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Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
It’s time! Time for the final article in my vitamin series! Introducing. . . . (drum roll please!) . . . Vitamin B6!

Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, is another one of those vitamins that is used for so many conversions in the body. Today I’m going to explain where our bodies use vitamin B6, as well as what drugs affect it, and where we can get more of it. Here we go!

B6 is needed for our brain, nervous, and immune systems to function properly. It is also needed to metabolize proteins, produce heme for hemoglobin, and to make stomach acid. One of its most important functions resides in the brain. Vitamin B6 is needed for production of neurotransmitters that affect our mood like serotonin and melatonin. It is also a building block of myelin which coats and protects our nerves.

Further, there seems to be a connection with vitamin B6 and inflammation. According to the long-term Framingham Heart Study, participants that had the most inflammatory markers had the lowest levels of B6. Low levels of B6 were measured in people with type-2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBS.

The best food sources are tuna, salmon, and all meat. Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, and bananas are good sources as well. We need a minimum of 6mg per day to maintain serum levels. Grains in the US and not fortified with B6.

With these great food sources 30 million Americans are still deficient in vitamin B6! Not surprising since we have so many inflammatory diseases. Women are twice as likely to be deficient as men. This could be because hormonal contraceptives and HRT (hormone replacement therapy) deplete vitamin B6. NSAIDs also deplete vitamin B6.

Some signs that you are deficient in B6 include: anemia, depression, insomnia, red swollen tongue, and if you have any of the diseases listed above. Consider taking a B6 supplement that is already in its bioactive form: pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (P5P or PLP) if you have liver issues, diabetes, or any inflammatory disease - including celiac and Crohn's disease - because your body probably isn’t absorbing and converting vitamin B6 as it should.

Well that’s a wrap! I hope these articles helped y’all in some small way. As always, if you have any questions or want more info, feel free to contact us.

- Jocelyn RDH

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