The water-soluble vitamin B6 not only has its hand in over 100 chemical reactions in the human body, but also offers a host of other important health benefits. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bell peppers, turnip greens, spinach, tuna, bananas, and chicken breast. Here are 7 health benefits of Vit B6.
Normal cellular growth in the body requires vitamin B6 for many reasons. Firstly, the nucleic acids that create DNA need vitamin B6 to operate. The building blocks of protein – amino acids – also need vitamin B6 to synthesize. Finally, important compounds such as heme (the protein center of red blood cells) and phospholipids (cell membranes components that allow messaging between cells) need vitamin B6 to form.
Not only is vitamin B6 essential for processing carbohydrates, which are necessary to produce energy, but is also important in the breakdown of glycogen, a form of starch stored in muscles and a source of energy used when exercising.
Because of its importance to protein metabolism and new cellular growth, vitamin B6 helps maintain the health of lymphoid glands, such as the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes, and thus ensures the production of healthy white blood cells that protect the body from infections.
Vitamin B6 has a wide-range impact on the bodyʼs nervous system. For instance, messaging molecules called amines require amino acids to develop, which in turn rely on vitamin B6 to form. Furthermore, the phospholipids (mentioned above) play a vital role in the formation of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve ﬁbers that allow optimal messaging between nerves.
Finally, vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid that inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses in the nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is not only essential for making hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to cells, but also increases the amount of oxygen carried.
Sulfur and Methyl Metabolism
Hormonal balance and the elimination of toxic substances through the liver require the movement of sulfur-containing molecules around the body. Vitamin B6 allows the sulfur to release from other molecule groups, thus allowing it to ﬂow throughout the body.
Vitamin B6 interacts with methyl-containing molecules in much the same way. Furthermore, by allowing methyl groups to attach to toxic substances, vitamin B6 encourages the body to eliminate them. Substances like homocysteine, which at high levels can cause cardiovascular disease, can be limited by a healthy diet of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to curb excessive inﬂammation in the body, which can lead
to cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.