Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
There are three forms of vitamin B6: pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. All three are present in most body tissues, with the highest concentration being in the liver. Of the three, pyridoxine is the most resistant to food processing and storage conditions and is thus the most prevalent form in most diets.
Vitamin B6 is involved in dozens of vital physiological processes. It plays a primary role in protein metabolism, helps form hemoglobin, aids in the absorption of amino acids from the intestine and helps metabolize fats and carbohydrates.
Several studies have linked vitamin B6 deficiency with heart disease. For example, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women with higher intakes of vitamin B6 had less risk of coronary heart disease. The cardio-protective properties of vitamin B6 may be related to the vitamin’s role in regulating blood levels of homocysteine, a substance associated with cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin B6 deficiency has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, researchers at Tufts University in Boston have reported a positive association between vitamin B6 status and memory in older men.
Research shows that vitamin B6 plays a definitive role in regulating the hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and glucocorticoid (a stress hormone). This may explain why vitamin B6 provides relief for women with morning sickness.
Vitamin B6 deficiency may increase the risk of cancer in smokers and has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, kidney stones and carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies also show that vitamin B6 may help alleviate asthma symptoms.
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