Vitamin B6 is one of the B vitamins used in cellular metabolism. Vitamin B6 can come in many different forms and the most popular two are pyridoxine and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P). P5P is the metabolically active form that is used by the body but the liver can convert pyridoxine into P5P.1
P5P is required to manufacture numerous neurotransmitters in the body.
1. Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone (HGH) performs many different effects on the body including cellular regeneration, fat loss, healing and increasing muscular strength.
Growth hormone levels also naturally peak during sleep and another study also found vitamin B6 supplementation significantly increased this peak.3
Vitamin B6 promotes the production of growth hormone.
2. Morning Sickness
Vitamin B6 may also be able to help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
Researchers in a 2006 study found that vitamin B6 was an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and the addition of ginger seems to improve the effect.4
Another study on a group of 342 women also found vitamin B6 was effective in relieving the severity of nausea in early pregnancy.5
Vitamin B6 can help alleviate nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy.
3. Promotes Brain Health
Vitamin B6 is a required co-factor for converting L-DOPA into dopamine and a lack of vitamin B6 can lead to decreased dopamine production.5 The treatment of Parkinson’s disease involves raising dopamine levels in the brain with L-DOPA so vitamin B6 may be able to help.6
In a study with 97 participants with a mean follow up time of 9.7 years researchers found a higher intake of vitamin B6 was associated with a significantly decreased appearance of Parkinson’s disease in the participants.7
Vitamin B6 may be able to help prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease.
4. PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome also known as PMS effects many women and vitamin B6 can help.
According to a study of 63 women, vitamin B6 can help with the emotional symptoms of PMS including depression, irritability and tiredness.8
In another study from the Journal of Caring Sciences, researchers also found that vitamin B6 was able to improve premenstrual syndrome symptoms.9
Vitamin B6 can help alleviate PMS symptoms such as depression, irritability and tiredness.
5. Helps Improve Mood
As noted earlier, vitamin B6 is a required co-factor for converting L-DOPA into dopamine. The compound dopamine is a key neurotransmitter that can improve mood.10
In a 2004 study, researchers noted that a low blood level of vitamin B6 is associated depression.11
Over a two year study, vitamin B6 also decreased the chance of participants developing depressive symptoms.16
Vitamin B6 may be an important vitamin for preventing and alleviating depression.
6. Heart Health
Low blood levels of vitamin B6 are associated with nearly double the risk of coronary artery disease also known as heart disease.17
Vitamin B6 may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels.
7. Promotes Eye Health
As noted above studies have shown vitamin B6 can help lower high homocysteine in the blood.22
In a 7 year long study researchers found that participants who took a combination of vitamin B6, B12 and folate reduced their risk of developing macular degeneration by 35 to 40%.23
Vitamin B6 can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by lowering homocysteine levels.
8. Promotes Hair Health
Vitamin B6 is actively involved in the metabolism of key proteins in the body including keratin and melanin which help give hair it’s strength and color.
In a 2001 study, researchers found that vitamin B6 administration to 46 young women with diffuse alopecia slowed their hair loss and improved hair quality.24
In addition, vitamin B6 may be able to help prevent hair loss from chemotherapy.25
Vitamin B6 can help improve hair quality and reduce hair loss.
9. Promotes Adrenal Health
Vitamin B6 may also be able to support the adrenal glands. The pituitary makes a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which stimulates adrenal gland function and when ACTH is secreted vitamin B6 levels are lowered in the adrenal gland.26 This suggests a possible link.
In addition, a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology found that the action of cortisol is diminished in animals with a low level of vitamin B6. Since the adrenals make cortisol, having enough vitamin B6 may help the action of the adrenal glands.27
Vitamin B6 may help support adrenal gland function.
Vitamin B6 is an important amino acid that may help increase HGH production, alleviate PMS symptoms, improve mood, support the adrenals and promote hair health in addition to other benefits.*
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