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5 Benefits and Side Effects of Vitamin B6 (3 Contraindications To Be Noted)

Vitamin B6 is a kind of B group water-soluble vitamins, also known as pyridoxin, after human metabolism mainly as a coenzyme, is a hundred kinds of cell enzyme production reaction indispensable important factors, such as amino acids, neurotransmitters, heme, fatty acids, liver sugar manufacturing and metabolism need it

What are the benefits of vitamin B6 in empirical medicine? Are there any side effects or contraindications? See text analysis for details

What are the symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency?

In general, severe vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon unless there is a serious imbalance in diet and metabolism (such as alcoholics), mild to moderate deficiency is more common in the elderly and children, and some drugs may also inhibit vitamin B6 absorption (see Side Effects below).

Common deficiency symptoms include irritability, depression, ulceration of the corners of the mouth, tongue inflammation, muscle weakness, nervousness, and difficulty concentrating.

What are the natural food sources of vitamin B6?

Common sources of vitamin B6 include whole grains, bananas, avocado, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, potatoes, spinach, carrots, etc

What are the recommended benefits of vitamin B6?

1. Beneficial hand and foot syndrome

Hand-foot syndrome (also known as hand-foot reactions, palm-plantar erythema, chemotherapy-related acral erythema) is a skin toxicity most commonly associated with cytotoxic drugs used in chemotherapy (eg, 5-fluorouracil, capecitabine, cytarabine, docetaxel, and pegylated microliposomal doxorubycin) and multiplex kinase inhibitors (such as sorafenib and sunitinib), usually occurring 2 to 12 days after chemotherapy.

Initial symptoms are palmoplantar dysaesthesia and tingling, which may evolve after a few days to burning and symmetrical erythema with edema and swelling, and in severe cases, blisters, scaling, and subsequent ulceration, which usually heal within a few weeks of stopping the drug.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (14 studies, 1570 patients with hand-foot syndrome) found that prophylactic use of vitamin B6 did not reduce incidence or severity (HFS grading≥2). Note 1

*Conclusion: To date, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of vitamin B6 for the prevention of hand-foot syndrome, however, prophylactic use may have a tendency to reduce morbidity.

2. Improve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (morning sickness)

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are the most frustrating symptoms in most pregnant women, occurring in about 50% to 90% of cases. Depending on the degree, possible complications include fluid and electrolyte imbalance (dehydration), aspiration pneumonia, gastroesophageal tear bleeding, malnutrition, etc

The cause of morning sickness is currently unknown, but it may be related to rapid hormonal rise, Helicobacter pylori infection, and psychological and genetic predisposition。

A double-blind controlled study (4-day study of 126 pregnant women less than 16 weeks’ gestation) found that both vitamin B6 and ginger had the effect of reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, but the improvement of ginger was greater and the side effects were mild. Note 1

Another double-blind controlled study also pointed out that vitamin B6 and antiemetic and anti-dizziness drugs (Dimenhydrinate) can help treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, but the drug changes are large. Note 2

The only side effect in the two groups was drowsiness, which was 52.94% of drugs and 6.4% of vitamin B46。

*Conclusion: Vitamin B6 may have the effect of relieving morning sickness, but the improvement is not as great as that of drugs and ginger

3. Prevents age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is mainly associated with retinal degeneration (destroying central vision and seriously affecting the essence of vision) and is a major cause of blindness (irreversible vision loss).

Macular degeneration is more likely to occur in middle-aged and elderly people over 60 years old, with a prevalence rate of about 8.7%, and it is estimated that 200 million people worldwide will suffer from the disease by 2020. Note 4

A large double-blind controlled study (7.3 years follow-up with 5442 women) showed that taking vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin B12 helped reduce total macular degeneration events and visually significant AMD by up to 35% to 40%. Note 3

The mechanism behind these nutrients is related to the ability of these nutrients to reduce homocysteine in the blood and enhance antioxidant effects, reduce endothelial dysfunction, promote nitric oxide production, and maintain vasoactivity.

*Visually significant AMD indicates that vision impairment has reached 20/30 or more.

*Conclusion: Vitamin B6 combined with other B nutrients may reduce the incidence of macular degeneration in women, but more research is needed

4. Beneficial for premenstrual syndrome

The physical and emotional discomfort associated with women during the days of menstruation is collectively known as Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms, and about 85% have experienced more than one symptom, caused by hormonal fluctuations, serotonin and nutrient deficiencies.

Common psychological symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, crying, irritability, depression, sensitivity, poor concentration, fatigue, mood swings, and anger.

Physical symptoms are breast tenderness, abdominal cramps, edema, acne, increased appetite, headache, back pain and sleep disturbances.

A double-blind controlled study (2-month, 76 university women) found that the combination of B6 and calcium tablets significantly reduced physical, psychological, and general symptoms of PMD compared with vitamin B6 alone. Note 5

The authors believe that the mechanism behind it is related to the involvement of vitamin B6 and calcium in tryptophan metabolism, serotonin production and regulation of mood.

*Conclusion: Vitamin B6 combined with calcium tablets may help improve the physical and mental symptoms of PMS, but the sample size is too small and needs to be verified by more large studies

5. Improve Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve compression lesion in the upper extremities, mainly caused by compression of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, characterized by numbness, tingling and burning sensation in the hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women, with a prevalence rate of about 3-10 times that of men, and the causative factors are associated with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, acromegaly, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, and tenosynovitis.

In addition, carpal tunnel syndrome is also often associated with occupational injuries, especially jobs that require repetitive wrist movements, such as mechanics, butchers, carpenters and housewives.

A controlled study (3-month study of 67 patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome) showed that vitamin B6 helped alleviate a variety of clinical symptoms and electrodiagnostic findings, such as pain frequency, amplitude and duration, hand numbness, weakness and tingling. Note 7

What are the side effects of vitamin B6?

Although vitamin B6 is water-soluble and excess can be excreted in the urine, possible side effects include skin irritation, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, poor appetite and sensitivity to sunlight.

In addition, long-term high doses (more than 200 mg or more) may produce neurological symptoms, also known as sensory neuropathy, common symptoms such as pain in the limbs, numbness, loss of balance, etc.

Therefore, in order to prevent the occurrence of sensory neuropathy, adults (over 19 years old) should not exceed the maximum daily tolerable intake: 100 mg.

Safety precautions

1. Pregnant and nursing women should use under the supervision of a qualified doctor or pharmacist to ensure safety

2. Some drugs (such as birth control pills, anti-tuberculosis drugs, penicillamine, hypertension drugs, asthma drugs, NSAIDs) may interfere with vitamin B6 metabolism, so long-term use of the above drugs should pay attention to the intake of B6 in the diet

3. Do not combine with tetracycline (a kind of antibiotic), tricyclic antidepressant (nortriptyline), chemotherapy drugs, antiepileptic drugs (Phenytoin), levodopa, may cause interaction and affect the normal effect of the drug

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