Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is one of several water soluble vitamins manufactured by the human body. Vitamin B6 deficiency can pose a threat to the normal function of certain areas of the body. This is because Vitamin B6, sometimes called the mood vitamin, helps the brain, metabolism and other bodily functions perform at their optimal best. The vitamins facilitate the cells in communicating and metabolizing protein and fat; which provide proper energy.
Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms usually manifest themselves in people who are older, have certain behaviors or conditions, taking certain medications or have poor eating habits which cause deficiency in this and other nutrients the human body needs. Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms are often seen in people who have trouble absorbing the vitamin. Possible causes of insufficient absorption may include:
-Interaction with certain medications, including some contraceptive drugs
-Certain genetic disorders
In addition, B6 deficiency symptoms are often seen in people who have a genetic condition known as pyroluria. This condition often begins in people in their late teens and causes depression, withdrawal anxiety and other symptoms. It usually occurs after a traumatic or emotional event and can continue through the person’s lifetime.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency Symptoms
B6 deficiency symptoms do not usually present themselves until there has been a deficiency for an extended period of time. A physician can evaluate a person who has signs of Vitamin B6 deficiency in order to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Possible signs and symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency may include:
-The skin at the corners of the mouth may begin to crack
-Fast weight loss not attributable to dieting or rapid weight gain
-Depression, confusion or paranoia
-Insomnia or irritability
-Decreased sex drive
-Weakness and trouble walking
-Sores and ulcers in the mouth
Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms in infants may include stunted growth, persistent irritability and seizures. In the early 1950’s seizures due to B6 deficiencies were traced to an error in the infant formula which resulted in insufficient B6 in the product. It is important that patients are thoroughly examined and tested by a doctor who will provide the proper treatment for the deficiency. Diagnosis of deficiency is usually done through laboratory tests which include measuring the amount of the vitamin in the blood. Taking a dosage of supplements that are too high can result in pain and other neurological problems.
Treatment of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 is present in practically every food, so the chances are slim that the average healthy person will have a deficiency of this vitamin. As noted above, there are conditions and circumstances that result in deficiency that can be successfully treated under a doctor’s care. This includes taking the correct dosage of dietary supplements which can correct the condition. For otherwise healthy individuals, eating a balanced diet will prevent a deficiency. Recent studies have shown that taking Vitamin B6 supplements reduced the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 50 percent in some people.