Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine: Supporting All Basic Body Functions

Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that MUST be present for the production of antibodies and red blood cells.  Without sufficient healthy red blood cells, the body cannot receive the oxygen required for optimum health, and without the production of antibodies, the body is left vulnerable to attack by many foreign invaders.  One thing which causes a severe B6 deficiency is the ingestion of refined sugars.  For each teaspoon of sugar ingested, the immune system is basically at a standstill for a period of four hours, unless there is adequate supplementation.  The production of antibodies requires prostiglandins, which are dependent upon Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6 helps maintain the balance of sodium and potassium, which regulates body fluids, and is particularly helpful to alleviate water retention during pregnancy.   The idea that the baby's nutritional needs will be filled at the expense of the mother is false.   Studies have shown that pregnant women retain more B6 than non-pregnant women (1), so in order for the fetus to be assured of enough B6, adequate supplementation is needed.  Because B6 plays a vital role in cell multiplication, it is essential during pregnancy for the normal development of the child (2), particularly in the area of synthesis and proper action of DNA and RNA (1).    If B6 deficiency is allowed to continue through late pregnancy, infant convulsions, stillbirths, or death shortly after birth may result, as well as some birth defects such as cleft palate.

Vitamin B6 is essential for the proper absorption of Vitamin B12.  It is also important in the breakdown and utilization for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  Because there is a relationship between cholesterol metabolism and B6, it is effective in the control of atherosclerosis.  Numerous studies have shown that low levels of B6 are associated with a five-fold increased risk of heart attack (2).  It is also helpful in the treatment of mental illness, including schizophrenia, autism, depression and nervousness.

The combination of B6, B12 and Folic acid has been shown to lower homocysteine and  can significantly lower one's risk of heart attack and stroke.  Almost all major diseases are associated with elevated homocysteine levels.  This vitamin combination helps clean out arteries and improve blood flow.

The RDA for Vitamin B6 is 2 mg per day (2).  However, as we have discussed in previous articles, the RDA is not enough to assure optimum health.  As with the other B Vitamins, B6 is water-soluable and is excreted in the urine within 8 hours after ingestion, so it is not stored in the body.  Ingestion of up to 300 mg per day has shown no toxic effects.  However, ingestion of doses over 100 mg per day for months or years can cause nerve damage in some people.

Ailments which may benefit from B6 supplementation:

Fainting spells
Mental Illness
Multiple sclerosis
Burning and tingling sensations
Adrenal exhaustion
Leg cramps
Muscular dystrophy
Retarded growth
Stress (1).

Sources for Vitamin B6:

Brewer’s yeast, carrots, chicken, eggs, fish, meat, peas, spinach, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and wheat germ, avocado, bananas, beans, blackstrap molasses, broccoli, brown rice and other whole grains, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, dulse, plantains, potatoes, rice bran soybeans, and tempeh, alfalfa, catnip, and oat straw. All foods contain some vitamin B6

The best source for supplementation is nutritional yeast.  Purchase Here

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Copyright 2015  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

(1)  Dunne, Lavon J.   (1990). Nutrition Almanac. New York:  McGraw-Hill, p. 29.
(2)  Personal Health Lifestyles.  (2000).  "Vitamin B6:  Pyridoxine."  Available Online:  [].
(3)  Inner Self Publication.  (2000).  "Vitamin B6:  Pyridoxine."  Available Online: [].

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