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Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Recommended daily allowance: 2 mg (milligrams)

Symptoms of deficiency: Memory impairment, weakness, insomnia, poor coordination when walking, skin lesions, discoloration of tongue, muscle twitching.

Benefits: Helps brain function normally. Maintains chemical balance among body fluids. Treats some forms of anemia. Helps in energy production. Aids stress relief. May relieve morning sickness and other nausea. May prevent tooth decay and may lower blood cholesterol.

Good food sources: Bananas, avocados, meat, brewer's yeast, eggs, whole grains, soybeans, walnuts, peanuts.

Cautions: Consult doctor before taking more than 100 mg daily.

Substance interactions: Avoid B6 supplements if undergoing levodopa therapy for Parkinson's disease. These medications increase the excretion of B6, thereby causing anemia or peripheral neuritis: chloramphenicol, cycloserine, ethionamide, hydralazine, isoniazid, penicillamine, and immuno-suppressants.

Signs of toxicity: Mega doses lead to nerve disorders, including loss of neuromotor coordination and muscle weakness. Oversensitivity to sunlight, which produces a skin rash and numbness.

* Doses of 100 mg help relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, PMS, and possibly depression and arthritis.

* Must take for at least 6 weeks to receive benefit.

* Vital in the metabolism processes. B6 deficiencies in diabetics has been linked to glucose intolerance, which is an abnormally high rise in blood sugar after eating.

* Shortages can lead to nerve damage in the hands and feet. Diabetics experience less of disease-caused nerve damage when taking B6 and B12 supplements.

* May be helpful in the treatment of asthma by lowering the body's histamine levels.

* Those who should take supplements: People over 55. Pregnant or breast- feeding mothers. Those who abuse alcohol and drugs. Dieters. People under stress or recovering from surgery, illness, injuries, or burns. Women taking oral contraceptives or estrogen, smokers.

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