Vitamins are essential nutrients required by the body for various functions. From converting food into energy sources to repair of damage to cells, the range of functions of vitamins are critical in nature. The body is unable to produce Vitamin B6, which makes it dependant on external sources such as food and supplements for its daily recommended requirement. Popularly known as a water-soluble vitamin, it is present in various food products. Here is a good look at supplements and possible vitamin b6 side effects that could be experienced due to incorrect dosage or use of the supplements.
Overview and vitamin b6 side effects
Medically labelled as pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 comprises Pyridoxal 5 phosphate, a coenzyme that is responsible for assisting other enzymes in the discharge of various functions. The range of functions include breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 helps improve brain health and overall immunity in the body. Additionally, Vitamin B6 helps in ensuring that homocysteine levels are maintained at normal levels. A spike in the levels of homocysteine may result in heart ailments and this makes the role of Vitamin B6 essential/critical. Before we look at vitamin b6 side effects it is necessary to understand more about the ideal dosage uses of the vitamins.
Ideal dosage of vitamins
The recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin B6 differs across genders and age groups. For instance, for men between the ages of 15 to 50, the RDA is 1.3 mg daily, while there is an additional segregation in age groups among women. Women between the ages of 19 to 50 years are recommended 1.3 mg daily, while those belonging to the age group of 14 to 18 years are recommended a slightly lower dosage of 1.2 mg per day. Women who are either pregnant or lactating are recommended higher dosages between 1.9 mg to 2.0 mg. The dosage for adults of both genders is relatively higher than that of younger adults. For instance, men above the age of 50 are recommended 1.7 mg daily, while women above 50 are recommended 1.5 mg. Sticking to the ideal dosages is one of the best methods to prevent vitamin b6 side effects.
What is tolerable upper level?
The tolerable upper intake level or UL refers to the maximum dose, beyond which an individual may experience side effects. In other words, this limit is the threshold within which the specific product or supplement needs to be consumed for particular periods. The tolerable upper intake level for Vitamin B6 is 100 mg per day for adults above the age of 19, which makes it relatively safe for individuals who are recommended the ideal dosages. In certain special cases, for purely medical reasons or conditions, it is also possible that patients may be prescribed higher dosages of the supplements. However, this is taken only as per specific medical advice, and under strict supervision. Knowledge of the tolerable upper intake level helps prevent vitamin b6 side effects that are attributed to excess dosage.
Commonly reported benefits of Vitamin B6 supplements
To understand vitamin b6 side effects it is necessary to learn more about the uses and benefits of the supplements. This will give greater insights into the reasons for taking the supplements and the possible outcomes of taking the supplements daily. It is popularly used for treating pregnant women who experience nausea, and in helping reduce risk of cancers when the right levels of vitamin B6 are maintained in the blood. Benefits of the supplements typically extend to cardiovascular diseases, and treatment of morning sickness. Additionally, it is also used for boosting cognitive functions in patients, apart from reducing risk of cancer.
Right sources of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is naturally available in various food products, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian food products. For instance, it is available in fish varieties such as salmon and tuna, and in poultry products. Among vegetarian food products, Vitamin B6 is available in chickpeas, fruit such as bananas, oranges and papayas. It is also found in leafy greens and certain vegetables, and is also available in the liver of beef. The availability of the vitamins in abundance may differ from product to product. Depending on dietary preferences, individuals can ensure that the body’s requirement of vitamin B6 is met through the right mix of products.
Tips to identify vitamin B6 deficiency
It is important to learn how to identify deficiency of B6 as this will prevent unnecessary use of supplements in individuals who have intake the right amounts. Most vitamin b6 side effects are attributed to incorrect dose or use of supplements. Vitamin B6 deficiency reportedly occurs when the levels of two vitamins are low. Whenever vitamin B12 and folic acid levels reduce in the body, it results in reduction of vitamin B6. This could result in deficiency, especially when the levels are low over an extended period of time. Various conditions or symptoms will help identify vitamin B6 deficiency, thereby helping individuals to take the right kind of remedial action. For instance, individuals who experience confusion for no apparent reason, could be deficient. Similarly, individuals who do not have a history of depression, or conditions related to depression, may be deficient in vitamin B6 if there are symptoms of depression. The skin conditions of individuals with deficiency may also undergo visible changes, thereby helping patients seek medical advice. There is also the possibility of lowered immunity and risk of microcytic anemia among individuals with vitamin B6 deficiency.
