Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate - the active form of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a so-called coenzyme. As such, it enables many enzymes to perform their tasks in the body. Without vitamin B6 as a coenzyme, these enzymes would be worthless.
We need enzymes not only to have healthy digestion, but for all metabolic processes that take place in the body. Without enzymes, vitamins, minerals and hormones could not perform their roles. Simply put, without enzymes nothing works in our body.
In fact, vitamin B6 functions as a coenzyme in about 100 enzymatic metabolic processes. Among others, vitamin B6 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, plays a crucial role in protein and energy metabolism and the production of the happiness hormone serotonin, promotes the formation of hemoglobin, and helps to keep homocysteine in check.
Because the body can store only small amounts, you should ingest vitamin B6 daily through your food or in dietary supplement form.
What is Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate?
Vitamin B6 occurs in our food in different forms: as pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine. However, before they can fulfill their tasks in the body they must first be converted in the liver into the active form - pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P for short). This is the only form in which it can be transported in the blood and work together with other nutrients.
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate acts faster and has a higher bioavailability than conventional pyridoxal HCL. By taking P-5-P, the activated vitamin B6 is immediately available without having to be first activated in the body.
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is especially important for individuals in which the conversion of vitamin B from its inactive to its active form does not work. This is the case with persons with reduced liver function, celiac disease, in the elderly, and in children with autism.
Vitamin B6 boosts energy and vitality
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is important for individuals who often feel tired for no apparent reason. Numerous of its functions promote increased production of energy in the body.
Among other things, P-5-P ensures that glycogen stored in the liver and in the muscles is broken down and is made available to the body as energy. In addition, P-5-P is important for the production of heme, i.e. red hemoglobin, which can bind oxygen and transport it to the cells.
What is the role of vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is significantly involved in many functions in the body in its role as a coenzyme. Among those are the following:
- supports the production of serotonin and noradrenaline
- contributes to smooth energy metabolism of the cell mitochondria
- supports the formation of heme, the iron-containing pigment in the red blood cells
- promotes the regulation of hormonal activity
- contributes to normal brain and central nervous system function
- ensures the conversion of glycogen into usable energy
- supports normal cell division and cell function
- helps reduce homocysteine, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke
- reduces morning sickness during pregnancy
- reduces disorders which are caused by diabetes
- helps to minimize carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms
- reduces PMS and edema
Who needs more Vitamin B6?
Under certain circumstances, someone may have a higher demand for Vitamin B6, for example
- when following a high protein diet
- pregnancy and breast feeding
- intake of certain medications
- decreased intake of vitamin B6 due to indigestion
- increased use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco
- reduced liver function
- overactive thyroid
- long-term stress situations
- chronic inflammation
- reduced renal function
- people with neurodegenerative diseases
- people with diabetes
What are the symptoms of a Vitamin B6 deficiency?
Even though a serious Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare, a mild form is very common. Symptoms of a Vitamin B6 deficiency could be
- Fatigue and constant tiredness
- Decreased cognitive performance
- Elevated homocysteine levels
- Sore tongue and oral mucosa
- Nausea and vomiting
- Insomnia, confusion and depression
- Panic attacks
- Weak immune system and anemia
- Chronic nerve pain
Does Vitamin B6 have side effects or interactions?
Usually, the intake of vitamin B6 does not have any side effects.
However, Vitamin B6 can have an interaction with L-dopa and decarboxylase inhibitors (e.g. Carbidopa) because Vitamin B6 could reduce the effect of these drugs and increase the symptoms of Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.