Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, (P5P), pyridoxine, and pyridoxamine):

Food Sources of Vitamin B6 include:
  • fortified cereal, barley, buckwheat;
  • avocados, baked potato with the skin;
  • beef, poultry, salmon;
  • bananas, green leafy vegetables;
  • beans, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seed kernels.
Symptoms of a B6 deficiency may include:
  • A severe deficiency of vitamin B6 may cause seizures;
  • other neurological (nervous system or brain) symptoms affecting mental health may include irritability, confusion, and/or depression;
  • the earliest signs of a B6 deficiency might be observed first in the mouth where the tongue may be swollen and painful and become smooth looking and have a bright magenta color; mouth ulcers and cracks or fissures at the corners of the mouth may also occur;
  • and a weakened immune system may occur with a deficiency of vitamin B6.
  • Three B vitamins, B6, B12 and folate, are all necessary for the breakdown of homocysteine, which at elevated levels may increase risk of heart disease. So deficiency of any one of the three B vitamins, B6, B12 and folate, may be involved with symptoms or a diagnosis of heart disease.

  • Symptoms of PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome) and symptoms of prenatal nausea and vomiting may be helped by supplemental B6 intake. This suggests a deficiency may be involved in the underlying cause of the symptoms or that an increased need for the nutrient occurs before menstruation and during pregnancy. All B vitamins are important during pregnancy as they are involved in the growth of new cells and are needed for converting sugar into usable energy.

The skin & GI tract have a rapid cell growth rate which requires energy.
B vitamins are involved in both cell growth & energy metabolism.

B vitamins work together as a group to help breakdown the sugar glucose into a usable form of energy.

Areas of the body that have a short life cycle for cells are the first areas affected by deficiency of B vitamins because new cells need energy to grow and the B vitamin group are also involved in other chemical reactions that are necessary for the growth of new cells. The lining of the intestinal tract can have a cell turnover rate of just one week and the tongue is part of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and has a similar quick rate of cell growth.

The skin at the corners of the mouth and the lips in general may also have a slightly quicker rate of cell turnover than other areas of the surface skin. Our outer skin and the lining of the GI-tract are similar and considered part of the same organ system.

“Deficiencies of niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, or vitamin B12,  resulting from poor diet or from the administration of antagonists, may cause a sore, beefy-red tongue without a coat. In the chronic vitamin deficiency state, the tongue may become atrophic and smooth.”                   – “The Tongue – Clinical Methods – NCBI bookshelf  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236/

Pyroluria:

Pyroluria may be a genetic problem that causes increased urinary loss of B6 and zinc for some people. For patients with the condition adequate amounts of the nutrient cannot be readily obtained from food sources and large dose supplements are needed on a daily basis of both vitamin B6 and the mineral zinc. The condition is generally not assessed for or treated by the current medical system as it is not easy to diagnose. Anxiety is a primary symptom, migraine headaches and reduced tolerance for stress may also be symptoms. This post of mine has links and sources for more information: https://effectiveselfcare.info/2014/09/22/pyroluria-anxiety-and-deficiency-of-b6-and-zinc

This post by a medical doctor discusses the mental health and other symptoms in more detail. Emily Dickinson and Charles Darwin had similar symptoms. Daily supplements of zinc and B6 and/or the more bioactive form, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, (P5P), can quickly restore more normal health:  http://www.judytsafrirmd.com/pyroluria-mental-health-and-the-immune-system/

Lack of dreaming at night is a symptom of pyroluria likely due to a long term deficiency of vitamin B6. Once treatment with the large dose supplements has been underway for a while it is common for patients to report remembering dreaming at night again. Whether the deficiency of B6 is causing less time to be spent at night in the stage of sleep when dreaming is more likely to occur, or whether it interferes with the ability to remember dreams the next morning, is not known.

Reference used for food sources & symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency:
Other References used for the food sources of Vitamin B6:

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Niacin

Niacin (vitamin B3, niacinamide, and nicotinic acid):

Food Sources of Niacin include:
  • nutritional yeast;
  • meats, salmon and tuna;
  • beans, green peas, peanuts, and seeds;
  • avocado, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables;
  • grains, nixtamal flour, & fortified cereals;
  • milk, coffee and tea.
Symptoms of Niacin (Vitamin B3) Deficiency:

Digestive symptoms of less severe niacin deficiency may include nausea and vomiting and may also be able to be seen visibly as an unusually bright red tongue. Several B vitamins can cause changes in the appearance of the tongue as the cells all along the digestive tract need to be replaced frequently with new cells. The B vitamins work together as a group and many are essential for the growth of new cells. See the excerpt in the reference section for other B vitamins necessary for maintaining a healthy tongue.

