Vitamin B-6 is a water soluble vitamin. It has to be continuously supplied in food and other sources. Excess amounts are usually passed in the urine but can be toxic.
Vitamin B-6 is necessary for the maintenance of good health. It helps the body to metabolize carbohydrate, protein and fat. It assists in tissue formation, red blood cell production, and healthy pregnancy, proper functioning of immune system, mucous membrane and skin.
Some of the potential uses are benefits in Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, reduction of homocysteine levels which are increased in post menopausal women and are thought to play a role in osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, epileptic seizures, physical and mental stress.
Symptoms of Deficiency
Extreme deficiency is quite rare:
Depression, convulsion (esp. in children), cracking of lips and tongue, itchy and scaly skin, eczema.
Causes of Deficiency
Poor diet, coffee consumption, excessive use of alcohol, certain medications, food dye (yellow #5-tartrazine), excessive protein intake.
Yeast, lentils, soybeans, walnuts, bananas, hazelnuts, brown rice, raisins, sweet potatoes, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole wheat, sunflower seeds.
Discuss the dosage and duration of use with the pharmacist before taking the medication. It can be taken with other medications for other conditions on the advice of a pharmacist or a doctor.
Health Canada has recommended a minimum and a maximum daily requirement for Vitamin B-6:
under 6 yrs - 0.6 mg/day
over 6 yrs - 1 mg/day
1-3 years - 30 mg/day
4-8 years - 40 mg/day
9-13 years - 60 mg/day
14-18 years - 80 mg/day
19 years and older - 100 mg/day
If serious overdosage then contact the poison control center or emergency room. If you miss a dose then take it as soon as remembered, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and go back to the regular dosing regimen. If taken an extra dose by mistake then contact the pharmacist or a doctor.
Tell the pharmacist/doctor if pregnant or planning to become pregnant or if breast feeding.
Possible Side Effects
When starting to take any new medication, if one notices any side-effect, contact the physician or pharmacist:
Doses over 2000mg can produce symptoms of nerve toxicity-loss of muscle coordination, tingling sensation in the feet and damage to the nerve tissue.
This is not an all inclusive list, discuss it with the pharmacist:
Hydralazine, isoniazid, penicillamine, oral contraception, theophylline, levodopa
Hydrazine dye especially FD&C yellow #5 over the recommended amount.
Store medication in a safe place at room temperature; away from heat, light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink or on top of the fridge. Out dated medications must be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
Tell the pharmacist/doctor your complete medical history.
One must inform the pharmacist or doctor if taking any prescription medication, over the counter medication, herbal or alternative medications before starting any new medication, food supplement, herb or vitamin.