Conditions that trigger vitamin B6 deficiency
There are certain conditions that trigger vitamin B6 deficiency, and it is necessary to be aware of specific reasons for deficiency. For instance, individuals with kidney ailments are a risk of vitamin B6 deficiency as the ailment prevents the proper absorption of the vitamins. Similarly, other diseases are also responsible for deficiency, including various autoimmune intestinal disorders and autoimmune inflammatory disorders. For instance, patients with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, are at risk of lowered vitamin B6 levels. Similarly, individuals who over indulge with alcohol or who are addicted to bouts of drinking, are at risk of having lower levels of vitamin B6.
Symptoms that indicate toxic overdose
As mentioned earlier, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that excess amounts of the vitamin are typically flushed out of the body. Therefore, the possibility of individuals reaching a toxic overdose is limited. As spelt out earlier, the tolerable upper limit is 1000 mg per day and it is almost impossible to achieve this from food sources alone. However, in a limited number of instances, individuals on supplements may overdo the dosage and end up with toxic levels of the vitamins. This is particularly true when taken over an extended period. Commonly reported symptoms include, neuropathy either in the hands or the feet, and possible nausea for no apparent reason. Additionally, individuals may also end up with loss of complete control over body movements. These symptoms are known to resolve naturally, as soon as the high doses are stopped or reduced.
Vitamin b6 side effects – interactions with other medications
There is a possibility of vitamin B6 supplements interacting with other drugs or supplements being consumed by patients. It is necessary to know all about such possible interactions, as this will help prevent vitamin b6 side effects. For instance, individuals on certain categories of medications are at risk of experience drug interactions. Barbiturates, when taken along with vitamin B6 may result in reduced efficacy of the barbiturates – typically administered or recommended for conditions that require central nervous system depressants. The effectiveness of the drug, its intensity and the longevity of the mechanism of action may be impacted when combined with vitamin B6.
Other drugs that may interact with vitamin B6 include altretamine, which is used for chemotherapy. When combined with vitamin B6, the effectiveness of the drug may be compromised, and result in lesser than desired outcomes. Similarly, other chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin may also result in reduced effectiveness when combined with vitamin B6 supplements. Vitamin b6 side effects attributed to drug interactions also include anticonvulsants, wherein the longevity of mechanism of action of the medication is affected. The interactions could also result in reduced intensity of the medication, thereby having an impact on the outcomes expected from the treatment regimen. Finally, vitamin B6 is not to be combined with certain drugs used for treating Parkinson’s disease. When combined with these categories of medications, there is the possibility of the drug having reduced efficacy.
Overall effectiveness and vitamin b6 side effects
Vitamin B6 supplements are regarded as relatively safe with very few chances of adverse effects. This is because the tolerable limit is high, and it may be almost near impossible to actually cross the threshold with natural food products. The only possibility of overdose is when supplements taken for medical conditions are overused. Additionally, being a water- soluble vitamin, the chances of excess doses remaining in the body are minimal as it is flushed out naturally along with urine. By virtue of vitamin B6 being an essential vitamin with important functions in the body, the need for vitamin B6 is high. This makes it necessary for choosing the right food products in a balanced diet and to rely on supplements wherever necessary. This is quite unlike the use of medications, which bring in an additional mechanism of action that may trigger side effects.
As the body requires vitamin B6 for routine functions, the use of supplements to deliver the right amount of this vitamin will not cause any vitamin b6 side effects when taken in right levels. When administered to make up for vitamin deficiency in medical conditions, there is the possibility of higher dosages being recommended and this could ultimately result in side effects when the supplements are administered over an extended period of time. Other than a few rare instances, there is very little chances of the supplements resulting in side effects. Most of the side effects are known to resolve naturally and may not require any additional treatment. Vitamin B6 is therefore relatively safe for consumption and will not cause adverse effects typically experienced with other medications or supplements.