Why we DO NOT use Vitamin B6 in our energy gum
Whenever the word vitamin appears on an ingredient list of a product, it’s directly associated with health, good for the body, and a positive impression overall. In general, it can be assumed that this also applies to most water-soluble vitamins… but not to vitamin B6.
Water-soluble vitamins have the property that, should an overdose occur, the surplus leaves the body easily and quickly. An exception to this is vitamin B6, which can lead to a number of neuropathic complaints in the event of both a deficiency and an excess.
Vitamin B6 is an important part of the daily diet. It plays a role in digestion, hormone regulation, stimulus transmission, and cell growth. It acts as a catalyst that stimulates metabolic processes and as a kind of glue that holds the whole organism together.
Due to the normal, well-balanced diet, deficiencies of vitamin B6 are very rare in Western Europe. The Nutrition Center uses a recommended daily amount of 1.5 mg per day.
Where can you find vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is found in meat (particularly chicken, veal), eggs, bread, fish (salmon, tuna), banana, nuts (particularly in pistachios), beans, vegetables (mainly in avocado, cauliflower, and spinach), raisins, and potatoes. All ingredients that occur in most people's diet, whether you eat animal products, use a keto diet, or, for example, follow a plant-based diet.
If for whatever reason, there should be a deficiency of vitamin B6, symptoms such as fatigue due to anemia, various forms of nervous disorders, and a greatly reduced resistance will come to light. However, the latter is often associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency rather than a vitamin B6 deficiency.
What does this mean?
The EFSA, the European Food Safety Institute, has set the upper limit for vitamin B intake at a maximum of 25 mg. This is especially for dietary supplements that are available over-the-counter at drugstores, online, or in vitamin stores. To get a surplus of vitamin B6, it is believed that this would only be possible by being supplemented, outside the normal diet, by all kinds of food supplements, energy-enhancing supplements, and nutritional shakes. This is one reason why we chose the ingredients caffeine, guarana, and taurine rather than the version with sucralose and vitamin B.
The amount of vitamins in a product does not mean that it is healthier for the body. Energy gum is often used by top athletes, athletes chew the energy gum to get a quick energy boost before they start a heavy training session or have an important competition. The frequent use of energy gums that contain vitamin B6 has a long-term counter effect, something you do not want as a frequent athlete and at all as a professional athlete. The result of this is that the surplus of vitamin B6 is not removed via the urine but is stored by the body and supposedly starts to accumulate.
Vitamin B6 is normally absorbed through the small intestine and is processed in the liver. Because the liver is already heavily burdened by stress, for example, but also by medicines, unhealthy additives such as added sugars in food or drinks, and alcohol, the conversion of vitamin B6 is becoming increasingly difficult, which can lead to accumulation.
This is where the problems surrounding vitamin B6 come in, a deficiency will lead to physical problems and malfunctions, but also a surplus. Something in which vitamin B6 distinguishes itself from other vitamins.
Side effects of an excess of vitamin B6 are reported by LAREB (a Dutch non-profit research organization).
Taking too much vitamin B6 for a long time can cause peripheral neuropathy. This leads to impairment of the nervous system and features such as numbness, tingling, or nerve pain in the hands and feet. This is also known as the “burning feet syndrome”. Symptoms of muscle contraction (uncontrolled) and muscle weakness may also occur.
A group that does run into this are (top) athletes who have to make extraordinary physical efforts and adjust their diet accordingly. They are often already on a high vitamin B6 intake through the diet, supplement with nutritional supplements and also use caffeine chewing gum as a pre-workout or as a quick boost to get more energy, strength, and concentration just before a training or competition. If all these extra products also contain vitamin B6, they run the risk of a surplus with associated symptoms, which are at odds with delivering top performance. The problem is that they often find out too late.
Advice from a good nutritionist or dietician is extremely important for this group and certainly also to look closely at supplements with a good vitamin B6 and, for example, an energy gum without the vitamin B6 addition.
The Vitamin Information Bureau, therefore, advises stopping immediately with extra intakes through supplementation by food supplements, energy shakes, or energy chewing gum if it contains a lot of vitamin B6, after which the complaints usually have to decrease after a few weeks to a few months. If you then stay within the bandwidth of a more balanced intake, the physical symptoms no longer occur.
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