Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with microcytic anemia, electroencephalographic abnormalities, dermatitis with cheilosis (scaling on the lips and cracks at the corners of the mouth) and glossitis (swollen tongue), depression and confusion, and weakened immune function
Isolated vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon; inadequate vitamin B6 status is usually associated with low concentrations of other B-complex vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folic acid. Vitamin B6 deficiency causes biochemical changes that become more obvious as the deficiency progresses.
What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as pyridoxine, is one of eight vitamins in the B complex group, that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Vitamin B6 in coenzyme forms performs a wide variety of functions in the body and is extremely versatile, with involvement in more than 100 enzyme reactions, mostly concerned with protein metabolism.
• Skin Rashes
Vitamin B6 deficiency is one cause of a red, itchy rash called seborrheic dermatitis. The rash can appear on your scalp, face, neck and upper chest. It’s known for its oily, flaky appearance and may cause swelling or white patches.
Cheilosis, which is characterized by sore, red and swollen lips with cracked mouth corners, can result from B6 deficiency. Cracked areas may bleed and become infected.
If you have a B6 deficiency, your tongue may become swollen, sore, smooth, inflamed or reddened. This is called glossitis.Deficiencies of other nutrients, including folate and B12, can also result in this condition.
• Mental Health
Mood changes like irritability, anxiety and depression can happen when you’re low in B6. That’s because B6 is needed to make nerve messengers that help control your mood.
• Weak Immune System
A well-working immune system is key to preventing infections, inflammation and various cancers. Nutrient deficiencies, including B6, can disrupt the immune system.If you don’t get enough B6, your body can’t make the antibodies, white blood cells and other immune factors it needs to fight germs and ward off diseases.
A vitamin B6 deficiency can leave you feeling unusually tired and sluggish.
A big reason is vitamin B6’s role in helping make hemoglobin. That’s the protein in your red blood cells that helps carry oxygen throughout your body. If your cells don’t get enough oxygen as a result of too little hemoglobin, it’s called anemia. That can make you feel tired and weak.
• Peripheral Neuropathy
Deficiency of B6 can cause nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy.
Symptoms may include burning, shooting and tingling pain in your arms, legs, hands and feet. Some describe it as a “pins and needles” feeling.
The nerve damage may also result in clumsiness, balance problems and difficulty walking.
Seizures happen for different reasons, including B6 deficiency.
Without enough B6, you don’t make adequate amounts of the calming neurotransmitter GABA, so your brain may become overstimulated.
This is more frequently seen in infants but has happened in adults as well.
• High level of Homocysteine
A B6 deficiency, as well as folate and B12, can result in an abnormally high blood level of homocysteine, as these B vitamins are needed to help process homocysteine. Increased homocysteine levels have been linked with several health issues, most notably heart disease and stroke, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. When homocysteine is elevated, it can damage blood vessels and nerves
Vitamin B6 deficiency can occur due to several reasons. Some of them are –
• Malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis.
• Individuals who have genetic diseases, such as homocystinuria, can cause insufficiency of vitamin B6.
• Certain medications, such as antiepileptic drugs.
• Intake of vitamin B6 inactivating drugs such as antiseizure, isoniazid, hydralazine, and corticosteroids.
Source of Vitamin B6
Individuals can easily prevent Vitamin B6 deficiency by consuming vitamin B6 rich foods, vegetables, fruits. Here is a list detailing these food items –
• Protein-rich foods such as poultry, fish, organ meats, beef and turkey seafood, nuts and seeds; beans, peas, lentils, and soy products.
• Potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
• Fat-free and low-fat milk, oils, yoghurt, and cheese.
• Fruits, except for citrus fruits.
Pyridoxine deficiency can be diagnosed by clinical evaluation and physical examination. Clinicians may look for the key signs of deficiency, including dermatological findings, presence of altered mental status, and peripheral neuropathy. Diagnosis of vitamin B6 deficiency is usually made based on a clinical exam; however, deficiency can also be detected by direct assay of blood or urine.
Pyridoxine deficiency can be treated with vitamin B6 supplements. Vitamin B6 is available in multivitamins, in supplements containing other B complex vitamins, and as a stand-alone supplement. It is used by approximately 28%–36% of the general population. Usually, pyridoxine dosed at 50 to 100mg orally once a day will correct the deficiency in adults.
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