Headache, apathy, memory loss, disorientation, and/or depression may be neurological symptoms that occur if niacin deficiency continues long term. Fatigue may also be a symptom of niacin deficiency.

Severe niacin deficiency is called pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include skin rashes, (dermatitis), diarrhea, dementia, and eventually death if adequate niacin isn’t provided to the patient.

The condition was discovered in groups of people who lived primarily on a diet of corn or sorghum.  However the condition was not common in Mexico, in Central America, or for some groups of Native Americans. Corn in those areas was first soaked in an alkaline solution of lime or wood ash before being made into a type of flour called nixtamal.  The alkaline soaking method makes more of the grain’s niacin content available for absorption in the human digestive system.

Nixtamal flour is available to the home shopper and might be called tortilla or tamale flour. The ingredient list would include lime or wood ash if the product was made with the alkaline presoaking step.

The amino acid, tryptophan, can be converted to niacin within the body if adequate B6, folate and heme are available (an iron rich enzyme cofactor).

Background history regarding nicotinic acid, niacin, and nicotine:

Nicotinic acid and nicotine from tobacco cigarettes have similar names because they are similar chemicals but are not the same chemical and don’t have the same function within the body. This is a content marketing issue, read more – including the comments in the following link.

A summary: Nicotinic acid is a chemically reasonable name for the form of the nutrient that was initially discovered, but the similarity of the word to nicotine made people fearful when it was first added to foods and food labels as a new nutrient fortification being added to help prevent and treat pellagra. The use of a different form with a name change to “niacin” may have been a move at that time towards a form with a more commercially successful name even though it is not as descriptive of the way the chemical is formed as the name “nicotinic acid.”

Warning – non-harmful “Niacin flush” may occur with Nicotinic acid:

For some people, excessive supplementation with the nicotinic acid form of vitamin B3, but not the niacin form, may cause a temporary non-life-threatening reaction that may include symptoms of itching, a temporary flushing or reddening of the skin, nausea and vomiting. The reaction may be referred to as a “niacin flush.” A holistic practitioner describes the reaction in the following article and mentions that it usually goes away after a week of taking the supplement and that drinking some extra water during the sensation might help ease symptoms. The practitioner suggests that the reaction may be helpful for multiple sclerosis.

Niacinamide is a form of niacin that does not help reduce cholesterol

Niacin can be converted to niacinamide in the body and both forms are available as supplements which could help prevent deficiency symptoms. However niacin may also be helpful with blood lipid (fats) levels. It may help reduce elevated levels of triglycerides which can help prevent high cholesterol levels. Niacinamide is a form that does not affect blood lipid levels and wouldn’t be recommended over the niacin form if the goal is protecting cardiovascular (heart & blood vessel) health. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-924-niacin%20and%20niacinamide%20vitamin%20b3.aspx?activeingredientid=924&

B vitamins essential for health of the tongue (and Gastrointestinal tract):

Deficiency of several of the B vitamin group can cause changes in the appearance and surface texture of the tongue. B vitamins that can cause changes in the tongue are mentioned in the following excerpt and include “niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (folate/B9), and vitamin B12”:

  • “Deficiencies of niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, or vitamin B12,  resulting from poor diet or from the administration of antagonists, may cause a sore, beefy-red tongue without a coat. In the chronic vitamin deficiency state, the tongue may become atrophic and smooth.”                   – “The Tongue – Clinical Methods – NCBI bookshelf  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236/

  • See the post on Vitamin B6 for more information about how the group of B vitamins work together in energy metabolism and cell growth.
Reference used for food sources & symptoms of Niacin deficiency:
Other References used for the food sources of Niacin:

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Thiamin: people with anorexia or alcoholism are more at risk for vitamin B1 deficiency

Thiamin (also called Thiamine or vitamin B1):

Food Sources of Thiamin (vitamin B1) include:
  • fortified flour or rice, whole grains;
  • lean pork, fish, eggs;
  • nutritional yeast;
  • cantaloupe; acorn squash, asparagus, green vegetables;
  • beans, green peas, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seed kernels & other edible seeds including flax, sesame & chia.
Thiamin or vitamin B1 may have been the first vitamin to be discovered.

Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. Historically it may have been the first vitamin to be discovered.  Around 2600 BC the symptoms of thiamin deficiency were described in Chinese literature.  Thiamin deficiency, or beriberi as it was commonly called, became a more frequent problem in some communities when white flour and polished rice were first introduced.  Milling brown rice removes thiamin from the grain along with the fibrous outer layer of the grains of rice.

Symptoms of beriberi, vitamin B1/Thiamin deficiency, can include:
  • rapid ‘fluttery’ heart rate;
  • enlarged heart;
  • edema or swelling of the extremities,
  • heart and lungs leading to breathing problems and eventually congestive heart failure; burning painful feet;
  • muscle weakness and pain;
  • Wernicke encephalopathy or Korsakoff psychosis are symptoms that may occur with more severe B1 deficiencies and which can include mental changes.
Deficiency of Thiamin is rare except with severe malnourishment or increased needs:

Chronic alcoholics and anorexic or other malnourished people are more at risk for thiamin deficiency.  Malaria and HIV may increase need for thiamin due to the infected cell’s increased use of the nutrient.  Renal patients on dialysis may need extra thiamin due to increased loss. The nutrient is fairly widely available and deficiencies are not typically found in people of average health with reasonably varied diets.

Reference used for food sources & symptoms of Thiamin deficiency:
Additional Reference used for Food Sources of Thiamin:

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fortunately, Gluten free doesn’t have to mean cookie free, but gluten free cookies can be crumblier than traditional wheat flour cookies. The coconut flour and extra egg in the second recipe help to retain moisture and reduce the crumbliness somewhat. 

— and as my autoimmune health issues keep getting worse my baking skills keep stepping up to the cookie plate – see the third recipe for an egg free, butter free version that is still gluten free.

Glutamine is an amino acid that may be part of the sensitivity problem for people sensitive to wheat products but who don’t have the autoimmune condition Celiac disease/Celiac sprue. Glutamine is an amino acid that can cause actions to occur in the body, acting as a messenger chemical. Combined with excess glucose – sugar, glutamine and glucose in excess may be part of the underlying condition that promotes cancer cell growth. (Want cancer? Eat plenty of refined sugar say researchers [and glutamine too]) Eggs and egg white and wheat are considered good sources of the amino acid glutamine. (L-glutamine food sources) Egg: 0.559 grams glutamine and 1.014 grams glutamate. (glutamine content of foods derived by gene sequencing) But so is flaxmeal: 0.52 grams glutamic acid in 2 Tablespoons: (flaxmeal) The forms of amino acids are interchangeable but also may have different activities – it is complex and moderation is a good idea on National Cookie Day and any other day.

Plan ahead for National Cookie Day on December 4th and bake enough to have now and later. Cookies can be made ahead for the holidays and stored in the freezer after they are baked or as ready-to-bake cookie dough. Gluten free recipes can usually be adapted by substituting an equivalent amount of regular flour. Substituting white or whole wheat flour will work in either of the following recipes, 2 1/2 cups total flour for the first recipe and 3 to 3/14 cups for the second recipe – the corn flour is finely ground and dense compared to regular wheat flour.

The nutrient content of gluten free recipes can vary depending on the amount of flour or starch that is used. Gluten free cooking is important for people with some types of health conditions but it is not necessarily more nutritious for people of normal health and some of the products made with more starches may be less nutritious than wheat flour products. For the people with autoimmune sensitivities however it can be very important to avoid even trace amounts of gluten. the body makes autoimmune antibodies against gluten in response to encountering gluten.

It can take six months carefully following a gluten free diet before the autoimmune antibody levels decrease to normal but levels can normalize within a month on a gluten free diet for some. The person’s negative symptoms may not start feeling better immediately after they start a gluten free diet because of the circulating levels of autoimmune antibodies. The symptoms get better as the antibody levels decrease. Eating small portions or even trace amounts may cause an increase in the antibody levels again and a flair up in symptoms again. The autoimmune reaction by the body over time can cause chronic degenerative damage to the body so avoiding gluten may be helping a person have fewer symptoms on a daily basis and avoid long term damage to their body.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies – version without corn flour, 11/3/2015

Makes 48-60 cookies, bake at 350’F for approximately 20 minutes.

