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P5P - What Is It Good For?

P5P - What Is It Good For?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess you don't have extensive knowledge of P5P. However, if you've got a firm grasp on its benefits for the body, then you can safely ignore this e-mail altogether. 

Truth is, you probably don't even have a clue what it is even though you're probably quite familiar with its other name.

Well, as you know, I'm not going to keep you in suspense for very long...or am I?

P5P, or pyridoxal-5-phosphate, is the active form of vitamin B6. This simply means it's the form of vitamin B6 your body needs to perform at its absolute best. Without P5P, you're going to be a pretty sorry bump on a log.

P5P deficiencies present a host of problematic issues. And, since I don't want you to have to deal with problematic health issues, I'm going to go through the very difficult and laborious task of telling you what P5P does and why you need to make sure you're getting/making enough of it, (that's obviously a joke because the explanation is simple).

Here's Where P5P Comes From And What You Should Know About It

Like most vitamins, vitamin B6 is found in the foods we eat. It's most commonly found in fish, beef liver and other organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (just not citrus).

As it appears in nature (and in many dietary supplements), B6 is typically found in one of three forms:

  • pyridoxine hydrochloride
  • pyridoxal
  • pyridoxamine

But, as I mentioned above, none of those are the active form your body needs. What happens is, when you ingest one of these forms of B6, your liver metabolizes them into P5P.

And, for the most part, healthy livers do a fine job of ensuring these three forms of B6 are converted into P5P.

However, low conversion rates (from the inactive to the active form of vitamin B6) have been reported, especially in people with impaired liver function, in those with celiac’s disease, in older adults, and in children with autism .

These individuals could experience difficulties converting regular forms of B6 into P5P.

And here's the part where I tell you about the bad news concerning a lack of P5P.

Here's What Happens When You Don't Get Enough P5P

Vitamin B6 as P5P is a coenzyme.

Unclear on what "P5P as a coenzyme" means, or what coenzymes do?

No problem, I'll allow Terry Lemerond, one of the foremost experts on dietary supplements, explain their function:

Enzymes are substances that speed up reactions. They do this to help our body perform a task, which can be anything from digesting food to keeping our liver functioning properly. A coenzyme is a molecule that works with the enzyme to aid it in carrying out its job.

Without the coenzyme, the enzyme would be useless.

As a coenzyme, vitamin B6 assists in an amazing variety of tasks – the creation of heme, the iron-containing component of red blood cells; making the hormone serotonin (the “feel good” hormone); processing carbohydrates for energy; keeping the nervous system working smoothly, and supporting hundreds of other jobs.

As you can see, B6 is one of those nutrients it really pays to have an abundance of.

Of course, if you don't get enough B6 (or your body isn't converting it into P5P), it can cause some issues that you'd like to avoid.

Without B6, it's possible to experience any number of health problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dermatitis
  • Loss of appetite
  • General weakness
  • Water retention

And much more. 

Perhaps one of the most important observed benefits provided by P5P in the body is its ability to prevent proteins and lipids from succumbing to glycation.

Glycation arises when simple sugars react with proteins to generate protein “cross-links.” These cross-linked proteins are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Cataract development in the lens of the eye, a drop in kidney function,damage to the delicate endothelial cell layer of our blood vessels, and an unsightly sagging and wrinkling of our skin are all examples of glycation.

While I won't come right out and say P5P is "anti-aging," there is significant support to show it does combat the effects of aging at the cellular level.

And, considering how much stress our cells are subjected to (often due to diet and environmental factors), it makes a lot of sense that you'd want to maintain proper P5P levels to avoid the negative health consequences associated with cellular aging.

Another thing P5P is quite useful for is helping enhance the methylation process. As I explained recently in an article about vitamin B12, problems related to under-methylation are some of the most pervasive problems Westerners face.
On a minute-by-minute basis, methylation should be happening throughout the body trillions of times over (because you have billions and billions of cells performing this process by the second).

When methylation doesn't take place, it means damaged DNA will remain damaged (because methylation helps in DNA repair), and dangerous homocysteine will rise in the body.

P5P/B6 helps people who methylate properly, as well as helps people who don't methylate properly, by helping the body convert homocysteine to cysteine.

Regardless if an individual under-methylates or not, if P5P/B6 is lacking, then the methylation process will be impeded. 

This is one of the leading reasons we recommend P5P supplementation to patients, as the pivotal role it plays as a cofactor for methylation helps enhance health.

How Do You Know If You Should Take P5P Or Not?

The first thing I'll say is this, not everyone needs P5P.

If your diet is high in natural, non-processed food groups that are known to carry any of the three forms of B6 (listed above), then P5P supplementation is likely not necessary.

If, on the other hand, you know your body would have issues with B6 conversion (like if you have autism, impaired liver function, or celiac's/leaky gut), you would likely benefit from P5P.

However, if you're going to supplement with P5P, I'd recommend a consultation with your physician first.

This is because it is possible to overdose on P5P/B6, and the consequences are ones you want to avoid.

The desired limit for P5P supplementation is around 100 mg per day.

One other note worth mentioning: as I wrote before, P5P is a cofactor/coenzyme for hundreds of processes in the body. Well, it also has a unique relationship with another essential cofactor for great health: magnesium.

Thus, if you're taking P5P, do everything in your power to make sure your magnesium levels are adequate as well. 

Since I always stress how important magnesium is, I assume you already have some. If not, click here to get our recommended version.

As for P5P, Life Extension offers a great formulation we trust. You can get that here or by clicking on the picture below.


Talk soon,

Dr. Wiggy

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