Today I’m spotlighting Vitamin B6.
On my Facebook page this week we are talking about avocado, a whole one providing about 30% of your daily dose of Vitamin B6. It’s actually a fairly versatile fruit, most commonly associated with guacamole and other southwestern or Mexican foods, but it can be put to use in other ways as well. I played around with it in my kitchen yesterday for #testkitchentuesday and ended up using it as a garnish on a Vegetarian Chocolate Chili.
Recipe Roundup on #foodiefriday has some other excellent recipes coming, and I'll also be sharing my chili recipe, so check it out!
Vitamin B6 plays a role in several systems in our body. Everything I have studied suggests over 100 different reactions! It helps us to regulate glucose, serotonin, and melatonin. Without adequate amounts of B6 your body can’t utilize Vitamin B12. It plays a role in brain development and function as well as in production of red blood cells and a healthy heart. It plays a role in helping deal with morning sickness. There really are too many systems to list.
You can get Vitamin B6 from several food sources, though like other B vitamins it’s a sensitive vitamin as processing in many ways will decrease the amount received. Levels of B6 in plants fare better in processing, but aren’t as available to your body as animal sources. Here is a very interesting article that discusses this.
In spite of these issues, Vitamin B6 deficiency is relatively rare in the West. It’s important to make sure you regularly get your blood checked, as a deficiency in any of the B Vitamins will lead to a host of health complications.
Because Vitamin B6 is water soluble, you need to ensure you take in enough through a balanced diet or supplements, and because it’s easy to ingest too much of anything when you pop a pill, or cause side effects or drug interactions, talk to your doctor before self-medicating.
To summarize, Vitamin B6 is important to:
You can find Vitamin B6 in these food sources:
Banana, avocado, turkey breast, eggs, milk, cheese and fish. You can also find it in pistachios, several seeds and legumes, spinach, and whole grain flour.
Children need 0.1-1 mg per day, depending on age and sex. 14 yrs to adult need 1.3-2 mg, depending on their age, sex, and whether or not they are breastfeeding.
There is definitely an upper limit. You can have severe reactions if you have too much, so if you are a vitamin taker, please read your labels.
For information on Vitamin B6 deficiency and other concerns, please check here.
For general information on Vitamin B6, please check here.
A very in-depth look at this vitamin can be found here.