Vitamin B6 holds a host of benefits. Also known as pyridoxine, the NHS says it helps form haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. It also allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in foods. It also helps to boost heart health, says Holland and Barrett, who goes on to explain symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency to look out for. It says: “Vitamin B6 is water-soluble, which means it dissolves in bodily fluids, so any amount that’s not used will be lost through urination.
“That means vitamin B6 is needed every day. Adults need 1.4mg a day to prevent a deficiency in B6. However, supplementation is available in higher doses such as 100mg.
“Signs you have a vitamin B6 deficiency can include fatigue or pernicious anaemia – which you’ll spot through symptoms such as being short of breath, foggy brained, clumsy, or having dry skin or flaky nails.”
While vitamin B6 is available in supplement form, major food sources include meat, poultry and fish.
Vegetarians and vegans can get plenty of B6 from foods like sunflower seeds, bananas, nuts and spinach.
The high street health store goes on to explain: “The main people at risk of having a vitamin B6 deficiency include the elderly, people suffering from high levels of stress, and people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“Aside from supplementation, you can also increase your intake of B6 by eating more oats, peanuts and foods containing soya, such as soya-based meat alternatives and soya milk, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.”
Another mineral the heart relies on to keep its beat strong and regular is magnesium.
It also relaxes your arteries allowing your blood to flow easily, lowering blood pressure.
A prominent ongoing heart study from the US reported in 2013 that low magnesium is associated with the development of irregular heartbeat.
Magnesium also helps fuel your muscles, build strong bones and creates energy.
But could you be at risk of a magnesium deficiency?
The mineral is naturally present in many foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna.
But if you don’t eat enough magnesium-rich foods, you may risk being deficient in the mineral.
Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan and author of The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal supplements, said: “Lack of magnesium contributes to many problems such as insomnia, fatigue, constipation, weakness, muscle trembling or cramps, numbness and tingling, loss of appetite, poor co-ordination, palpitations, raised blood pressure and poor glucose control.”
What should you do if you experience symptoms?
Dr Brewer advised: “If you experience any of these symptoms, aim to increase your magnesium intake from beans (especially soy), nuts, wholegrain, seafood, and dark green leaves.
“Chocolate and drinking water in hard-water areas are also important sources for some people.
“Magnesium supplements are widely available, or you can absorb it through your skin from magnesium bath flakes such as Healthspan Magnesium Flakes or magnesium skin oil.”