Vitamin B6 joins the fight against COVID-19

Who would have thought vitamin B6 which is commonly found in the bananas and oatmeal you might regularly eat may be key to your body’s fast response against COVID-19?

Although vaccines are now available for COVID-19, many people are struggling to get an appointment.  Health officials are telling the public the demand is far greater than the supply and to be patient. 

Luckily, research has explored the benefits of vitamins D (experts suggest increased dosage during the pandemic) and minerals like zinc and magnesium in fortifying the immune system against COVID-19. And many experts agree that dietary supplements can help in the fight against the virus. But scientific research on the critical role of vitamin B6 has been missing. 

Vitamin B6 is found in many foods, however, if you are deficient in other B complex vitamins such as folate and B12, you are more likely to be deficient in B6 as well.

COVID-19 is a good reason to beef it up…

Vitamin B6 may prevent severe infection from COVID-19

Vitamin B6 plays a pivotal role in cell functioning, energy metabolism, and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. A diet rich in B6 exerts a protective effect against a host of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, including chronic inflammatory bowel disease. 

Now, food scientist Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee has published a paper in Frontiers in Nutrition citing growing evidence of the vitamin’s potential in lowering the odds of becoming seriously ill with the coronavirus. 

“In addition to washing your hands, food and nutrition are among the first lines of defense against COVID-19 virus infection. Food is our first medicine and the kitchen is our first pharmacy,” Kumrungsee, an associate professor at Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, said.

Vitamin B6 is a known anti-thrombosis and anti-inflammation nutrient and Kumrungsee believes it may help dampen the cytokine storm phenomenon (hyper inflammation), including blood clotting, that’s been linked to COVID-19’s lethality. Severe COVID-19 infections have resulted in blocked capillaries which damage major organs like the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

“Vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system. Its levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. We can see from the news that obese and diabetic people are at high risk for COVID-19,” Kumrungsee said.

“Thus, our attempt in this paper is to shed light on the possible involvement of vitamin B6 in decreasing the severity of COVID-19.”

The associate professor is looking forward to clinical trials to test whether B6 exerts protection against novel types of virus infection and pneumonia — and hopes that after COVID-19, research into nutrition for lung disease, including cancer, will continue.

Signs and symptoms of a B6 deficiency

Though we don’t have definitive evidence yet of B6’s efficacy in dousing the effects of COVID-19, deficiency of the vitamin is associated with lower immune function and higher susceptibility to viral infections. So, it makes sense to make sure you’re not deficient.

Signs of deficiency include:

  • Skin rashes – B6 helps synthesize collagen which is needed for healthy skin.
  • Cracked and Sore lips – The corners of your mouth and lips can be dry and painful making talking and eating difficult in severe cases.
  • Sore glossy tongue
  • Mood changes– B6 is involved in making several neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotine which help control anxiety and depression.
  • Weakened immune function – A deficiency in B6 results in the decreased production of antibodies needed to fight infections.
  • Tiredness and low energy – Vitamin B6 makes hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout your body. If you have too little anemia can result, making you feel tired and weak.
  • Tingling and pain in hands and feet – A deficiency of B6 results in peripheral neuropathy which may include symptoms such as burning and shooting pains in arms, legs and feet.  You could also have balance problems and difficulty walking.

Need help boosting your B6? Good sources of vitamin B6 include:

  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Soya beans
  • Wheatgerm
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals
  • Milk

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!

Sources:

Vitamin B6 may help keep COVID-19’s cytokine storms at bay — EurekAlert!

9 signs and symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency — Healthline

Vitamin B6:  A Challenging link between nutrition and inflammation in CVD — Pubmed

B vitamins and folic acid — NHS

Tracey G. Ingram, AuD

By Tracey G. Ingram, AuD

Tracey G. Ingram is a former Occupational Therapist, and presently a writer and Doctor of Audiology with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and feels health is a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. She practices intermittent fasting, Pilates, yoga, hiking and daily meditation. She loves to share her experiences with nutrition, supplements and eating organic foods to help others improve their health.