Vitamin B6 is one of the most important vitamins necessary to the body’s proper functioning. Nearly every molecule and cell in the body relies on vitamin B6 for production. It naturally supports the activity of the nervous system and is necessary for the processing of carbohydrates, which makes it a staple vitamin in the realm of natural cures and home remedies.
Vitamin B6 Nutrition Benefits
Vitamin B6 helps the body metabolize fat, carbohydrates and protein. It is found in foods made from whole grains, as well as meat, fish, select fruits and vegetables, and most dairy products. Vitamin B6 is also helpful in converting tryptophan, found in turkey and other meats, to niacin.
Vitamin B6 Health Benefits
The general health benefits of this vitamin are numerous, including:
- Supports a healthy immune system
- Supports a healthy nervous system
- Supports the healthy formation of red blood cells
- Supports healthy hair and skin
- Supports good sleep (and may act as a tranquilizer)
- Helps in the conversion of food energy
Aside from its importance to the nervous system, molecular and cellular functioning, vitamin B6 is found to be useful in treating the following conditions:
- High cholesterol
- Carpal tunnel
- Adrenal fatigue
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Kidney stones
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
In the United States, vitamin B6 deficiency is not a common condition. However, the elderly, alcoholics and asthmatic children taking theophylline to control their symptoms may also experience deficiencies. As helpful as vitamin B6 is to the body’s proper functioning, deficiencies can cause serious health symptoms, such as:
- Kidney stones
- High homocysteine levels (which also leads to heart disease)
- Learning difficulties
- Physical weakness
- Discoloration of the tongue
- Flaky skin
- Cracked lips
- Hair loss
- Skin lesions
Vitamin B6 Food Sources
Although vitamin B6 is widely sold in supplemental forms, the absolute best way to assure its proper intake is through consuming the following foods:
- Bell peppers
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Crimini mushrooms
- Turmeric powder
Large doses of vitamin B6 may result in nerve damage, particularly in the extremities. Symptoms of its excessive use include numbness, tingling or a burning sensation in the toes and the fingers. This is most likely to be found in cases where the vitamin is being introduced to the body through supplements. Symptoms tend to cease and reverse when supplements are stopped.
Certain medications that are prescribed for seizures do not interact well with vitamin B6 supplements. Other medications, such as those prescribed for Parkinson’s disease and tuberculosis deprive the body of vitamin B6, but the medications themselves become less effective when taken with B6 supplements.
Because of its various health benefits, its effectiveness in the treatment of various diseases and disorders through natural cures and home remedies, as well as the possibilities of negative drug interactions with supplements, vitamin B6 is best garnered from natural food sources. Persons with serious underlying illnesses, particularly those who are on prescription medications should always consult with their physician before and while treating themselves with vitamin B6 or any other effective home cures.