Vitamin B6

Background

Vitamin B6, (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine), is a water soluble vitamin included in the vitamin B complex family.[1] Vitamin B6, which is also known with some other names as pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal, pyridoxal phosphate, pyridoxal-5′-phosphate and PLP,  is used in producing a necessary coenzyme in the body.[ 2] Being a nootropic supplement, vitamin B6 plays a significant role in a range of physical and psychological functions and most known for benefiting a healthy metabolism, cognition, memory, nervous system and brain health in multiple dimensions.

Benefits

As our body does not make Vitamin B6 on its own, we must get the benefits of it from food, or take it as a supplement. As a nootropic supplement Vitamin B6 is especially helpful for those suffering from low energy levels, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
The common health benefits of Vitamin B6 include:

  • Develops learning and memory [6]
  • Supports brain function [7]
  • Helps lower high homocysteine levels [8]
  • Promotes red blood cell production [9]
  • Improves mood [10]
  • Reduces rheumatoid arthritis [11]
  • Helps relieve premenstrual syndrome [12]
  • Helps relieve the severity of nausea in early pregnancy [13]
  • Helps relieve of kidney stones [14]
  • Improves cognition and helps people who have Alzheimer’s disease [15]
  • Helps people who have heart disease [16]
  • Reduces anxiety and depression [17]
  • Reduces chronic pain [18]

Vitamin B6 is also especially helpful to students and professionals who want to improve cognition, learning, memory and mood. It raises dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, epinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain.
Studies find that certain behavioral disorders in children, including ADHD, are caused by low serotonin levels and, therefore, that taking vitamin B6 might have a beneficial effect on children with learning and behavior disorders. [3]

How it works

We have already known that Vitamin B6 is the collective term for a group of 6 related compounds, pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxal (PL) and pyridoxamine (PM), and their phosphorylated derivatives such as pyridoxine 5′-phosphate (PNP), pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) and pyridoxamine 5′-phosphate (PMP). Although all six of these compounds is technically referred to as vitamin B6, the expression vitamin B6 is commonly used interchangeably with just one of them, pyridoxine. [4]
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in amino acid metabolism makes it an important component for the synthesis of all major neurotransmitters including dopamine, GABA, melatonin, norepinephrine and serotonin. The synthesis of these neurotransmitters entirely depends on Vitamin B6 levels in your brain. You can find even mild deficiency results in less GABA and serotonin synthesis and as a result, you will experience poor sleep patterns, irritability, anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress.
Vitamin B6 also plays a vital role in cognitive development through the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and in maintaining normal levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. Vitamin B6 catalyzes the reactions needed to produce the brain chemicals responsible for learning. It is also involved in gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis, immune function (for example, it develops lymphocyte and interleukin-2 production), and hemoglobin formation.

Considerations

The side effects of vitamin B6 are comparatively mild and many people experience gastrointestinal distress and other unpleasant temporary symptoms at the higher doses. However, it should be kept in mind that vitamin B6 plays a great role in the body and brain, which means that it can interact with other prescription drugs.
So, if you are taking prescription drugs, it is best to consult a professional about vitamin B6 and how it may impact your current medicine regime.

Recommendations

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 is as follows: 1.3 milligrams in men and women ages 19-50; 1.7 milligrams in men aged 51 and older; and 1.3 milligrams in women aged 51 and older. The maximum daily intake of vitamin B6 in adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women over age 18 is 100 milligrams.[5]

Sources