Monday, December 15, 2008

Being a banana brain just might be a good thing

Pyridoxine, a form of vitamin B6, is important for brain and nervous system function. It is needed for the chemical reactions that produce several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. A recent study found that a therapeutic dose of pyridoxine administered to mice decreased their depressive-type behaviors. The response was similar to what was seen when these mice were given imipramine (Tofranil). When the two compounds were administered together, pyridoxine did NOT increase the effectiveness of imipramine.

Bottom line? Before meds, be sure your diet is balanced in the nutrients your brain needs to properly function.

The table below is from the National Institutes of Health, and it lists your best food sources of pyridoxine.

Table of Food Sources of Vitamin B6
Food Milligrams (mg) per serving % DV*
Ready-to-eat cereal, 100% fortified, ¾ c 2.00 100
Potato, Baked, flesh and skin, 1 medium 0.70 35
Banana, raw, 1 medium 0.68 34
Garbanzo beans, canned, ½ c 0.57 30
Chicken breast, meat only, cooked, ½ breast 0.52 25
Ready-to-eat cereal, 25% fortified, ¾ c 0.50 25
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, 1 packet 0.42 20
Pork loin, lean only, cooked, 3 oz 0.42 20
Roast beef, eye of round, cooked, 3 oz 0.32 15
Trout, rainbow, cooked, 3 oz 0.29 15
Sunflower seeds, kernels, dry roasted, 1 oz 0.23 10
Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ c 0.14 8
Tomato juice, canned, 6 oz 0.20 10
Avocado, raw, sliced, ½ cup 0.20 10
Salmon, Sockeye, cooked, 3 oz 0.19 10
Tuna, canned in water, drained solids, 3 oz 0.18 10
Wheat bran, crude or unprocessed, ¼ c 0.18 10
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 Tbs. 0.15 8
Walnuts, English/Persian, 1 oz 0.15 8
Soybeans, green, boiled, drained, ½ c 0.05 2
Lima beans, frozen, cooked, drained, ½ c 0.10 6

* DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers based on the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). They were developed to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for vitamin B6 is 2.0 milligrams (mg). The percent DV (%DV) listed on the nutrition facts panel of food labels tells you what percentage of the DV is provided in one serving. Percent DVs are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Foods that provide lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.

Amara RO, Aburawi SM. Pyridoxine effect on the antidepressant action of imipramine in albino mice. Saudi Med J. 2008 Nov;29(11):1554-7.

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