Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin that mostly helps with the uptake and absorption of protein. While vitamin B6 is easily found in a variety of foods, there are some who suffer from vitamin B6 deficiency. If you are someone with liver or kidney problems or suffer from autoimmune diseases, you are more likely to also have vitamin B6 deficiencies and should look out for these signs and symptoms. There are also steps you can take to add vitamin B6 to your daily routine.
Vitamin B6 helps produce collagen, so if you are lacking this vitamin you may notice a change in your skin’s appearance over time. The skin of the lips is also a place you might notice physical evidence of a deficiency, such as cracked or swollen lips. This is known as “Cheilosis, which is characterized by sore, red and swollen lips with cracked mouth corners,” which “can result from B6 deficiency. Cracked areas may bleed and become infected.” If you are experiencing these symptoms, a facial moisturizer with B6 in the ingredients can improve skin irritation.
There are a lot of reasons you might be experiencing a swollen tongue, known as glossitis, but vitamin B6 deficiency could be a factor. This is also a sign of other vitamin deficiencies, to which Marsha McCulloch, M.S., states “Deficiencies of other nutrients, including folate and B12, can also result in this condition. Consuming enough of all these vitamins may then be needed to clear up glossitis.”
Vitamin B6 not only helps with nutrient absorption but helps stabilize mood, as well. If you experience extreme moodiness during PMS, for example, a deficiency of B6 could be the cause. McCulloch claims “Research also suggests that taking 50–80 mg of B6 supplements daily may help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as moodiness, irritability, anxiety and depression.”
Weakened Immune System
In these times of unrest, we all need to be taking special care of our immune health, and a great way to do that is to take stock of our vitamin intake. A lack of vitamin B6 may cause a weakened immune system, as McCulloch explains “…a deficiency in B6 can result in the decreased production of antibodies needed to fight infections.” If you’re feeling run down or ill, it may be a vitamin deficiency is the cause.
Tingling or Pain in the Extremities
That “pins and needles” feeling might not just be the result of laying on your arm too long. If you’re experiencing tingling or shooting pain in your hands or feet, you may have a B6 deficiency. Don’t ignore this sensation, especially if it’s recurring daily.
What To Do if You Have a B6 Deficiency
There are a ton of foods that will naturally provide you with all of your vitamin B6 requirements. Chickpeas, starchy vegetables, non- citrus fruits, and even fortified breakfast cereals are a great way to get vitamin B6. If you’re still having a hard time getting enough B6, talk to a healthcare provider about the best option for you. Multivitamins and B6 supplements have been linked to interactions with other medicines, which is why the National Institutes of Health states “People should get most of their nutrients from food.” A diverse diet is the best way to raise your vitamin B6 levels.