serious conditions of the skin like melanoma and psoriasis.
- Dry skin is also treated with doses of vitamin B6 along with vitamin E.
- Hair loss and dandruff are treated with this vitamin.