Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a water-soluble group of pyridine derivatives which can be transported into one another in the body. The following vitamin B6 active compounds are of biomedical significance:
- Pyridoxine (also known as pyridoxol), the alcoholic form of B6
- Pyridoxal, the B6 aldehyde
- Pyridoxamine, the amine form of the vitamin
In foods, vitamin B6 is partly present in free form, but most commonly in the form of phosphorus esters.
Functions of vitamin B6
The biologically active form of vitamin B6 is pyridoxal phosphate (PALP). As a coenzyme, it fulfils an important function in the metabolism of amino acids and proteins. Vitamin B6 thus contributes to the normal metabolism of protein, homocysteine and cysteine. Further functions of vitamin B6 include:
- Immune system. The activity of the immune cells is dependent on vitamin B6. The micronutrient thus plays a part in the normal function of the immune system.
- Nervous system. Because of its significance for the nervous system, vitamin B6 is one of the “neurotropic” vitamins and contributes towards the normal function of the nervous system and towards reduction in tiredness and fatigue.
- Metabolism of carbohydrate. The body has quickly available stores of energy in the form of glycogen (“animal starch”). Vitamin B6 supports the normal metabolism of glycogen.
- Further control functions. Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormone activity as well as the maintenance of normal red blood cells.
- In the metabolism of amino acids, vitamin B6 works closely with folic acid and vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B6 is largely contained within plant-based foods in a conjugated form and therefore only has limited use for humans.
- Vitamin B6 is sensitive to heat and light. Losses of up to 40 % are to be expected in the storing and preparation of food.
Information on production technology
- INTERCELL Pharma processes both pyridoxine and the biologically active form pyridoxal-5-phosphate.
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