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VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine)

 

Vitamin B6 is required for the balancing of hormonal changes in women as well as assisting the immune system and the growth of new cells. It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while assisting with controlling moods as well as behaviour. Natural foods rich in pyridoxine might also be of benefit for children with learning difficulties, as well as assisting in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.

 

It also assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium and promotes red blood cell production. It is further involved in the nucleic acids RNA as well as DNA.

 

Vitamin B6 is also needed by the body to manufacture its own vitamin B3 and converts glycogen to the glucose needed for energy.

 

It is further linked to cancer immunity and fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is detrimental to the heart muscle. Women may suffer from pre-menstrual fluid retention, severe period pains, emotional PMS symptoms, premenstrual acne and nausea in early pregnancy and consuming foods rich in vitamin B6, which is a natural diuretic, can help to reduce these symptoms. Mood swings, depression as well as loss of sexual drive is sometimes noted when pyridoxine is in short supply and the person is on hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills.

 

Deficiency of vitamin B6

 

Alcohol promotes the loss and destruction of vitamin B6 from the body and the medicine theophylline, often prescribed to asthmatic children, decreases levels of vitamin B6 in the body. Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms will be very much like those of vitamin B2, B3, B6 and B9 and can  include the following:

Vitamin B6 in conjunction with magnesium has been found effective in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones.

 

Coffee has a mild diuretic effect, which increases urination and water soluble vitamins, such as the B vitamins, can be depleted as a result of this fluid loss. In addition, it also interferes with the metabolism of some B vitamins, such as vitamin B6. Prolonged diarrhoea, drinking excessive alcohol and liver disease impairs the body's ability to absorb vitamin B6. Athletes, dancers and others involve in extreme physical activities may become deficient in vitamin B6 due to excessive perspiration and fluid loss.

See Performers and Sports Nutrition

 

Highest sources of vitamin B6 in milligrams per 100 grams

 

  • Whey 5.62mg

  • Yeast extract 4.60 mg

  • Rice bran 4.07 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 3.59 mg

  • Fish roe 3.50 mg

  • Spirulina 3.48 mg

  • Sage 2.69 mg

  • Paprika 2.51 mg

  • Wheat germ 2.26 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 2.09 mg

  • Goose 1.83 mg

  • Chicken livers 0.76 mg

  • Lobster 1.67 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 1.50 mg

  • Duck 1.50 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.35 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.30 mg

  • Garlic 1.24 mg

  • Buckwheat 1.23 mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1.12 mg

  • Tuna fish 1.04 mg

  • Beef or calf’s liver 1.03 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.97 mg

  • Salmon 0.94 mg

  • Turkey 0.81 mg

  • Venison 0.76 mg

NOTE: Wild salmon (0.94 mg) contains far more vitamin B6 than farmed salmon (0.56 mg) and fresh salmon and tuna are far richer in vitamin B6 than tinned.

 

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