How many of us know that a deficiency of Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine can make you susceptible for heart disease, brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as muscle pain, depression and dragging fatigue?
Vitamin B6 is one of the most crucial vitamins for health and it’s a part of the vitamin B complex family. Now, all B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a number of life-altering physical and psychological functions. All of them have a vital role to play in helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve and liver function as well as skin and eye health, as well as good amount of energy levels.
Role of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has a number of derivatives, including pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate and pyridoxamine. And all of these are involved in major body functions like movement, memory, energy use and blood flow. This is the primary reason why a vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in a range of symptoms from physical to psychological, temporary to chronic and serious.
Vitamin B6 also helps your body to
Maintain a healthy nervous system
To make more hemoglobin, blood cells that carry oxygen in blood
To provide energy from our food
To balance blood sugar levels
To act as a natural pain relief
To boost mood
To create antibodies for self-protection
Preventing a Vitamin B6 Deficiency
The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for an adult under the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams. Normally, this amount is easy to get from your diet, assuming you are eating a balanced diet with enough calories. However, the amount the body’s requirement for vitamin B6 jumps up as you age. Experts recommend that adults over 50 get up to 1.7 milligram daily of this vitamin.
As this requirement is not met, older people get more prone to a vitamin B6 deficiency and so do malnourished children and adults. Foods like poultry, pork, nuts and beans contain high levels of vitamin B6 and you can include more of these to get the recommended dose of vitamin B6. However, since vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, so you need to replenish your body with it daily as it doesn’t get stored in the body.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency:
Lack of energy and chronic fatigue: Vitamin B6 helps supply your body with energy by improving your metabolism. It has a vital role to play in protein metabolism – it helps your body break down the protein that you eat and produce energy quickly. So one very important pointer that you have a vitamin B6 deficiency is when you get fatigued quickly during exercise.
Brain function decline: Vitamin B6 vitamin helps your brain communicate with other parts of the body more efficiently. So, if you have a decline in muscle efficiency it could be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency.
High Levels of amino acid Homocysteine: High levels of amino acid Homocysteine do not cause any symptoms that you can detect by yourself but tests can tell you if you have high levels of this amino acid in your body. And these high levels are directly linked to vitamin B6 deficiency. What high levels of homocysteine can do is cause heart attacks. But vitamin B6 helps keep a check on these levels to reduce your risk for a cardiovascular event.
Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are:
Changes in mood, such as depression, irritability, and anxiety
A worsening of PMS symptoms
And worsening of symptoms of anemia
As vitamin B6 is so important for nerve function, a deficiency is linked with neuro-psychiatric disorders like seizures, migraines, and chronic pain.
An increased risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis
Higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The human body is made up on innumerable nutrients and minerals without which it cannot function properly. The body tends to experience loss of these nutrients and minerals due to one or more factors, which can further affect the proper functioning of the body. One of the most essential minerals in the body is iron. It is required to help the red blood cells transport oxygen to the rest of the body. Furthermore, it also helps in producing energy and facilitates cell respiration. Iron makes for an essential mineral for each and every human being; however, it is most required by women.
According to the National Institute of Health, an average adult male needs about eight milligram of iron per day and an average adult female needs 18 milligram of iron per day. During pregnancy, a female needs 27 milligrams, a triple of what men need.
According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "It is primarily because of the monthly cycle that women tend to lose blood. Typically in pregnancy, women require more iron because there is an increase in blood volume, which is needed for baby's growth in the womb. Iron is needed to replenish the loss of blood during menstrual cycle and delivery of the baby. While it is important for both men and women, these two factors make iron an important mineral for women." Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood agrees, "Physiologically, women need more iron because of the menstrual cycle, you need to replenish blood, which is why you should load up on iron rich foods more."
One of the biggest reasons to add more iron in your diet is menstruation. It is about losing a lot of blood every month, which can affect overall iron content in the body. Compensate by increasing the consumption of iron rich foods.
Another reason is pregnancy. Iron helps form the placenta that is an essential part of the womb. The iron is not needed by your body but also by the baby for its growth. In fact, the iron you supply to the baby needs to last for six months after birth. So iron does not only aid in development, but the child is storing up for later.
An insufficient amount of iron can lead to insufficient amount of oxygen in your blood, which can result in anemia, further causing fatigue. So it is important to load up on iron rich foods. Consume more green leafy vegetables, eggs, dry fruits, nuts and seeds, pulses and beans, fish, whole grains, et al.
Iron is a must for everyone, be it a male or female. However, it is imperative for women to be extremely careful of their deficiencies considering they might have to suffer from quick loss of iron.
