Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine fulfills important functions in the body and obtaining what we need on a daily basis is very simple through food, since cereals, meats, eggs and especially fish contain it in considerable quantities.
B6 belongs to the group of water-soluble vitamins, easily absorbed but also easily eliminated, so it must be ‘replenished' daily through a healthy and varied diet. This essential micronutrient plays a determining role in different metabolic and neurological processes.
What are the foods rich in vitamin B6
Presenting vitamin B6 deficiency is not something frequent precisely because, unless there is a pathology or disease, mainly those related to kidney function, maintaining the correct levels is achieved by eating a balanced diet. Among the foods that guarantee good contributions of pyridoxine, you should keep in mind:
- Fish: there are many reasons to include two to three servings of fish in any weekly menu, since we know that it is an especially important food for maintaining cardiovascular health thanks to its healthy fatty acids. In addition, fish, especially blue fish, is one of the main sources of vitamin B6. For every 100 grams, sardines contain 0.96 mg, anchovies 1.1 mg, salmon between 0.75 mg and 0.90 mg, tuna 0.53 mg, sole 0.60 mg… and We could go on with the list, because virtually all varieties of fish and some shellfish are excellent sources of vitamin B6.
- Meat and organ meats: the contribution of pyridoxine from the intake of different types of meat is also considerable. The vitamin B6 content of beef liver can reach 0.8 mg/100 grams and beef, depending on the piece, can exceed 0.33 mg. For its part, poultry meat, always healthy due to its low-fat content, is also rich in B6, especially chicken meat, which provides about 0.44mg/100 grams.
- Egg: this complete food, essential in the diet for its contribution in micronutrients and protein of high biological value, is also a source of vitamin B6 c-with the not insignificant amount of 0.12 mg/100 grams, as indicated by the Base of Spanish Data of Food Composition (BEDCA).
- Fruits and vegetables: some plant-based foods can deliver the necessary amount of this vitamin to the body, something that vegetarians and vegans should take into account. The fruits that contain the most pyridoxine is: banana (0.51mg) and avocado (0.42mg). As for vegetables, almost all of them have small amounts, although the richest should be highlighted: cauliflower (0.25 mg/100 gr), potatoes (0.3 mg) or leeks and green beans (0. 26mg).
- Cereals, nuts and seeds: They are not only an excellent source of slow-absorbing carbohydrates and healthy fats, in the case of nuts and seeds. This food group also contains significant amounts of vitamin B6. The richest are pistachios (1.27 mg), walnuts (0.73 mg), sesame (0.70 mg), chestnuts (0.33 mg) and whole grains such as wheat, oats and rice, that provide an average that ranges between 1.2 mg and 2 mg per 100 grams.
What is the function of vitamin B6
Among the functions of this vitamin are:
- Maintaining the correct levels of vitamin B6 in the body is essential, since it is a basic micronutrient for the immune system to fulfill its function by protecting us from diseases caused by pathogens. Pyridoxine plays a determining role in the formation of antibodies that go into action to deal with infectious processes, which is why B6 is such an important vitamin for general health. We recommend you read this other article on How to strengthen the immune system naturally.
- In addition, it is basic in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all the tissues and organs of the body.
- Vitamin B6 also intervenes in normal neurological processes, promoting the correct transmission of the nerve impulse and the maintenance of cognitive functions. Learn more Vitamins to study here.
- It has an important role in the breakdown and assimilation of protein, something especially important in case of intense physical or sports activity.
- This vitamin is also essential for maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Here you can read about What are normal blood glucose values.
What causes vitamin B6 deficiency
As we have indicated, given the variety of foods that contain it, it is not often that a person has extremely low levels of vitamin B6. When this happens, the cause is usually related to diseases that affect the liver and kidneys, although an unbalanced or deficient nutrition could also make the vitamin present in the body insufficient.
Vitamin B6 deficiency could trigger peripheral neuropathies, which result in difficulty moving (or involuntary muscle movements) or a tingling sensation in the extremities. Other manifestations of this deficiency could be the appearance of dermatitis and also sores or small ulcers in the mouth. Sometimes, the lack of vitamin B6 can cause states of tiredness and drowsiness as well as mental confusion or unusual irritability.