Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Summary

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency is quite common especially in the elderly and pregnant women and may increasingly be implicated in heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, ADHD and depression. As many as 57% of alcoholics have a functional deficiency of Vitamin B6 in the presence of normal blood levels, and between 80-100% of those with alcoholic liver disease have pyridoxine deficiency.

Deficiency symptoms include skin cracks, sores or burning at the corner of the mouth and lips (cheilosis), the corners of the mouth (angular stomatitis) or tongue (glossitis, magenta tongue), inflamed mouth (stomatitis), red dry flaking scaly or oily skin on face or elsewhere (seborrhoeic dermatitis), acne, alopecia,  abnormally acute hearing, confusion, difficulty concentrating, short term memory loss, irritability, depression, fatigue, headaches, migraine, nausea and vomiting, reduced appetite and weight loss, heavy pre-menstrual symptoms, pain, arthritic symptoms, epilepsy, seizures, or convulsions.

Vitamin B6 deficiency may also be implicated in several physical disease states like pregnancy-induced illness and morning sickness, premenstrual syndrome, uraemia, kidney stones, hereditary sideroblastic anaemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, cirrhosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and heart failure, and also neuropsychiatric disease states like autism, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, antipsychotic-induced akathisia, tardive dyskinesia. Deficiency of vitamin B6 along with zinc may also trigger the debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder known as pyroluria.

About Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 deficiency may be becoming more common owing to modern diets plus lifestyle factors which directly deplete the vitamin and include excess consumption of alcohol, sugar and refined foods, chronic mercury toxicity from dental amalgam and thimerosal based vaccinations, the use of vitamin-depleting pharmaceutical drugs, and malabsorptive bowel disorders.

Vitamin B6 is essential for glucose balance and energy production, production of vital neurotransmitters and essential fatty acids, the body’s process of methylation, the manufacture of haemoglobin, the synthesis of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA, and the production of thyroid hormone.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with symptoms of cheilosis, angular stomatitis, glossitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, acne, alopecia, confusion, irritability, depression, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, heavy pre-menstrual symptoms, joint pain, bone pain and tenderness, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, seizures, and convulsions. It may also underlie several disease states like pregnancy induced illness and morning sickness, premenstrual syndrome, uraemia, kidney stones, hereditary sideroblastic anaemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, cirrhosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, heart failure, and also neuropsychiatric disease states like autism, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, antipsychotic-induced akathisia, and tardive dyskinesia.

These conditions often get misdiagnosed as illnesses in their own right by doctors and psychiatrists unfamiliar with this simple biochemical imbalance and they may resort to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs to manage symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. Vitamin B6 deficiency responds well to the introduction of activated coenzyme form of vitamin B6.

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