Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B6  Pyridoxine / Pyridoxal / Pyridoxamine

Vit B 6 is referred as pyridoxine which is available from plant sources and Pyridoxal phosphate which is available from animal sources.

The vitamin is found in legumes, wheat grain covering(bran), meat, nuts etc.

Deficiency states are due to poor intake of the vitamin. It can also occur if the bran is removed from wheat and starvation states. Deficiency may occur if less than .2 mg is taken daily. If a person is put on antituberculosis drug Isoniazid, deficiency symptoms can occur. This drug interacts with pyridoxal phosphate and hence vitamin B 6 is given together with Isoniazid to TB patients.

Symptoms of deficiency are burning and strange sensations in hands and feet (neuropathy), confusion, madness (psychosis), anemia, fits, depression, red tongue and seborrhea.

Deficiency is treated by giving Vit B6 in a dose of 50 mg/day. Intake of > 100 mg/day may cause toxic side effects which can be severe.

Vitamin B12  Cyanocobalmin

Vitamin B12  is otherwise also known as cyanocobalamin. It is required daily in minuscule quantities (1 microgram /day).

This vitamin is not available in plant-based food and requires acid in the stomach and a binding factor for its absorption. It is absorbed in the last part of intestines.

Deficiency is seen in strict vegetarians (Vegans), alcoholics, after prolonged acid-blocking drugs, diseases of terminal ileum etc.

Diagnosis is made easily by checking blood levels once the diagnosis is suspected.

Deficiency manifests in the form of anemia with large RBCs (megaloblasts), unsteadiness of gait, loss of position and vibration sense in feet, bladder and bowel incontinence, impotence and decrease cognitive abilities (dementia). The changes may become permanent if not treated early and may even result in death. Deficiency can also cause an increase in homocysteine levels and increased likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.

In overt deficiency, it is given by injections to ensure rapid action. Oral preparations are also available for regular use.