Vitamin B6 | A deficiency leads to disorders of the body’s own detoxification

The vitamin B6 is, like all other B vitamins, also a water-soluble vitamin, which daily requirement usually can be covered easily through the food. But there are ailments such as the HPU / KPU, which quickly causes a lack of B6, as the vitamin B6 is flushed out of the body via the urine.

Even with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel and ulcerative colitis, a deficiency can occur quickly because in this case the vitamins can be poorly absorbed from the food, through the intestinal mucosa.

In these cases, a deficiency can arise quickly and the vitamin B6 should be supplemented, but more on that later.

The human body absorbs Vitamin B6 via the intestinal mucosa of the upper small intestine. This happens with an absorption rate of approx. 70% via the passive diffusion. After the vitamin B6 in the body has been converted into the active form P5P (pyridoxal phosphate), the most part is stored in the liver.

If the body lacks vitamin B6, it is quite common that the liver is disturbed in its function, what results in fatal consequences for the entire organism, the main function of the liver, the detoxification, can no longer proceed correctly.

But even for the nervous system, a healthy vitamin B6 level is essential because it is responsible for the formation of neurotransmitters in the nerve cells.

Vitamin B6 also is involved in the formation of the red blood pigment hemoglobin, and bile acid and important minerals such as iron, magnesium or calcium can not be utilized properly without vitamin B6.

Important in case of histamine intolerance: Vitamin B6 or the active form P5P is necessary to reduce histamine in the body.

What functions does vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate) have in the human body?

  1. Help with protein digestion
  2. Help with detoxification
  3. Formation of messenger substances in the nerve cells
  4. Support in the formation of hemoglobin
  5. Ensures normal homocysteine ​​metabolism
  6. Serves as a catalyst in metabolism
  7. Regulates the hormone activity

Typical symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency

In our latitudes, a B6 deficiency is quite rare, but occurs, as mentioned earlier, especially in autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), the HPU / KPU and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease).

But also pregnant women and adolescents, who have an increased need of protein due to their growth phases, should pay attention to a vitamin B6-rich diet. This also applies to smokers and alcoholics.

If actually a deficiency of vitamin B6 occurs in the body, it often causes multi-organ problems as vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 different metabolic processes. If these can no longer work correctly, the affected organs will report their specific symptoms.

In particular, vegans and vegetarians should pay attention to a vitamin B6-containing diet and under certain circumstances consider for themselves whether a supplementation with vitamin B6 would make sense.

Due to the fact that vitamin B6 is water soluble, the body’s storage of pyridoxine may be depleted within 2-6 weeks if no replenishment is delivered. If this point is reached, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pale complexion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Learning disorders
  • Respiratory problems
  • Acne
  • Growth disorder
  • Photosensitivity
  • Susceptibility to infections
  • Digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea
  • Coordination disorders
  • Anemia (microcytic, hypochromic anemia)
  • Muscle cramps

What foods are rich of vitamin B6

According to DGE, a daily intake of about 2 mg of vitamin B6 is recommended. The following foods can meet this demand relatively quick:

  • Avocado
  • Beef liver
  • Veal
  • Chicken meat
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Banana
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Sprouts
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans

The exactly amount of contained vitamin B6 in the above mentioned foods is difficult to say because it depends on the way of preparation as well as on the quality and freshness of the food. It should be noted that the vitamin B6 content in frozen foods is usually up to 50% lower than in fresh foods. But also when roasting and cooking it, up to 30% of the vitamin B6 gets lost.

Too much vitamin B6 – What happens when you overdose vitamin B6?

As with all supplements, you can overdose yourself with vitamin B6. But for that you have to consume quite a lot of it in tablet form. An amount of more than 500mg per day can and will be a problem in the long run.

An overdose of vitamin B6 manifests itself in the form of nerve damage and usually causes  the following symptoms:

  • Paralysis symptoms
  • Numb feeling in the hands and feet
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Inflammatory skin reactions
  • Gait disorders
  • Strong photosensitivity
  • Rash
  • Disturbances in touch- and temperature sensation
  • Missfeelings of the skin     Memory disorders

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  • vitamin-b6: © Brent Hofacker -