Sodium deficiency or hyponatraemia refers to the low sodium concentration in the body of an individual. As other minerals, Sodium also plays essential roles in the human body. It is required for many of the functions of the body, including blood pressure management, fluid balance and the proper functioning of the nervous system. It may also sometimes lead to neurological impairments which affect walking and attention and could also result in bone fracture. Hyponatremia can be caused due to drinking too much of water, without enough replacement of sodium from the body. However, consuming too much of sodium can increase the volume of blood in the body, resulting in various health problems and can sometimes lead a person to coma.
The symptoms of sodium deficiency or hyponatraemia aren’t usually always specific. They can differ from person to person and depend on how rapid the fall in the sodium concentration of the body is. However, some of the common symptoms that are usually seen in the affected persons are as follows:
1.Gastrointestinal distress: One of the symptoms of hyponatraemia includes gastrointestinal distress. It may cause a decrease in the appetite of an individual and also result in nausea and vomiting. However, if a person suffering from sodium deficiency experiences vomiting, then their problem may continue to worsen.
2.Cognitive Impairment: Deficiency in sodium level can also result in abnormal mental status. Hyponatremia causes expanding of the tissue cells in the body. However, maximum tissues in the body can handle this change but the brain cannot. It is not capable of compensating for the increased size of the cells and as a result, the brain starts to dysfunction and causes a headache, confusion, lethargy and the problem of fatigue. With the worsening of the conditions, the person can experience hallucinations, decrease in consciousness and may also lead to coma.
3.Muscular Problems: Due to the drop in Sodium concentration, a person can experience various muscular problems including spasms or cramps. He/She may also suffer from fatigue. The weakness in the muscles and seizures are some of the additional symptoms of sodium deficiency.
The severity of these symptoms depends on the speed i.e., on how fast the fall in the blood salt level is. A gradual, low-level drop can be tolerated if it lasts for a few days or weeks, but the deficiency of sodium in the body can be fatal if not treated as early as possible. It may even lead to the death of a person.
Iron deficiency affects one in five of the world's population and is more prevalent in pregnant women, say researchers. Thyroid disorders and iron deficiency (ID) are associated with obstetrical and foetal complications in expecting mothers. The finding showed that iron deficiency increases the risk of having a thyroid disorder as well as raises complications such as miscarriages and pre-term births.
Iron is essential for the normal functioning of thyroid peroxidase (TPO-abs) - a protein essential for the correct functioning of the thyroid. Pregnant women need to make enough thyroid hormone for the full development of their babies' brains, which is especially critical during the first semester when the foetus has not developed a thyroid gland of its own, said the paper.
Iron deficiency also causes thyroid autoimmunity - a disease where the immune system mistakenly destroys healthy thyroid cells; causing thyroid hormone levels to fall. It can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women.
For the study, the team followed 1900 pregnant women who were in their first trimester.
They measured the women's blood ferritin - an indicator of iron deficiency - antibodies against the thyroid peroxidase - indicating thyroid autoimmunity -, the thyroid hormone free thyroxine (FT4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
A third or 35 per cent of the study participants showed iron deficiency.
"Considering that our study took place in a relatively wealthy country, our results show that even in 2016, iron deficiency remains an important problem," said lead author Kris Poppe from Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels.
Pregnant women who are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency, may also be at risk if iron is found in excess in their bodies. They are likely to develop gestational diabetes, a study has found.
As a strong pro-oxidant, free iron can promote several cellular reactions that generate reactive oxygen species and increase the level of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress induced from excess iron accumulation can cause damage to and death of pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin, and consequently, contribute to impaired insulin synthesis and secretion.
In the liver, high iron stores may induce insulin resistance via impaired insulin signalling as well as by limiting the capacity of the liver to extract insulin, the researchers said.
"Higher maternal iron stores may play a role in the development of gestational diabetes starting as early as the first trimester," said Cuilin Zhang from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in the US.
In the study, the researchers looked at several biomarkers of iron status, including plasma hepcidin, ferritin, and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), in 107 gestational diabetes cases and 214 controls.
They found that in the second trimester of pregnancy, those in the top 25 per cent of levels of hepcidin and ferritin had around a 2.5 times increased subsequent risk of developing gestational diabetes compared with those in the bottom 25 per cent.
In additon, a possible link between higher iron stores and abnormal blood sugar control, including Type 2 diabetes, in non-pregnant individuals, was also found.
"These findings raise potential concerns about the recommendation of routine iron supplementation among pregnant women who already have sufficient iron," Zhang noted, in the paper published in the journal Diabetologia.