Vitamin B6 is vital to normal body function as it is involved in starting reactions involving substances called amino acids. It is a real team player as well. When processed in combination with vitamin B12 and folic acid, B6 can help prevent and fight heart disease as it can help to process homocysteine, a substance often associated with various cardiovascular problems.
It is quite rare for a person to have Vitamin B6 deficiency because it is a vitamin that is present in just about every food. In a sense, you’d have to work very hard to be deficient in it or have an underlying problem present that prevents your body from absorbing the vitamin properly.
Some things that can cause a person to absorb vitamin B6 insufficiently include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Genetic disorders
- Drug interactions
An interesting potential cause of vitamin B6 deficiency may be the use of contraceptive drugs. These drugs disturb the trytophan metabolism and can potentially create a B6 deficiency.
Also, a disease called pyroluria may actually be caused by B6 deficiency. This is where it gets serious because pyroluria carries among its symptoms mental problems and even schizophrenia.
The signs and symptoms of a deficient amount of vitamin B6 in the body can be all over the map, really. However, some people that suffer from this condition have symptoms like:
- Lack of sex drive
- Water retention
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Problems with processing sugars
- Problems walking
- Cracked skin at the corners of the mouth
When present in infants, B6 deficiency can manifest itself through
- Stunted growth
Studies have shown that the taking of dietary supplements may reduce a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by up to half. However, taking too many supplements could cause vitamin B6 toxicity, which has been shown to cause neurological problems, particularly pain.
Luckily for most people, vitamin B6 deficiency is fairly easy to prevent and treat. All you need to do is eat a balanced diet or take B6 supplements. If you have an underlying condition that may be preventing you from processing B6 properly, then treatment of these conditions should eliminate the problem. As always, see your doctor to make sure you have this deficiency before taking supplements or doing anything drastic. At home detection tests are meant to help you figure out if you have a problem and then seek the appropriate treatment, not to treat yourself.