Lack of vitamin B6 affects the whole body. This multifaceted vitamin holds many jobs. It controls a person’s moods, appetite, sleep and thinking. You need vitamin B6 to fight off diseases, convert food into energy and help carry oxygen to every corner of the body. It is rare that humans experience lack of B6, but if it runs out then consequences are serious.
Lack of B6 symptoms
Some of the more prominent signs of B6 deficiency is depleting energy, rashes mostly on the face, dry and cracked lips, a weaker immune system, numb hands and feet, morning sickness, a foggy brain that lacks memory, chances of getting stomach and oesophageal cancer etc.
What causes B6 deficiency?
There is not much probability for an emergency happening due to lack of B6. Usually older people because of their poor dietary habits are found to lack vitamin B6. Another reason is that as you get older your body’s ability for absorbing nutrients also diminishes. Sometimes diseases like chronic kidney disease will impair the small intestines capacity to absorb nutrients and hence cause B6 deficiency. Similarly alcohol abuse is yet another reason for lack of vitamin B6.
How much B6 is needed?
The quantity of B6 needed for normal functioning of various body organs depends mainly on age. Babies need around 0.3 milligrams a day and those above 50 may need at least 5 times more. Men need 1.7 milligrams everyday and women need 1.5 milligrams, pregnant women need more and it is likely 1.9 milligrams per day.
What are the sources of B6?
Meat & fish
Thankfully it is easy to replenish B6 from the food you eat. Poultry, beef and fish are very important sources. Some fishes like tuna packs nearly almost half of B6 that an adult human needs each day, while chicken may supply about 25%.
Vegetables & Fruits
Starchy vegetable like potatoes, yams and corn are the main source of vitamin B6. Fruits are also exceptionally endowed with B6 except for citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. Whereas one cup of chickpeas is all you need to cover half the daily requirement of B6 for an adult.
Supplements do help
For some reason if a person is not able to get enough of B6 from foods then supplements can substitute for this. Most multivitamins available in the market contain B6 or you can buy B6 capsules separately. Check with your doctor and discuss any medication you are taking before starting on supplements. Too much B6 is harmful and can cause nerve damage, sores, headaches or nausea.