Vitamin B6 Deficiency -Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Individuals having vitamin B6 deficiency might notice symptoms like skin rashes, mood swings, tingling sensation and pain in the hands and feet. Several factors such as consuming vitamin B6 inactivating drugs, excessive alcohol, or medical conditions like malabsorption can cause a deficiency.
Stay tuned to know more about the causes and symptoms of this nutrient deficiency and the ways of recovery.
What Is Vitamin B6 Deficiency?
Vitamin B6 deficiency usually occurs along with a low level of other B vitamins such as vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B9 (folic acid). It can cause biochemical changes, becoming more apparent with gradual increase in deficiency level.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is one of the central molecules in cells of a living organism. It is also associated with more than 150 enzymatic reactions as a coenzyme, thus playing a crucial role in the functioning of cells.
Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
A low level of vitamin B6 can result in the following symptoms –
Cracked or Sore Lips
One of the major vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms is cracked or sore lips. In medical terms, this condition is known as Cheilosis, characterised by red, swollen lips with cracked mouth corners. Individuals may experience bleeding in these areas, leading to infections.
Inadequacy of pyridoxine can lead to glossitis, marked by a swollen, red, and inflamed tongue. Deficiency of vitamin B6 and B9, and B12 can also result in a smooth or glossy tongue due to loss of papillae. Individuals suffering from glossitis have difficulty chewing, talking and swallowing.
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency in adults include skin rashes. Additionally, individuals with insufficient pyridoxine suffer from red itchy rashes, called seborrhoeic dermatitis, in particular areas such as the scalp, face, upper chest, and neck.
Inadequate vitamin B6 impacts one’s mood and can lead to mental issues like depression, irritability, anxiety, etc.
If an individual feels unusually tired, it might indicate a low level of vitamin B6. One of the primary reasons is that pyridoxine helps make haemoglobin, which further aids in oxygen circulation throughout the body. Insufficient oxygen levels can lead to anaemia, resulting in weakness and fatigue.
Weak Immune System
A low level of vitamin B6 leads to decreased production of antibodies, white blood cells and other immune factors, which are essential to prevent infections, inflammations and various cancers.
Seizures are one of the common signs of the presence of insufficient vitamin B6 in a body. Individuals can have symptoms like muscle spasms, rolling eyes, jerking in legs and arms, convulsions, loss of consciousness. However, seizures are more seen in infants but can happen with adults.
When individuals have inadequate vitamin B6, they suffer from nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms include burning, shooting and tingling pain in arms, legs, feet and hands. This medical condition can lead to difficulty walking, clumsiness and balance problems.
Increased Level of Homocysteine
Insufficiency of vitamin B6 and B9, and B12 results in an increased level of homocysteine, a by-product of protein digestion. A high level of homocysteine can lead to health issues like heart problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
The above list thoroughly clarifies which disease is caused due to deficiency of vitamin B6. Now, let us find out what causes this condition.
Causes of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 deficiency can occur due to several reasons. Some of them are –
- Malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis.
- Individuals who have genetic diseases, such as homocystinuria, can cause insufficiency of vitamin B6.
- Certain medications, such as antiepileptic drugs.
- Intake of vitamin B6 inactivating drugs such as antiseizure, isoniazid, hydralazine, and corticosteroids.
Now that you are aware of what causes low vitamin B6, it is time to learn about its long-term effects.
Take a look at the diseases caused by deficiency of vitamin B6.
Effects of Long-term Vitamin B6 Deficiency
If individuals have a low level of vitamin B6 for a long period, it can lead to vitamin B6 deficiency diseases, such as –
- Cognitive decline and dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Various types of cancer.
- Eye diseases.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
It is clear from the above discussion that a long-term deficiency of vitamin B6 causes which disease. Therefore, individuals must learn about prevention methods to overcome the health issues related to it.
What Should You Eat to Overcome Vitamin B6 Deficiency?
Individuals can easily prevent Vitamin B6 deficiency by consuming vitamin B6 rich foods, vegetables, fruits. Here is a list detailing these food items –
- Protein-rich foods such as poultry, fish, organ meats, beef and turkey seafood, nuts and seeds; beans, peas, lentils, and soy products.
- Potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
- Fat-free and low-fat milk, oils, yoghurt, and cheese.
- Fruits, except for citrus fruits.
You can always consult a dietician to get a proper diet chart comprising these food items in appropriate proportions.
How Long Does It Take to Overcome Vitamin B6 Deficiency?
Most nutritional deficiencies take up to 6 months to resolve with proper treatment. Patients can observe improvements before this time as well, depending on the treatment procedure. The exact time required to correct vitamin B6 deficiency entirely depends on the nutrient level in a body and the severity of the condition.
The above discourse on vitamin B6 deficiency, symptoms, and causes will hopefully help in the early identification of such a condition. Accordingly, Individuals can take necessary precautions to avoid a deficiency or consult a professional for recovery.