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What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of Vitamin B-6?

by
author image Jacques Courseault
As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician I have extensive experience in musculoskeletal/neurological medicine that will benefit the network.
What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of Vitamin B-6?
A doctor is consulting a patient. Photo Credit Monkey Business Images Ltd/Monkey Business/Getty Images

Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for proper nervous system function. Specifically, vitamin B6 is required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin formation. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that help nerves communicate, and myelin is a protective covering around nerves that aids in nerve signal transmission. Vitamin B6 deficiency occurs in patients with alcoholism, liver problems, congestive heart failure and hyperthyroidism and may be a side effect of medications. Consult your doctor to see if vitamin B6 would be beneficial to you and to inform you of its benefits and side effects.

Prevents Neurological Problems

Vitamin B6 is instrumental in nervous system function. Thus, deficiencies in vitamin B6 can cause severe neurological deficits, including numbness, weakness, movement and coordination difficulties. Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare because the vitamin is founds in many types of foods, including cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat and flour. However, deficiencies can still occur. Fortunately, vitamin B6 supplementation has proved to be effective in preventing neurological problems that occur because of vitamin B6 deficiencies.

Prevents Seizures in New Born Babies

Vitamin B6 has been shown to prevent seizures in vitamin B6 deficient newborn babies. Seizures related to vitamin B6 occur if the mother has been taking high doses of vitamin B6 or if the mother has a vitamin B6 genetic dependency. After birth, the vitamin B6 levels in the newborn drops suddenly, which can cause seizures. Quick intravenous replacement of vitamin B6 can control the seizure and prevent the onset of new seizures.

Decreased Sensation

Although vitamin B6 is necessary for healthy nerve function, it may cause side effects that also affect the nervous system. A possible side effect of vitamin B6 supplementation is decreased sensation. Specifically, you may notice numbness around the feet or mouth, a decreased sensation to touch or tingling in the skin. If this side effect occurs, you should alert your doctor. She may change the dose of vitamin B6 that you are taking or divide the daily into multiple administrations throughout the day to prevent side effects.

Loss of Coordination

Supplementation with Vitamin B6 also may alter the motor, or movement, function of your nerves. You may experience loss of coordination with administration of vitamin B6. This occurs because vitamin B6 can affect the neurotransmitters that control nerves involved with movement in the cerebellum, which is the coordination center of the brain. If you experience loss of coordination or have difficulty walking, you should stop taking vitamin B6 and alert your doctor.

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