What is Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P)
Pyridoxal 5 phosphate (P5P) is the active form of vitamin B6, a water-soluble and essential vitamin. P5P plays a key role in metabolizing fatty acids and macronutrients, and it catalyzes more than 140 enzyme reactions. The body also uses P5P to synthesize neurotransmitters, amino acids, and glucose (the main energy source for the brain).
What Does Vitamin B6 Do?
Like all B vitamins, B6 plays a role in energy production. Vitamin B6 is also essential for red blood formation, as it supports hemoglobin synthesis and enhances the red blood cells’ oxygen-carrying capacity. Insufficient B6 can inhibit red blood cell production to the point of anemia. The body also uses P5P to bolster the immune system.
What Are the Symptoms of a Vitamin B6 Deficiency?
Individuals with disorders that affect digestive nutrient absorption (e.g., celiac disease), kidney function, or liver health are at increased risk of a vitamin B6 deficiency. Pregnancy, autoimmune diseases, alcohol misuse, obesity, and smoking can also contribute to a B6 deficiency. Common symptoms of insufficient B6 include:
- Peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as pins and needles sensations, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet
- Seborrheic dermatitis on the face and neck, often presenting as an oily and flaky rash
- Glossitis (a smooth, inflamed tongue)
- Cheilosis (cracks at the corners of the mouth)
- High homocysteine levels
- Frequent sickness and infections
Potential Vitamin B6 Benefits
P5P for Energy
P5P helps generate energy by metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (macronutrients). It’s also a coenzyme for glycogen phosphorylase, which facilitates the release of stored glucose for energy. P5P can also produce glucose from amino acids in the absence of carbohydrates.
P5P for Mood
Vitamin B6 is an important element of regulating mood. It’s a necessary component to synthesizing several mood regulating neurotransmitters, including dopamine, epinephrine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), norepinephrine, and serotonin. It can also lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid linked to poor moods and mood disorders. Individuals are also much more likely to struggle with low moods if their B6 is low.
P5P for Morning Sickness and Nausea
Many individuals take vitamin B6 for morning sickness and nausea. Numerous studies confirm that vitamin B6 can relieve symptoms of morning sickness, and other studies show its effective for reducing nausea due to causes other than pregnancy. While some nausea is normal during pregnancy, severe morning sickness can lead to dangerous dehydration levels. Vitamin B6 provides rapid relief for morning sickness, with one study reporting nausea relief within five days and another within four. Vitamin B6 is recognized as safe during pregnancy due to its extensive research.
P5P and Heart Health
Vitamin B6 can lower homocysteine levels, which may support heart health. Excessive homocysteine contributes to several heart health complications, including heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Low B6 increases the risk of heart disease by almost two-fold, and it may increase cholesterol.
P5P for PMS
Vitamin B6 may improve several PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 may alleviate the emotional elements of PMS, as it helps synthesize several mood-regulating neurotransmitters mentioned above. It may improve symptoms like irritability, fatigue, and nervousness.
Potential Vitamin B6 Side Effects
As a water-soluble vitamin, the body usually excretes any excess vitamin B6 without any side effects. However, taking high doses in excess of 1g for long intervals can cause neurological side effects and may damage nerves.