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Vitamin B6 -- Pyridoxine

It's also required to form the hemoglobin in our red blood cells. And to make the antibodies that our immune system cells use to destroy invading infectious microorganisms. It's used in the snythesis of RNA and DNA, so without it our bodies would die as cells grew old and died without reproducing. It helps to regulate the fluids in our bodies.

And in its spare time Vitamin B6 also helps lower levels of homocysteine. High amounts of homocysteine may indicate increased risk of heart disease and stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis. Some doctors familiar with nutrition believe that our levels of homocysteine are a better measure of our heart health than the much more common and well-known test for measuring our blood cholesterol.

If a doctor ever tells me that my cholesterol is too high, I'll demand a test of my homocysteine.

In a study published in Atherosclerosis in 2005, a year long study of patients at risk of cerebral ischemia received B vitamins including B6 or a placebo. Those who got the actual vitamins had significantly reduced carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a marker of atheroscoerotic changes.

A study published by Gastroenterology in 2005 showed that Vitamin B6 may help prevent colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of a Vitamin B6 deficiency include: greasy scaly dermitis, low blood sugar, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, neuritis, arthritis, trembling hands, nausea, motion sickness, mental retardation, epilepsy, kidney stones, anemia, fatigue, nervous breakdowns, acne and convulsions.

Good food sources of Vitamin B6 include sunflower seeds, brewers yeast, liver, blackstrap molasses, bananas, walnuts, roasted peanuts, canned tuna, and salmon.

If you choose to take Vitamin B6 supplement, only go up to about 100 mg, and take a multivitamin with the entire family of B vitamins includes because they work together.

It's water soluble so generally you'll excrete any excess. But taking 200 mg or more a day over a long period can cause neurological disorders, so don't go overboard.

By: Richard Stooker

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