WHY VITAMIN B6?
Vitamin B6 and its derivative pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) are involved in many aspects of metabolism. In particular, it is involved in amino acid metabolic pathways. PLP is the active coenzyme form of vitamin B6 and is used to measure blood levels of the nutrient within the body. PLP assists more than 100 enzymes to perform vital functions. These include the breakdown of proteins and fats, maintaining normal levels of homocysteine*, and supporting immune and brain health (1).
*high levels of homocysteine can cause cardiovascular problems
- Vitamin B6. (2020, January 01). Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B6
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B6?
Evidence suggests that vitamin B6 can help lower markers of cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is involved in the early steps of atherosclerosis: lipids deposit in plaques within arterial walls, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a biomarker of systemic inflammation. An analysis of 2,686 participants of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicated that CRP levels were inversely related to total vitamin B6 intakes (from both food and supplements)* (1).
A large study of 80,082 women was conducted by the US Nurses’ Health Study Cohort. The authors made observations through food frequency questionnaires. The results showed that women in the highest quartile of vitamin B6 intakes from both food and supplements had a 34% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those in the lowest quartile of consumption (2).
*meaning that with increased vitamin B6 intake, blood serum concentrations of CRP (inflammation) decreased
- Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB, et al. Folate and vitamin B6 from diet and supplements in relation to risk of coronary heart disease among women. JAMA. 1998;279(5):359-364. (PubMed)
- Morris MS, Sakakeeny L, Jacques PF, Picciano MF, Selhub J. Vitamin B-6 intake is inversely related to, and the requirement is affected by inflammation status. J Nutr. 2010;140(1):103-110. (PubMed)
Several enzymatic reactions in the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway are dependent on vitamin B6. This pathway is known to be activated during pro-inflammatory immune responses (1). The chronic inflammation that triggers degradation in the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway and underlies many diseases may increase vitamin B6 requirements. Evidence suggests that adequate vitamin B6 intake is important for a prime immune system, especially in older adults (2).
- Paul L, Ueland PM, Selhub J. Mechanistic perspective on the relationship between pyridoxal 5'-phosphate and inflammation. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(4):239-244. (PubMed)
- Talbott MC, Miller LT, Kerkvliet NI. Pyridoxine supplementation: effect on lymphocyte responses in elderly persons. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987;46(4):659-664. (PubMed)
In the brain, a PLP-dependent enzyme catalyzes the synthesis of two major neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine. Other neurotransmitters including glutamate**, D-serine** and GABA*** are also synthesized in reactions catalyzed by PLP-dependent enzymes. While glutamate and D-serine are important for learning memory, GABA is an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter to produce a calming effect. It can help mitigate feelings of anxiety, stress, fatigue and insomnia (1).
- Clayton PT. B6-responsive disorders: a model of vitamin dependency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2006;29(2-3):317-326. (PubMed)
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH IN VITAMIN B6?
Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods. The richest sources include fish, beef liver and organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (other than citrus). In the US, the majority of vitamin B6 is consumed through fortified cereals, beef and poultry, starchy vegetables, and select fruits (1). For reference, one cup of chickpeas contains 1.1mg per serving, while 3 ounces of beef liver contains 0.9mg per serving.
- “Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin B6.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Feb. 2020, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF LOW VITAMIN B6?
The human body cannot create vitamin B6. This nutrient must be obtained through diet or supplementation. A vitamin B6 deficiency is rare on its own and is typically seen among other b-complex deficiencies. Early symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency tend to be mild or fleeting; however, deficiency may present as seizures in the young. Severely deficient adults may display rashes, mental status changes, and depression (1).
- Brown MJ, Beier K. Vitamin B6 Deficiency (Pyridoxine) [Updated 2020 Feb 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470579/
Our Vitamin B6 is obtained from quinoa sprouts germinated with b-complex. During the germination process of the quinoa, the b-vitamins are incorporated into the quinoa seeds and available in their free form; they are also available in their biologically active form, allowing for proper absorption.
Research conducted at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania) USA has demonstrated that natural vitamins, as a result of their bioavailability, are superior to synthetic vitamins; the absorption of natural vitamin B6 was 2.54 times higher than its synthetic counterpart