What are the Symptoms of a Vitamin B6 Deficiency?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff
Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.
Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.

A vitamin B6 deficiency can manifest in a number of ways. Some of the more common symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, and water retention. In addition, people who suffer from this deficiency sometimes lose their interest in sex, and may have feelings of paranoia. Many times those who have a vitamin B6 deficiency may exhibit no symptoms at all, or may have the condition long before any noticeable symptoms develop.

Often, a vitamin B6 deficiency is very difficult for doctors to diagnose, because many of the symptoms are common to a host of other illnesses. These include symptoms such as fluctuations in body weight, irritability, and depression, all of which could easily apply to many other illnesses. The lack of any conditions that are specific to a vitamin B6 deficiency gives rise to many instances of wrong diagnoses.

Deficiencies in vitamin B6 are often confused with thyroid problems. This is because two common symptoms of the deficiency are also very common to thyroid disorders. Cracked and drying skin and fluctuations in weight are commonly seen in both conditions, and in fact, could probably be said to be the two main symptoms of thyroid disorders. Normally, most doctors would not consider vitamin deficiency until they first ruled out thyroid problems.

Another problem that sometimes makes diagnosing vitamin b6 so difficult is the lack of symptoms. Very many people suffer no symptoms at all, or if they do, the symptoms are sometimes so vague many people do not even see their doctor. They believe they are just tired and irritable from situations in their day-to-day life. By the time they see a doctor, they may be chronically deficient in B6.

Chronic vitamin B6 deficiency can sometimes cause seizures and in some cases, sufferers may find walking to be increasingly difficult. When the deficiency reaches chronic proportions, aggressive treatment is sometimes necessary. Doctors may give the patients a series of injections of vitamin B6, to be followed by careful monitoring and follow up.

To avoid becoming deficient in vitamin B6, it is probably necessary to alter lifestyle. Vitamin B6 is an integral part of so many foods that it is difficult to become deficient based on eating habits alone. Most of the time, there are contributing factors that work to diminish the positive effects of B6. Alcohol abuse is one of the main causes of vitamin B6 deficiency, as is chronic diarrhea and some drug interactions. In some instances, failure to properly process B6 is due to genetic metabolic disorders.

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    • Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.
      Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.