Vitamin B6 deficiencies have been linked to a wide range of bothersome signs and symptoms. The average person will be able to get enough of this vitamin from food sources, such as chicken, fish, and vegetables. It is also found in some fruits and in wheat germ.
Yet some people, due to an inflammatory disease or an issue with malabsorption, may not be receiving this B vitamin in levels that are sufficient. Certain individuals may also have poor nutrition, drink an excessive amount of alcohol, or have a condition like diabetes mellitus which can cause a deficiency in B6 as well.
The vitamin B6 blood test can determine if there is a potential deficiency present. This can lead a medical provider to investigate further to see if the deficiency is caused by a more serious medical issue.
When to Ask About the Vitamin B6 Blood Test
On its own, a B6 deficiency is considered to be very rare. It is almost often seen because of lifestyle choices or through the treatment of certain conditions. Smoking is known to cause a B6 deficiency. People who have been diagnosed with asthma and take theophylline are also at an increased risk of a deficiency. If these issues are in your recent medical history, then an evaluation from a medical provider may be necessary.
You will also want to ask about the Vitamin B6 blood test if you happen to be suffering from certain neurological conditions. A deficiency in B6 is known to cause convulsions and lower the effectiveness of the immune system. People may also experience a tingling sensation in their fingers, toes, hands, or legs.
Some additional bothersome signs and symptoms may include an inflamed tongue, sores on the lips or inside the mouth, and cracking at the corners of the mouth. A skin rash may also be present and there may be frequent irritability, difficulty with memory, and bouts with depression. It is common for people suffering from a B6 deficiency to feel chronic fatigue, but also suffer from insomnia.
People with certain conditions, like Celiac disease, may be asked to undergo frequent testing to prevent malabsorption issues.
What Do My Vitamin B6 Test Results Mean?
When testing for vitamin B6, the results are going to be either normal, low, or high. Toxicity is possible when it comes to vitamin B6, but because it is so rare for toxicity to occur, testing is almost never focused on this problem. If there are high levels of this vitamin, then it may affect the nervous system and damage the liver.
Most toxicity issues related to vitamin B6 involve individuals who are taking vitamin supplements in excessive amounts.
Normal test results indicate that an individual is receiving an appropriate level of this vitamin. If bothersome signs and symptoms are being experienced, then it will be due to a different cause and additional testing may be required.
Individuals with low vitamin B6 levels indicate that there is an inadequate supply of the vitamin available for some reason. This may be due to dietary issues or malabsorption concerns. It should be noted that if an individual has a B6 deficiency, there is a good chance that multiple vitamin deficiencies are present, so additional testing may be requested.
Here’s What You Need to Know
There are times when a vitamin B6 deficiency can be diagnosed without having a blood test. Some medical providers will diagnose and treat for a deficiency with this vitamin, or the entire B-complex series, based on their own clinical findings and how an individual will respond to a treatment plan.
Because vitamins are readily available, a wait-and-see approach may be utilized to determine if taking a supplement can resolve the bothersome signs and symptoms which are being experience.
In general terms, it is also important to note that the body will use the amount of B6 that it needs, but then eliminate any excess it is given. As long as there are enough B vitamins in a person’s diet, there will be stable levels of B6 and other vitamins in the blood. Most people have an adequate level of B6 and will not require testing – only a suspected condition that limits vitamin availability will usually trigger this blood test.
For most people, taking a B6 supplement is enough to fix a deficiency. The vitamin B6 blood test can also indicate the potential presence of a more serious health condition. When that condition is treated, the deficiency will also resolve.
If you have further questions about B6 and your health, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns.