Vitamin B6 is one of several B vitamins required for the proper production of messaging molecules in our nervous system and brain (called neurotransmitters). Three key neurotransmitters—namely GABA, dopamine, and serotonin—all require vitamin B6 for synthesis.
Just as an example of how important this nutrient can be to proper brain and nervous system, function, there is a condition called pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy where a genetic mutation interferes with normal vitamin B6 function. In people who have this mutation, the brain does not develop properly and epileptic seizures are experienced beginning in infancy. Luckily, this condition is rare.
However, we may be at risk of other more common problems that can be brain and nervous-system related if our B6 intake is poor. Depression is a good example in this area. Researchers in Japan have found that the risk of depressed mood is higher in people with lower levels of vitamin B6 in their diet (in comparison with the general population). Another research group concluded that this link between risk of depression and B6 intake becomes even stronger when dietary folic acid—a nutrient that works very closely with vitamin B6 in brain and nervous system chemistry—is deficient as well. Recent research has also begun to indicate a link between B6 deficiency and risk of development for attention deficit disorder (ADHD). So once again, we are looking at the possible widespread importance of B6 for brain and nervous system support.
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