B6, specifically, is a vitamin that plays a vital role in production of immune cells, hemoglobin as well synthesis of mood regulating hormones. Deficiency is rare, yet children, adults over 65, and women of reproductive age tend to be at risk. Symptoms include weak immune system, anemia, dermatitis, inflammation of the tongue, depression, and confusion.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are vital for our growth, immunity, and normal cell function. There are 13 essential vitamins that fuel our bodies to function optimally.1 Of the 13, vitamins like A and C frequently enjoy the spotlight. However, there are other vitamins that are just as essential for good health. Vitamin B6 is the perfect example.
Vitamin B6 Functions
As a member of the eight B complex vitamins, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods.2 Vitamin B6 plays a key role in the functioning of over 100 enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions in our bodies.
- Vitamin B6 is involved in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and thereby unlocks energy from the food we eat.
- Vitamin B6 stimulates the synthesis of several neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. Serotonin (which affects our mood) and dopamine (which controls several important bodily functions) are two major neurotransmitters synthesized with help from B6.
- In partnership with vitamins B9 and B12, vitamin B6 regulates blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, although the exact connection is still not very clear.
- Vitamin B6 helps our body absorb vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of cells of the immune system. It promotes the production of lymphocytes and interleukin 2. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that decide how a body reacts to infectious microorganisms and other foreign invaders, while interleukin 2 is a protein that manages the activities of white blood cells.
- Vitamin B6 is also involved in the production of hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is responsible for their ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.3