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Vitamin B6

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Vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) is a water soluble vitamin that is needed by your body to make red blood cells, synthesize serotonin and dopamine and generally maintain a healthy immune and nervous system. Your body also uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins in your diet. If your diet includes a high level of protein you typically need more vitamin B6 to stay healthy. Good dietary sources of vitamin B6 include meat, milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, legumes and whole grains.

Mild deficiencies of vitamin B6 are very common. More significant vitamin B6 deficiencies may occur in people with kidney disorders, liver disease, alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, congestive heart failure, and in individuals taking certain medications.

Recent studies have shown that a vitamin B6 deficiency can decrease your production of antibodies and suppress your immune system. Vitamin B6 deficiency is also being researched for a relationship with numerous disorders including heart disease and stroke; neurologic conditions such as chronic pain, depression, headache, seizures, and Parkinson's disease; carpal tunnel syndrome; and even premenstrual syndrome (PMS).