Vitamin B6 (also referred to as pyridoxine) is a B-complex vitamin. It was discovered in 1938 by Paul Gyorgy when he managed to isolate pyridoxine from rice bran and use it to prevent and cure the skin condition acrodynia. The main function of B6 is to help the body’s cells break down proteins from the foods we eat into a form that they can use for energy but it does more than just this. In this article I will be looking at this vitamin in greater detail by discussing four fun vitamin B6 facts.
1) IT IS WATER SOLUBLE:- Vitamin B6 is water soluble which (as the name suggests) means that it dissolves in water. Water soluble vitamins share two main differences with fat soluble vitamins (the other type of vitamin). First, they are quite delicate and break down if exposed to intense heat or light. Secondly, they cannot be stored by the body and if you consume more than your body requires any excess is excreted in your urine. Therefore, it is very important that you take extra care when storing, preparing and cooking B6 so that it is not destroyed. You must also make sure that you are consuming B6 daily to ensure that you get your recommended daily allowance (RDA) which is 1.4mg for men and 1.2mg for women.
2) IT CAN BE FOUND IN ALL FOODS:- Vitamin B6 is present in all foods at some levels. However, certain foods are a much better source than others. For example, meat, salmon, beans, nuts and peas are all rich sources of pyridoxine. Therefore, if your diet does not contain any of the above foods perhaps you should consider sampling one or two of the suggestions on the above list and making them a permanent part of your diet.
3) GETTING TOO MUCH CAN BE DANGEROUS:- As I discussed above pyridoxine is water soluble and excess amounts are excreted daily. However, it can still be toxic in high doses and cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. For example, overdosing on vitamin B6 for a prolonged period can cause your hands and feet to become numb and even cause nerve damage. Therefore, whilst it is important to get your RDA amount of this vitamin just make sure you do not overdo it.
4) IT HELPS THE BODY PRODUCE A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT SUBSTANCES:- Vitamin B6 helps the body build a number of substances including red blood cells and neurotransmitters. Red blood cells help carry oxygen from the lungs to areas of the body that require oxygen. Neurotransmitters help carry important information between cells. Both of these functions are vital for optimal health which is yet another reason to make sure you get your RDA of pyridoxine.
I hope this article has given you a greater insight into the importance of vitamin B6. As you can see it is essential for breaking down protein, helping your body function properly and much more.