Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin, meaning that it’s crucial to your body’s overall health, your well-being. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause nerve damage, skin damage, and circulatory issues. While vitamin B6 is easy to get from various foods, having a low-grade vitamin B6 deficiency is actually quite common in this day and age.
One of vitamin B6’s critical functions involves dopamine. Specifically, L-DOPA, the precursor to dopamine, requires a certain enzyme in order to be converted to dopamine; that enzyme, in turn, requires vitamin B6 to function properly.
Maintaining proper vitamin B6 levels helps your brain convert and process L-DOPA, resulting in healthier levels of dopamine, an important “feel good” neurotransmitter, specifically in the hypothalamus. Alternatively, a lack of vitamin B6 can lead to reduced dopamine levels because the enzyme required to convert L-DOPA does not function optimally.
Studies conducted on rats have shown that vitamin B6 deprivation can also lead to lower serotonin levels. Low serotonin – which is vital for promoting feelings of well-being – can lead to depression and general cognitive decline.
Vitamin B6 is also involved in the production and release of norepinephrine, which is an important energy and focus-supportive neurotransmitter similar to adrenaline.
Vitamin B6 supplements are thought to help support a variety of physical ailments including anemia and heart disease. Vitamin B6 may help safeguard against heart disease by reducing the levels of homocysteine in your body, which is thought to be a precursor to heart disease. Homocysteine is also recognized as being involved with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 also helps protect our nerve cells and is a critical ingredient in myelin, which is a fatty layer that develops around nerve cells to protect them and help them remain healthy and functional.
There aren’t an abundance of critical, reliable studies on vitamin B6’s many potential benefits, but what studies do exist suggest big things. For example, some preliminary research suggests that vitamin B6 can also be an effective treatment option for PMS and ADHD. Cognitive function can also be boosted with vitamin B6; it is thought that low folate levels can trigger cognitive decline, but some early research shows that B6 can counteract this.
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