Vitamin B6 is involved in processes that are responsible for the intensity of pain, normal sleep or well-being. Its resources are depleted by widely understood stress.
Vitamin B6 forms:
Their esters with a 5-phosphate group are:
- pyridoxine 5-phosphate (PNP)
- pyridoxal 5-phosphate (P5P)
- pyridoxamine 5-phosphate (PMP)
The human body does not produce B6 vitamins on its own, hence its supply through the diet is essential. The abundant in this vitamin we have: poultry, beef, pork, liver of every kind, eggs and fish. From vegetable sources: pistachios, sunflower seeds, black cumin, chickpeas, bananas, avocados, potatoes, brussels sprouts.
In a properly functioning organism, the liver converts vitamin B6 to the P5P form – the active form. However, in some cases this process may be disturbed and if there are no chronic P5P deficiencies, it’s worth considering supplementation with this form of vitamin.
Vitamin B6 and nervous system
Vitamin B6 is necessary to maintain the proper state of the nervous system and work of the brain. Its low status is associated with higher levels of homocysteine, which in turn promotes neurodegenerative processes [1, 2]. Research suggests that in the case of high levels of homocysteine, the supply of vitamin B6 may improve cognitive functions . Unfortunately, in case of dementia there was no clear-cut effect of vitamin B6 on this condition [4, 5]. The use of vitamin B6 in a short period of time also does not improve cognitive functions, it does not fight depression .
B6 deficit, specifically in the form of P5P, causes neurological disorders, as demonstrated in the context of epilepsy . Vitamin B6 may be helpful in polyneuropathy, such as peripheral nerve damage resulting from diabetes or Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Vitamin B6 and sleep efficiency
It has been shown that the deficiency of vitamin B6 is associated with sleep disorders . B6 has an effect on areas of the brain that lead to more real, exciting dreams during the REM phase . An additional supply of this vitamin may lead to higher cortisol bursts at the time of awakening, which positively affects vitality, crispness and morning .
The deficiency of vitamin B6 in the active form of P5P may lead to the transformation of tryptophan to an organic acid called kynurenine, instead of to serotonin, from which in the later stages the body produces melatonin necessary to achieve a deep and regenerative state of sleep . Thus, P5P deficiency can cause problems with falling asleep.
Vitamin B6 and anxiety
The use of a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium has a beneficial effect on the level of anxiety related to PMS in women [13, 14]. The above combination may also be effective in the fight against epilepsy resulting from depression . Panic attacks and hyperventilation have also been associated with chronic deficiencies of vitamin B6 . Vitamin B6 is also applicable to children with autism who are given it due to its deficiency .
Vitamin B6 and depression
Low vitamin B6 status is also associated with depression , which may be related to its participation in the formation of serotonin . Dopamine has an effect that affects the storage mechanisms of vitamin B6, which suggests that an excess of dopamine may deplete vitamin B6 resources and bring them closer to depression .
In a study conducted on a group of women, it was shown that those who consumed more B6 in food had a lower risk of depression .
Vitamin B6 as painkiller
The supply of vitamin B6 is effective in reducing symptoms of painful breasts in the so-called cyclic mastalgia . In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, vitamin B6 also shows its beneficial effect by reducing the pain felt .
Migraines may be associated with chronic vitamin B6 deficiency, as this is required at certain stages of the methylation process associated with homocysteine breakdown, and this excess contributes to the prevalence of migraines [6, 23].
Vitamin B6 should be supplemented daily, to avoid its deficencies. And to let you remember its importance more easily, we have prepared an infographic, summarizing Vitamin B6 benefits and functions!