Involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions throughout the body.
Why you need it:
It helps your nervous system.
Promotes proper breakdown of starch and sugar.
And prevents amino acid buildup in your blood.
This particular vitamin is water-soluble and exists in three major chemical forms:
Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine.
It performs a wide variety of functions in your body and is essential for your good health.
For example, it's needed for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism.
It's also essential for red blood cell metabolism.
Your nervous and immune systems need vitamin-B6 to function.
It's also needed for the conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) to niacin (a vitamin).
Hemoglobin within red blood cells carries oxygen to tissues.
And, your body needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin.
It also helps increase the amount of oxygen carried by hemoglobin.
A deficiency can result in a form of anemia that is like iron deficiency anemia.
An immune response is a broad term.
Describing a variety of biochemical changes that occur to fight off infections.
Calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals are important to your immune defenses.
As they promote the growth of white blood cells that fight infections.
Animal studies show that a vitamin-B6 deficiency can decrease your anti-body production.
And suppresses your immune response.
B-6 also helps maintain your blood glucose (sugar) within a normal range.
Your body needs B6 to convert stored carbohydrates and other nutrients into glucose.
This maintains normal blood sugar levels.
A shortage of vitamin-B6 will limit these functions.
Supplements of this vitamin do not enhance them in well-nourished individuals.
So, Which Foods?
This vitamin is in a wide variety of foods.
Including fortified cereals, beans, meat, poultry, fish, and some fruits and vegetables.
The table of selected food sources of vitamin-B6 suggests many dietary sources of B6.
What is the Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults?
The 1998 RDAs for vitamin B6 for adults, in milligrams, are:
Men & Women
Ages 19-50 ~ 1.3 mg 1.5 mg
Ages 51+ 1.5 mg 1.7 mg
Two national surveys indicated that most Americans meet current recommendations for vitamin B6.
When can a deficiency occur?
Clinical signs of vitamin B6 deficiency are rarely seen in the United States.
Many older Americans have low blood levels of vitamin-B6.
B6 deficiency can occur in individuals with poor quality diets that are nutrient deficient.
Symptoms occur during later stages of deficiency.
When intake has been low for an extended time.
Signs of deficiency include;
dermatitis (skin inflammation), glossitis (a sore tongue), depression, confusion, and convulsions.
Vitamin-B6 deficiency also can cause anemia.
Above symptoms can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B6 deficiency.
It's important to have a physician evaluate these symptoms.
Who may need extra vitamin B6 to prevent a deficiency?
Individuals with a poor quality diet may benefit from taking a vitamin B6 supplement.
Alcoholics and older adults are more likely to have inadequate vitamin B6 intakes.
Alcohol also promotes the destruction and loss of vitamin-B6 from the body.
What are some current issues and controversies about B6?
Vitamin-B6 and the nervous system
B6 is needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
This is for normal nerve cell communication.
Vitamin B6 was first recommended for carpal tunnel syndrome almost 30 years ago.
Several books still recommend 100 to 200 (mg) of vitamin B6 daily to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Even though scientific studies do not shuw it being effective.
Anyone taking large doses of B6 supplements for carpal tunnel syndrome need to be aware.
The Institute of Medicine recently established an upper limit of 100 mg per day for adults.
Vitamin-B6 and premenstrual syndrome
Vitamin B6 is a popular remedy for treating discomforts associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Unfortunately, clinical trials have failed to support any significant benefit.
One recent study indicated that a sugar pill was as likely to relieve symptoms of PMS as B6.
B6 toxicity has been seen in increasing numbers of women who take vitamin B6 supplements for PMS.
There's no convincing scientific evidence to support recommending these supplements for PMS.
Interactions with Medications
There are many drugs that interfere with the metabolism of vitamin B6.
Too much can result in nerve damage to the arms and legs.
This is usually related to high intake of supplements and is reversible when stopped.
Selected Food Sources of vitamin-B6
As the following table indicates, vitamin-B6 is found in a wide variety of foods.
Foods such as fortified breakfast cereals.
Fish, including salmon and tuna.
Meats such as pork and chicken.
Bananas, beans, peanut butter and many vegetables will contribute to your vitamin B6 intake.
Cereal, All Bran, 1 cup 7.4 mg.
Banana (108 calories) 34 percent daily value
Tuna, yellowfin, cooked, 3 oz. 0.88 mg.
Roasted, skinless chicken breast (4 oz., 223 calories) 32 percent d.v.
Oatmeal, instant, cooked, 1 packet 0.37 mg.
Roasted turkey (4 oz., 214 calories) 27 percent d.v.
Trout, cooked 0.29 mg.
Cooked cod (4 oz., 119 calories) 26 percent d.v.
Venison, various cuts, cooked, 3 oz. 0.52 mg.
Baked potato (1 medium, 133 calories) 21 percent d.v.
Wheat bran, 1/2 c. 0.35 mg.
Avocado (1 c., 235 calories) 20 percent d.v.
Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 oz. 0.59 mg.
Garlic (1 oz., 42 calories) 17 percent d.v.
Lentils, cooked, 3/4 c. 0.26 mg.
Raw red pepper (1 c., 24 calories) 11 percent d.v.
Sunflower seeds, shelled, 1/4 c. 0.47 mg.
Watermelon (1 c., 48 calories) 11 percent d.v.
Chickpeas, cooked, 3/4 c. 0.17 mg.
Cooked cauliflower (1 c., 28 calories) 10 percent d.v.
Now, if you're looking for a recipe to include this nutrient in your diet, might we suggest;
Tomato & Dandelion Salad
This is a "dandy" salad to make that will complement numerous recipes as a side dish.
It's especially good when tomatoes are in season and vine ripened.
The combination of flavors in this dish is delicious together and the dandelion greens add healthy benefits that make this salad special.
Make sure you use young tender dandelion greens for this if they are available.
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
1/2 med. sized onion cut in half and sliced thin
2 Tbs. light vinegar, (apple cider, rice, or white wine works)
1 c. hot water
2 large red ripe tomatoes
3 c. chopped young dandelion greens
2 Tbs. fresh basil cut into large pieces
1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. coarse fresh cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil to taste
*optional 1 oz. crumpled Chevre goat cheese
Thinly slice onion and place in a small bowl.
Pour 2 Tbs. light vinegar and 1 c. hot water over onions and marinate while making rest of salad.
Whisk together dressing ingredients adding oil at end a little at a time.
Rinse and chop dandelion greens.
Slice tomatoes and place on greens.
Chop dandelion greens, place in basket of a salad spinner, rinse and spin dry.
Toss dandelion greens with 2/3 of the dressing.
Cut tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze out juice.
Cut into quarters, remove inner pulp and slice.
Place on greens.
Squeeze dry marinated onions and lay on top of sliced tomatoes and greens.
Drizzle the rest of the dressing over tomatoes, onion and top with basil and goat cheese if desired.
(We recommend it)
Makes 4 Servings
This salad is great with the dandelion greens if they are young and tender.
Older greens are usually too bitter for most people.
If young dandelion is not available, use mixed salad greens.
Keep this salad in mind to try whenever you have the good fortune to run across young dandelion.Tweet
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