Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and depression
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential for both physical and mental health and is intrinsic to more body functions than any other vitamin, mineral, or nutrient. Brain function, red blood cell formation, the central nervous system, absorption of fats and proteins, immune system function and the synthesis of DNA and RNA all require this vitamin. Vitamin B6 levels are typically quite low in depressed patients and people taking anti-depressants may likely be depressed simply as a result of B6 deficiency. Vitamin B6 is essential to the manufacture of serotonin (a chemical nerve transmitter in the brain) and low levels of serotonin are thought to be linked to depression. Patients with low B6 status usually respond well to supplementation.
Vitamin B6 deficiency results in depressed immune function-both antibody-related and cell-mediated immunity are suppressed. This suppression is apparent as the number of white blood cells plummets, there is a tremendous reduction in quantity and quality of antibodies produced, and there is decreased thymic hormone activity. Vitamin B6 deficiency may result from low dietary intake of vitamin B6, excess protein intake, consumption of yellow food dyes (hydralazine), alcohol consumption, or use of oral contraceptives.
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