Vitamin B6 Benefits
Let’s face it, there are so many vitamin Bs that it is hard to know which is which! Vitamin B6 benefits our bodies in many ways you may not be aware of, so let me give you the low-down...
Which vitamin B is B6?
Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. It is a water soluble vitamin that was first isolated in 1938 by a guy named Samuel Lepkovsky. He managed to extracted it from rice bran.
Vitamin B6 is actually an umbrella-term for a group of structures such as pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine… and there are others too.
That’s a lot of ‘pyri’s!
The ‘pyri’ refers to a compound called pyridine. Pyridine is unrelated to Vitamin B6 but it has a similar chemical structure. This is what inspired the name for vitamin B6.
How Vitamin B6 Benefits Our Bodies
So the fact that you’re reading about the ingredients in Athletic Greens tells me you want to stay healthy, right? Well, vitamin B6 is vital for healthy human function so let’s learn a bit about why we need it so much.
VItamin B6 is a co-factor in over a HUNDRED enzyme reactions. That’s pretty amazing!
We need it from the start of life when our brains are developing, and right the way through our lives, our cells need it to create energy.
The list of reasons we need it, and the ways vitamin B6 benefits us seems endless. It is vital for breaking down protein into amino acids, which are the building blocks of DNA. And we cannot make haemoglobin - which is the molecule that carries oxygen in our bloodstream - without it.
Vitamin B6 Benefits In More Detail
Let’s break it down and look at this nifty little vitamin in more detail. How could all these vitamin B6 benefits specifically help you?
You may have heard of a substance called homocysteine before. Homocysteine is an inflammatory molecule with strong links to heart disease. Together with folate and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 helps reduce this damaging substance.
Low levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack. So if you believe in heart health, this could be an important vitamin for you.
Do you want to make sure your immune system is in great condition? Well, whilst there is still not enough evidence to support the use of vitamin B6 as an immune-supportive supplement, what we do know is that deficiency is linked to immune dysfunction.
Vitamin B6 as a nervous system winner
At Athletic Greens, we believe in supporting your mental as well has physical well being. This is another reason vitamin B6 has been included.
Our bodies use it to create chemicals in our nervous system such as dopamine and serotonin. These are ‘happy hormones’ and preliminary research supports vitamin B6 supplementation in depression. This is especially useful in later life.
There are other vitamin B6 benefits for the nervous system too. Some studies have linked deficiencies in B vitamins - such as vitamins B6, B12 and folate - to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
And a link has been found between vitamin B6 deficiency and the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, though it’s not yet clear whether supplementation can also act as therapy.
Vitamin B6 in women
This mighty vitamin has a more feminine side too and can be useful in hormonal challenges. Since the 1940s, it has been used to treat morning sickness in pregnancy. It is safe and effective at a dose of 30mg daily.
Many women have also found that is may decrease the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS. And what’s more, there is evidence that it significantly improves your mood. That could mean less duvet days during your cycle. Result!
This might be a lot to digest but I haven’t finished! You probably can’t believe it but there are still more vitamin B6 benefits…..
Did you know that vitamin B6 may also assist in weight loss? Studies have found a decrease in fat stores when it is used as a supplement.
And that’s not all! One large study found a significant decrease in kidney stone formation in women taking 40mg of vitamin B6 daily.
So What dose of Vitamin B6 Should I Be Taking?
If you have a good diet, it’s unlikely that you are deficient in vitamin B6 but it’s always good to know what signs to look for.
Cracked corners of the mouth, a sore tongue, certain anaemias, itchy rashes and fatigue can all be signs of low levels. In extreme cases, low B6 levels can even lead to seizures.
The recommended dose of vitamin B6 for healthy adults is between 2 - 5 mg per day. After the age of 50, you might need a little more than that.
High alcohol intake depletes vitamin B6 and higher level supplementation may be advise in this situation.
There are good dietary sources of vitamin B6 including fish, grass-fed beef and chicken. And there are some awesome and totally delicious vegetarian sources too, such as bananas, avocados and spinach, as well as many nuts and seeds.
It’s important to remember that the B vitamins work synergistically, so you get the most benefit from taking them in conjunction. But you don’t need to worry about that because we’ve included quite a few in Athletic Greens!
They say you can’t have too much of a good thing but unfortunately, that’s not the case with vitamin B6. It can be toxic at high doses, and over time, if you take more than 6 grams a day, it can damage your nervous system.
It can also interact with some medicines so it is always better to ask a health professional if you are taking other medication.
Vitamin B6 benefits us in so many vital processes but I’ll stop there or we’ll be here all day!
From the synthesis of blood cells to the health of our immune system, from our happiness to our nerve function, the vitamin B6 benefits are crucial to our well being and health. If ever a vitamin should be given a superhero cloak, I think you’d agree that this energetic little molecule is the one!