  • 2 sticks Butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • — mix the softened butter and sugar together and then mix in the eggs and vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • — add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  • 1 1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder – this spice works well with the flavor of buckwheat flour
  • —- add the chocolate chips after the batter is mixed well
  • 1 ten or twelve ounce package of Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips -the cookies also can be made without the chocolate chips

Form one inch balls of dough and roll them in white sugar if desired. Place about 24 per cookie sheet. Bake in the center of the oven and/or rotate the top and bottom pans after 15 minutes of baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes unitl slightly golden brown. These are not low calorie cookies but they do contain more fiber than regular white flour cookies.

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies – with corn flour

Makes 48-60 cookies, bake at 350’F for approximately 20 minutes.

  • 2 sticks Butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • — mix the softened butter and sugar together and then mix in the eggs and vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • — add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Corn Flour, (such as the Maseca brand)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder – this spice works well with the flavor of buckwheat flour
  • —- add the chocolate chips after the batter is mixed well
  • 1 ten or twelve ounce package of Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips -the cookies also can be made without the chocolate chips

Form one inch balls of dough and roll them in white sugar if desired. Place about 24 per cookie sheet. Bake in the center of the oven and/or rotate the top and bottom pans after 15 minutes of baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden brown. These are not low calorie cookies but they do contain more fiber than regular white flour cookies.

The Egg free, Butter free – don’t need a refrigerator for the ingredients Version:

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies – without egg, butter, corn or wheat flour, or other gluten containing flours (which may include oatmeal).

Makes 48 cookies, bake at 350’F for approximately 20-25 minutes.

  • 3 Tablespoons Golden Flaxmeal, ground
  • 10 Tablespoons of Boiling Hot Water, – Step 1. Combine the flaxmeal and boiling water and stir together for a few minutes until the mixture is thickened and looks a little like a watery porridge. Then add the melted coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla and apple cider vinegar, stir and set aside until later.
  • 1 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar (This is needed in the corn free version of the recipe in order to make the Baking Soda work properly as a leavening agent. Baking Powder has corn starch and it also has an acidic ingredient that Baking Soda doesn’t have.)
  • Step 2 (actually step 1 combined several actions): — add the dry ingredients to a different larger bowl and mix it together thoroughly:
  • 3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 and 1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda (*Baking Powder has corn starch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder – this spice works well with the flavor of buckwheat flour. It tastes a little like cinnamon but is not quite the same.
  • Step 3: — mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  • Step 4: — add the chocolate chips after the batter is mixed well.
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a ten or twelve ounce package of Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. This batter is greasy seeming and the chips constantly pop out of the dough so I don’t even try to add a full package. It is easiest to work with the dough when the mix is more wet than dry, more like muffin batter than a typical “cookie dough“.
  • Step 5: — Preheat oven to 350’F., and form cookies with a scoop or with a pair of metal spoons as the batter is sticky and might even work in a cookie press if there weren’t chocolate chips. Form approximately one inch size balls of dough. Place about 24 on a pre-oiled or nonstick cookie sheet.
  • Step 6: — Bake in the center of the oven and/or rotate the top and bottom pans after 15 minutes of baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  • Step 7: — Allow to cool slightly before eating and store in an airtight container once they are cool enough to no longer be emitting steam. The cookies keep for about a week or until they are all eaten, whichever happens first. They can also stored in the freezer once they are baked or as a cookie dough to be formed into cookies and baked at a later time for a treat fresh out of the oven with less work.
  • For freezer preparation — To form cookie dough into ready to cut and bake tubes of dough for the freezer, roll out a sheet of waxed paper on a clean countertop. Spritz it with a cooking spray oil and sprinkle the waxed paper with some ground flaxmeal. With oily hands put the dough on the waxed paper and form it into a long tube like log of dough about two inches thick, and then roll it up into the waxpaper. Store the paper wrapped tube in a larger plastic freezer bag or container.  A batch of cookie dough would make about two and half “tubes” of dough – the length of a square of waxpaper.  Each would make approximately one cookie sheet of cookies.

-The cookies also can be made without the chocolate chips or with other additions such as chopped nuts or dried currents or raisins.

These are not low calorie cookies but they do contain more fiber and antioxidant rich ingredients than regular white flour cookies, or gluten free cookies that are based on fiber free refined starches instead of whole grain flours.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)