Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine was first discovered in 1932; however, scientific studies are still finding facts about it. It is one of the eight vitamins present in a group of B vitamins. You can get enough vitamin B6 from the food you consume on a daily.
Although its deficiency is rare, certain conditions lead to it. And, if the deficiency is left untreated, it might affect your health severely. People who have vitamin B12 and folate deficiency are more likely to develop vitamin B6 deficiency as well. Many studies have revealed that the risks of vitamin B6 deficiency are high in smokers, alcoholics, obese individuals, and pregnant women.
Health experts have also revealed that people who have liver diseases, digestive diseases, or autoimmune diseases are prone to vitamin B6 deficiency as well.
This deficiency affects your body severely as vitamin B6 help in the processing of protein, fat, and carbs you consume. Plus, it affects the functioning of your nervous and immune system. Therefore, you should learn about the following signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency to detect it in initial stages and prevent possible health issues.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
1. Increased Homocysteine Levels
Protein digestion produces homocysteine. When your body has insufficient vitamin B6, it leads to high homocysteine levels in your body. This condition contributes to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Many cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, are also connected with the deficiency of vitamin B6. The increased levels of homocysteine damages nerves and blood vessels. A simple blood test can detect the levels of homocysteine. Your doctor may prescribe vitamin B6 or folate supplements to balance homocysteine.
2. Seborrheic Dermatitis
A red and itchy rash on your skin is called seborrheic dermatitis, which occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin B6 in your body. This rash can appear anywhere on your body including the upper chest, neck, and face. In most cases, it appears oily and flaky or causes swelling.
Dermatologists have indicated that vitamin B6 synthesize collagen to keep your skin issue. It is highly likely that its deficiency leads to seborrheic dermatitis. Getting adequate doses of the vitamin can improve the condition of your skin in a short time. However, consult with your skin specialist before opting for vitamin B6 supplements.
There are many factors that lead to seizures and vitamin B6 deficiency is one of them. In the case of vitamin B6 deficiency, your brain cannot produce the calming neurotransmitter, which is also called GABA, and it becomes over-stimulated over time. Seizures cause jerky arms or legs, muscle spasms, and rolling eyes.
However, in other cases, people lose consciousness or experience uncontrollable shaking. Seizures in babies are common due to lack of vitamin B6 whereas in adults liver diseases or excessive alcohol consumption leads to vitamin B6 deficiency, which often results in seizures.
4. Swollen Lips
Cheilosis is a painful condition where your lips get swollen, sore, and red, and corners of your mouth develop cracks. These cracked areas sometimes bleed and cause infection. With sore lips and cracked mouth, talking or eating gets difficult as well.
Doctors have indicated that this condition is one of the signs of vitamin B6 deficiency. You should increase the intake of foods rich in vitamin B6 to treat infection and to control bleeding. It is better to consult with a doctor and get proper treatment as self-medication can cause further damage.
Pain in feet and hands or tingling indicates nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy. This condition is also a symptom of vitamin B6 deficiency. Moreover, this tingling, and burning in your legs, arms, feet, and hands leads to difficulty in walking, and cause balance issues and clumsiness.
According to doctors, nerve disorders that occur due to vitamin B6 deficiency are reversible. However, medical assistance is essential in this case, to prevent vitamin B6 toxicity which might get difficult to control.
The sore, inflamed, or swollen tongue is called glossitis, which is common when you have vitamin B6 deficiency. This inflamed surface is an outcome of papillae loss – the bumps on your tongue. Glottis affect activities like talking, chewing, and swallowing. You can treat glottis by replenishing vitamin B6.
7. Low Energy
Feeling sluggish or tired can be a symptom of vitamin B6 deficiency so you should never overlook it. Vitamin B6 helps your body in the production of hemoglobin – a protein present in red blood cells. Hemoglobin transfers oxygen to organs and keeps your body energized. Lack of vitamin B means insufficient hemoglobin which leads to constant tiredness. Taking vitamin B6 supplements prescribed by your doctor can boost energy levels in a short time.
8. Mood Swings
Insufficient vitamin B6 in your body affects your nervous system significantly. People who have vitamin B6 deficiency develop stress and anxiety, irritability, and depression. This happens because vitamin B6 helps produce neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid and serotonin.
These compounds control hormones that lead to depression, stress, and anxiety. Furthermore, studies have revealed that vitamin B6 deficiency is a primary factor that causes premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and symptoms like moodiness and depression. When you get daily doses of vitamin B6 it produces serotonin and lifts your mood.
9. Weak Immune System
A weak immunity makes you susceptible to infections and inflammation. Take note that vitamin deficiencies like vitamin B6 result in this condition. Your body produces antibodies to fight infection and it becomes unable when you are vitamin B6 deficient. This deficiency also affects the production of white blood cells which can be fatal.
How to Prevent Vitamin B6 Deficiency?
There is no question that insufficient vitamin B6 contributes to debilitating health complications. Therefore, you need to make some significant dietary changes to get daily doses of vitamin B6. It is even better if you obtain it via the following natural sources unless your doctor has prescribed a supplement.
- Amaranth grain
- Turkey breast
- Pistachio nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Canned tuna
- Sunflower seeds
- Red meat
- Blackstrap molasses
- Pinto beans
- Chicken breast
Incorporating these foods into your diet will not only replenish vitamin B6, but prevent its deficiency in the first place. You can add nuts and seeds to salads or eat grill turkey breast to consume vitamin B6 rich meals. Vegetarians can opt for options like avocado, pinto beans, and amaranth grain to get vitamin B6.
Learning about the signs of vitamin B6 deficiency is necessary to detect the problem and treat it immediately. Once you recognize the symptoms, avoid self-medication and consult with your doctor to get better treatment.