There are two classes of vitamins - fat-soluble and water-soluble. The water-soluble type constitutes B Complex Vitamins and Vitamin C, while fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K.
One of the most important but less talked about B Vitamin is Vitamin B6, also called Pyridoxine. Scientifically, it forms an important part of more than 300 enzymatic reactions happening in the body. Since the body can't produce Vitamin B6 on its own, it is important to consume enough of it through diet.
A recent 2022 research showed that supplementation of B6 tablets in therapeutic doses reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The brain's delicate balance is maintained by excitory neurons that transport impulses and inhibitory neurons to prevent overactive behaviour. Any disruption in this can lead to altered brain health. Vitamin B6 promotes GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), which inhibits certain neurons and was seen to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is also accompanied by its role in promoting serotonin and dopamine levels, thus balancing the brain's harmony. Following are some of the important roles of vitamin B6.
Role in cardiovascular health
Vitamin B6 is an anti-inflammatory agent. It significantly reduces overall systemic inflammation. Atherosclerosis and subsequent CVD are caused primarily as a result of inflammatory and oxidative changes in the body, and we see a rise in CRP (C-reactive protein). B6 Supplementation reduced this and that of others like IL6 levels in the body. Along with this, it also can lower the blood pressure in hypertensive patients, by balancing the calcium ion influx-efflux mechanism. Hence, it has a protective role in managing your heart health.
Pregnancy-related morning sickness
Vitamin B6 helps prevent or lower the severity of hyperemesis gravidarum, commonly called morning sickness. This means a lowered feeling of nausea, vomiting among pregnant women, and better quality of life.
Its role in reducing the homocysteine levels can be responsible for a marked improvement in the incidence of Alzheimer's. It leads to better cognitive function with a slower rate of impairment.
Prevention against anaemia
B6-dependent enzymes play a role in haemoglobin (Hb) formation, which is the compound transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. Anaemia is primarily caused by reduced levels of Hb and B6 deficiency.
Prevention against Covid
Due to its anti-inflammatory actions and reduced incidence of chronic diseases like CVD, hypertension etc., B6 also aids in the prevention of Covid-19. The levels of CRP and Il6 see a marked increase during Covid, and by reducing these markers, the severity of the disease is reduced and lung health is promoted.
Apart from Covid-19, Vitamin B6 also promotes a stronger immune function by aiding in the formation of antibodies, which form the body's defense against disease antigens. Vitamin B6 deficiency is rarely seen in adults, due to its wide availability in foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, etc.
However, if an adult has a B6 deficiency it can lead to anxiety, depression, anaemia, chronic diseases like CVD, cancers, etc. Hence, make sure you consume enough of this underrated wonder for better overall health.
(Garima Goyal is Dietitian at Fast&Up)
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