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Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 is one of eight B-vitamins. It is necessary for metabolism, proper functioning of the brain and liver, physical growth, red blood cell production, skin integrity, and eye health. Pyridoxine and all other B-vitamins are water-soluble. This means unused nutrients will be lost daily because the body can not store them. The body also cannot produce B-vitamins, so they must be continuously replaced through foods or supplements. The versatility of vitamin B6 allows it to function as a co-enzyme in over 100 chemical reactions.

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Intake

The recommended daily intake of pyroxidine depends on age, gender, and circumstances such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or illness. A healthy, well-balanced diet containing a wide assortment of foods usually provides plenty of pyroxidine for a healthy person. The recommended intake increases with age because the body becomes less efficient and needs higher amounts of required nutrients. Daily multivitamins can remedy a lack of sufficient vitamins in food, but should always be taken according to the instructions or doctor's recommendations.

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Food Sources

Pyroxidine is found in protein-rich foods such as fish, liver, poultry, and other meats, so people following vegan or vegetarian diets need to ensure they eat enough plant-based proteins. Plant-based foods high in pyroxidine include whole grains such as oatmeal and wheatgerm, cereals, bread, green beans, bananas, avocados, and spinach. Milk, ricotta cheese, and eggs are also good sources of B vitamins.

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Cognitive Function

Vitamin B6 is a key component of brain and cognitive development of infants and children. It assists in the production of the hormone serotonin, which helps regulate mood, and norepinephrine, which influences reactions to stress or fear. Vitamin B6 also assists in the production of melatonin to regulate the body's internal clock and sleep patterns. Studies suggest a combination of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate can lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and depression, preserve cognitive abilities, and prevent memory loss as the body ages.

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Pregnancy

Vitamin B6 is especially important during pregnancy; it is essential to the baby's developing brain and nervous system and it may reduce nausea and vomiting for the expectant mother. Some other B-vitamins can't be absorbed without B6. This is significant because all of the B-vitamins contribute to brain and spinal cord development. Birth defects such as spina bifida have been linked to deficiencies of B-vitamins, though this is not the only factor.

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Risk Factors of Pyroxidine Deficiency

Any medical condition, including some genetic illnesses, that interferes with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine can lead to a vitamin B6 deficiency. Kidney disease is a common cause, and people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis should take steps to increase B6 because the conditions directly affect B6 absorption. Epilepsy medications are also known to block B6.

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Symptoms of Pyroxidine Deficiency

Insufficient pyroxidine results in anemia due to decreased production of red blood cells. Anemia leads to fatigue because there isn't enough oxygen reaching the body's tissues. Other effects of pyroxidine deficiency include depression and a weakened immune system, swollen tongue, and confusion. Pyroxidine deficiency rarely occurs alone; other B-vitamin deficiencies, especially folate and vitamin B12, are usually present as well.

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Pyroxidine Toxicity

Most people will never get enough pyroxidine through diet alone to cause toxicity. An overabundance of pyroxidine is much more likely to come from ingesting too much of the vitamin in supplements, so the amount of pyroxidine from all sources should not exceed 100 milligrams a day for adults. Effects of pyridoxine toxicity include pain or numbness in extremities, vertigo, nausea, sensitivity to sunlight, and nerve damage.

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Pyridoxine Benefits

Vitamin B6 is helpful in the treatment of heart disease, can prevent high cholesterol, and acts as a preventative measure after medical procedures such as angioplasty (a surgery involving inflating a balloon in a collapsed or blocked artery) -- pyridoxine reduces the risk of the arteries narrowing again. Research suggests the vitamin may be beneficial for the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, autism, diabetes, nerve pain, migraines, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, restless leg syndrome, muscle cramps, arthritis, allergies, acne, premenstrual syndrome, and motion sickness.

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Vision

Vitamin deficiencies can cause diseases of the eyes and loss of vision. All B-vitamins are important to healthy eyes, and research credits B6 with the prevention of eye disorders. Maintaining proper levels of vitamins B6 and B12 can prevent or reduce the severity of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older individuals.

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Supplements

People can take vitamin B6 in a multivitamin, as a stand-alone vitamin supplement, or in supplements containing other B-vitamins. There are different chemical structures of B6, but most supplements are interchangeable. Individuals can chew or swallow capsules and tablets, or take a sublingual tab, which is dissolved under the tongue. Liquid formulas are also available.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.