Benefits of Vitamin B6

I earned a Masters degree in Pharmacology at the University of Arizona in 1974. During my academic endeavors I was privileged to work with a Doctoral candidate, Mr. Hugh Laird. Dr. Laird and I participated in a grant awarded to the Univ. of AZ (Tucson) from the Indian Health Institute. Our task was to determine the antidotal treatment for Isoniazid poisoning. Isoniazid is a tuberculostatic drug, and while effective against Tuberculosis (TB) now has to be combined with other drugs because of the resistant strains of TB. In short, a part of the antidotal treatment for Isoniazid poisoning is administering pyridoxine, vitamin B6. This began my research on nutrient depletion from chronic exposure to drugs. However this summary report is designed to focus on vitamin B6, and its ability to protect our organs. [Research for same compiled in July 2009 publication by the Life Extension Foundation.]


Let’s learn about one of the silent causes of aging. Recall from our studies from NFPT that the cell membrane is composed of phospholipids, protein and cholesterol. The phospholipids and protein in the cell membrane are highly vulnerable to toxic glycation reactions. What is glycation? “Glycation is the pathological binding of glucose to proteins in our body. Proteins are the body’s primary structural component. Glycation causes our proteins to cross link and become non-functional. These non-functional proteins are referred to as Advanced Glycation End-Products, or commonly known as AGEs. No pun intended, but this is the basic process of aging.

Glucose that does not get into cells and stays in the blood will ‘gunk’ up the proteins in the body. “When extra glucose latches onto another molecule outside the cell, glucose will handcuff the molecule which prevents the molecule from doing its intended function.” (Life Extension Foundation (LEF), July 2009) AGEs affect arteries, blood pressure, nerves, connective tissue, lungs; to name a few, (LEF, July 2009). Within the arteries are endothelial cells which are tightly held together.

AGEs weakens the endothelial cells causing gaps, which in turned are plugged with cholesterol. This causes plaque in the arterial wall. Further, AGEs disrupts auto-regulation of blood pressure. Auto-regulation is the body’s inherent process of compensating high blood pressure around a specific organ, e.g. heart by opening arteries around another organ, e.g. kidney. The lung connective tissue stiffens by glycation causing effects of recoil impacting respiration and expiration. Likewise glycation of collagen impacts the joints. Glycation has been shown to cause peripheral neuropathy, which is numbness, burning, tingling in the extremities of the body. [Ann NY Acad Sci. 2005 Jun; 1043: 759-66; Biochemistry. 2006 Dec 26; 45(51): 15756-67.]

The effects of AGEs and aging are remarkably similar. The negative changes common to aging are, gradual loss of elasticity of the blood vessels, wrinkled skin (loss of collagen elasticity), degradation of lens of the eye, delaying wound healing, age induced decline of kidney function. [Biochem Med. 1983 Dec; 30(3): 333-41; Ophthalmic Res. 2006 38(5): 294-302; Kidney Int. 2002 Mar; 61(3); 939-50]

What can we do to counter AGEs? The good news is that AGEs have receptors (RAGE) that are now the target of new drug research. This research is designed to prevent the damage secondary to the AGEs. The better news for you is that vitamers of pyridoxine (B6) have been shown to trap AGEs and chaperone them out of cells. (LEF, July 2009). The ingestion of B6 will result in its ultimate active form pyridoxal-5′-phospahte. It was thought that pyridoxal-5′-phospahte was degraded in the digestive tract. However, pyridoxal-5′-phosphate is bioavailable and inhibits protein and glycation, demonstrating potential systemic benefits, including vital kidney structures. [Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2007 Aug; 22(8): 2165-74]

Glycation also occurs on lipids, making Advanced Lipoxidation End products (ALEs) which are involved in oxidative stress, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, diabetic and non-diabetic kidney damage, and more. These degenerative metabolic processes are in turn slowed by pyridoxyl-5′-phospate. [J Lipid Res. 2006 May; 47(5): 964-74.] Has it become clear? Food, nutrition will impact how you function, whether it is in athletics or common everyday life.

[Dr. Brancato is registered as a Professional Industrial Hygienist, Registered/Licensed Naturopath with added board certifications in Integrative/Alternative and Quantum Medicine, Naturopathy, Holistic Healing, Nutrition, Iridology and Athletic Training. Certification Boards include American Naturopathic Certification Board; American Association of Drugless Practitioners; Association of Professional Industrial Hygienists; American Association of Nutritional Consultants; National Federation of Professional Trainers; International Iridology Practitioners Association]


These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.