Nutrient Highlight: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

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What can Vitamin B6 do for your body?

“Prevention is always better than cure.” We hear this all the time, but I prefer to say, “All health outcomes are cumulative.” The latter provides a sense of personal accountability, that your current state of health is the sum of everything that has happened since you were a baby.

For cardiovascular health

Homocysteine is a type of protein that we need to keep in check. When homocysteine levels in the blood are too high, it can damage the lining of the arteries and increase the risk of blood clot formation. This is something we want to avoid because blood clots can block our blood vessels and trigger stroke or heart failure. The B vitamins B6, B12 and folate are needed to maintain safe levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream.

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For cognitive function

High levels of homocysteine are also observed in patients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline. This means that a good diet high in Vitamin B6 may have protective effects against the development of these degenerative diseases.

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For cancer prevention

Vitamin B6 facilitates enzyme activity that helps in reducing oxidative stress and managing inflammation in the body. With these two functions being so vital for cancer prevention, there is no wonder why a high intake of Vitamin B6 foods is associated with a lower risk of all cancers, especially gastrointestinal cancers.

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Which foods are the best sources of Vitamin B6?

When we eat a variety of whole foods and fresh produce, we tend to get the essential vitamins and minerals that we need everyday. Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of animal and plant foods such as beef liver, tuna, salmon, chickpeas, and poultry. It can also be found in dark leafy greens, bananas, papayas, oranges, and potatoes.

Final Words

Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that we need to introduce into our body through the diet. It is best known for helping pregnant women overcome morning sickness. But it is being studied for its protective effects for degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and cancer development. We can get Vitamin B6 through a wide variety of whole foods, with some foods such as potatoes being a good source for the nutrient.

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