Vitamin B6 – The Benefits and Effects on Muscle Growth
If you are engaged in strength training and consume enough protein, but there is no increase in muscle mass or it is too small, then the reason for this may be a lack of vitamin B6. This vitamin is the only one directly involved in the metabolism of proteins, so athletes and bodybuilders need it first. Also, vitamin B6 performs other important functions in the body. Let us consider specifically what vitamin B6 is for, what its consumption rates are and where it can be obtained from.
The group of vitamins B was opened at the beginning of the last century, the second in a row, in connection with which it is called the second letter of the alphabet. The concept of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) includes several chemical compounds that are similar in their formula and biological activity.
Properties and functions in the body
Pyridoxine is a water-soluble substance found in many foods and also synthesized by the microflora of the large intestine. The functions of vitamin B6 in the body are very important, it is:
- participates in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters and hormones: serotonin, adrenaline, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, histamine;
- It is an important link in the synthesis and implementation of hemoglobin functions, thereby contributing to the provision of oxygen to all organs and systems;
- participates in the biochemical reactions of glucose metabolism and helps to maintain its concentration in the blood at the required level;
- takes part in lipid synthesis, reduces the level of “bad” cholesterol;
- contributes to the normal functioning of the liver;
- is an essential element of protein metabolism;
- takes part in the transport of amino acids
Value in sport
If we analyze the biological effects listed above, it becomes clear how important pyridoxine is in sports and bodybuilding:
- The participation of vitamin B6 in glucose metabolism and maintaining it at the required level, as well as in the transport of oxygen, plays an important role in increasing endurance.
- Providing pyridoxine protein metabolism and transportation of amino acids create all the necessary conditions for the restoration of muscle fibers and building muscle mass. With a deficiency of this substance, muscle growth is impossible.
- The participation of this compound in the metabolism of fats directly affects the processes of fat loss, which are also extremely important for athletes.
- The participation of pyridoxine in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones ensures the normal functioning of the nervous and mental systems, which undergo intensive workouts during intensive training.
- Normalization of the liver, provided by this substance, allows you to actively neutralize the toxicity of drugs and additives often used in sports.
With all this in mind, we can conclude that vitamin B6 is the most essential micronutrient for athletes. Its deficiency can not only negate all the efforts made in training but also have a bad effect on health.
Consequences of deficiency
Vitamin B6 hypovitaminosis most often occurs when its absorption is impaired due to diseases, as well as when taking certain drugs that reduce its activity. Due to the insufficient content of pyridoxine in food, its deficiency rarely occurs. However, if a poor diet is combined with high physical exertion, the risk of hypovitaminosis B6 increases. His symptoms are:
- reduced stamina, fatigue;
- depressed mood decreased mental performance;
- lowering hemoglobin levels;
- hair loss;
- loss of appetite;
- sleep disorders;
- pain in muscles and joints;
- inflammation of the mucous membranes (conjunctivitis, stomatitis).
In athletes, the lack of pyridoxine in addition to these symptoms also causes a lack of muscle growth, decreased endurance, and strength in training. There may also be night cramps.
Vitamin B6, which is an extreme form of hypovitaminosis, causes the following pathologies:
- seborrheic dermatitis – peeling and inflammation of the skin;
- cheilosis – peeling and cracking of the red border of the lips;
- glossitis – inflammation of the tongue;
- paresis, epileptic seizures;
- vomiting, dizziness, weakness;
- anemia and leukopenia – a decrease in blood levels of red and white blood cells.
Pyridoxine vitamin deficiency rarely develops, as a rule, it is secondary, resulting from some diseases.
The daily intake of vitamin B6 in adult men and women is 2 mg, about 10% higher in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as in the elderly. Athletes and bodybuilders who exercise intensively and consume a large amount of protein, the daily need for pyridoxine increases to 10-20 mg.
With good nutrition and the absence of heavy physical exertion in healthy people, the need for pyridoxine is satisfied by food and its synthesis in the intestine. In the presence of diseases impairing the absorption of vitamin B6 or requiring its administration for a therapeutic effect, a preparation of vitamin B6, pyridoxine hydrochloride, is prescribed. This drug is produced in the form of tablets and solution for injection.
They take pyridoxine preparations and athletes since it is simply impossible to obtain from the food that the amount of vitamin B6 that they need during a period of intense exercise. Pyridoxine hydrochloride tablets are available in a dosage of 10 mg, so for athletes a day to take 1-2 tablets.
The maximum daily dose of pyridoxine hydrochloride is 1000 mg. However, taking such large doses is useless, because the body uses a strictly defined amount of this compound, which is necessary to support the vital processes, and everything else is excreted in the urine.
Starting taking vitamin B6 tablets, you need to monitor the state of health, so as not to miss the symptoms of possible adverse reactions:
- allergic manifestations: itchy skin, rash, anaphylactic shock;
- the feeling of numbness and tightness in the arms and legs (a symptom of “gloves” and “stockings”);
- increase in acidity of gastric juice, heartburn, stomach pain;
- decrease lactation during breastfeeding.
The appearance of these symptoms requires a dose reduction or discontinuation of the drug.
With prolonged high doses of pyridoxine hydrochloride can be observed:
- the appearance or increase of side effects;
- muscle weakness, paresthesia;
- reduced immunity, leading to frequent colds;
- skin rashes, cramps, fainting.
Vitamin B6 hypervitaminosis is very rare, and its inherent disorders are reversible.
Content in products
An important source of vitamin B6 is food. To make a diet rich in this useful substance, it is necessary not only to know where vitamin B6 is contained but also to take into account that it is rapidly destroyed during heat treatment, under the action of ultraviolet rays and during oxidation. A product containing a smaller amount of pyridoxine, served fresh, may be more useful than initially rich in this vitamin, but subjected to prolonged preparation.
The greatest amount of vitamin B6 is found in nuts (pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts), seedlings and bran of grain crops, sunflower seeds, sesame, salted fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring). Also, valuable suppliers of vitamin B6 are black and red caviar, Bulgarian pepper, bananas, peanuts, almonds, fresh green peas, raw egg yolk. All these products are especially valuable because they can be eaten without heat treatment, and therefore, with the maximum preservation of vitamin B6.
A lot of pyridoxine and whole grains (wheat, rice, buckwheat, pearl-barley), beans, lentils, beef, pork, lamb, turkey, white mushrooms, potatoes. However, all these products require cooking over a fire, as a result of which the content of vitamin B6 in them is significantly reduced.
Valuable sources of vitamin B6 are also fresh vegetables and fruits. Even if the content of pyridoxine in them is not large, consuming fresh vegetable products and in a relatively large amount, it is possible to satisfy a significant part of the need for this substance.