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Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
Vitamin B6 , or pyridoxine, helps the body turn protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. It also plays a key role in maintaining healthy immune and nervous systems, helps fight heart disease (by inhibiting the formation of homocysteine which allows cholesterol to be deposited around the heart muscle), regulates hormone production, and works to keep red blood cells from forming potentially dangerous blood clots.
Vitamin B6 is thought to be useful in treating seizures, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). However, it is important to note that Vitamin B6 can help prevent seizures only when they result from a vitamin B6 deficiency (in fact, vitamin B6 actually lowers the effectiveness of Dilantin, a drug used to control epileptic seizures, so epileptics should avoid this supplement altogether).
Vitamin B6 is critical to good cardiovascular and circulatory health. It combines with folic acid (vitamin B9) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) to break down homocysteine.
Homocysteine is an amino acid found in meats that can damage arterial walls and contribute to development of atherosclerosis, a condition that often leads to early heart attack. Vitamin B6 keeps red blood cells from getting "sticky" and clumping together to form blood clots, which could lead to heart attack or stroke, or to the development of varicose veins.
Although it has not been proven, many women report that supplementing with vitamin B6 does seem to help ease premenstrual symptoms of cramping and bloating. This is probably because vitamin B6 plays a key role in the production of the prostaglandins that relax the uterine muscles, and acts as a mild diuretic.
Lastly, Vitamin B6 may play a role in cancer immunity and may also serve to alleviate the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome.
High protein foods are good sources of pyridoxine, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, and milk and dairy products. Whole grains, especially oatmeal, are also good sources. Breakfast cereals, rice, bread and many baked goods are fortified with vitamin B6. Fruits and vegetables don't have much vitamin B6, but avocados, bananas, mangos, and potatoes contain this vitamin. It is also found in the herbs alfalfa, catnip, and oat straw.