Vitamin B6, commonly known as pyridoxine, is an essential vitamin that your body seriously needs to function properly. It’s involved in typically more than 100 enzyme reactions in the body, primarily in protein metabolism. The human body cannot produce Vitamin B6, so we must obtain it from foods or supplements.
This vitamin is also crucial for brain development and function, producing red blood cells and maintaining healthy skin and nerves.
But what happens when you don’t get enough of this vital nutrient? Unfortunately, Vitamin B6 deficiency, although rare, can cause a variety of symptoms.
Here are five signs you might not be getting enough Vitamin B6.
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1. Changes in Mood
Vitamin B6 significantly plays an integral role in brain development and function. One of its key roles in the brain is the production of neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are basically chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. They’re responsible for many functions, including regulating your mood.
If you’ve been experiencing mood changes, such as depression or increased anxiety, it might be due to a Vitamin B6 deficiency. This vitamin is necessary for creating several neurotransmitters that regulate mood, including serotonin and norepinephrine.
Serotonin is often called the “feel-good” hormone because it helps make you feel happy and calm, while norepinephrine helps your body cope with stress.
Research shows that people with low levels of Vitamin B6 have higher rates of depression. However, further studies are needed to confirm whether supplementing with this vitamin can improve mood disorders.
2. Skin Rashes
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic skin ailment that usually causes scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff.
It mainly affects areas of the skin with a high concentration of oil glands, such as the face, scalp, and chest.
This condition can be a sign of Vitamin B6 deficiency. Without enough Vitamin B6, your body can struggle to produce enough new skin cells to replace the old ones.
This can result in skin inflammation and the development of skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis.
If you’ve noticed a persistent rash that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter treatments, it might be worth discussing a potential Vitamin B6 deficiency with your healthcare provider.
3. Cracked Sores Around the Mouth
Angular cheilitis is a condition characterized by inflammation, redness, and painful cracked sores in the corners of your mouth.
While it can be caused by several factors, such as dry lips or excessive licking of the lips, one potential cause is a Vitamin B6 deficiency.
Vitamin B6 is essential for maintaining the health of your skin and mucous membranes, including those in your lips.
Without enough of this vitamin, your lips can become dry and cracked, leading to angular cheilitis.
This condition can be painful and can make it difficult to eat, speak, or smile. If you’re struggling with this issue, it’s worth considering whether a Vitamin B6 deficiency could be the underlying cause.
4. Weak Immune System
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, a Vitamin B6 deficiency could be to blame. This vitamin is vital for a healthy immune system.
In particular, it helps your body produce antibodies, which are needed to fight off diseases and infections.
Vitamin B6 even plays a role in the creation of white blood cells, which are crucial for immune system function.
A deficiency in this nutrient can result in decreased white blood cell response and suppressed immune response, leaving your body more susceptible to illnesses.
5. Tingling and Numbness in Hands and Feet
One of the more serious signs of a Vitamin B6 deficiency is peripheral neuropathy. This condition is characterized by weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in your hands and feet.
It can also lead to a sensation of “pins and needles,” burning or tingling in the affected areas.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the body to produce myelin, a protein layer that insulates nerves.
Without enough Vitamin B6, the body may not produce enough myelin, leading to nerve damage and the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
6. Fatigue and Low Energy
Fatigue, tiredness, and a lack of energy can all be signs of vitamin B6 deficiency. That’s because B6 plays a role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
The Bottom Line
Not getting enough vitamin B6 can lead to noticeable changes in your mood, skin rashes, cracked and sore lips, a weakened immune system, and persistent fatigue.
These symptoms highlight the importance of this nutrient for brain function, skin health, immune support, and energy levels.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, particularly if they’re severe or long-lasting, it’s important to seek medical advice.
Your healthcare provider can perform tests to determine whether a Vitamin B6 deficiency is causing your symptoms.
It’s important to remember that while Vitamin B6 is essential for good health, getting too much can also cause problems.
Therefore, it’s always best to aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods rich in Vitamin B6, such as chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, bananas, and potatoes.
If you’re considering taking Vitamin B6 supplements, it’s important to do so under the guidance of a healthcare provider.