This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

B6 deficiency leading to a serotonin deficiency?

This free study :

Studies on the effect of vitamin B6 on 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) formation. (WEISSBACH H, BOGDANSKI DF, REDFIELD BG, UDENFRIEND S ; J Biol Chem. 1957 Aug;227(2):617-24)

It talks about B6 and serotonin concentrations in tissue. I was surprised to see that B6 deficiency appears to be accompanied by a marked decrease in serotonin.

Is there more information on this particular topic?

asked Nov 23, 2013 by Bruno

Serotonin production requires the enzyme L-DOPA decarboxylase, which needs b6 as a cofactor.

This might be the reason why Peat says to limit B6 to 10mg/day, which is way below of what typical supplements nowadays provide.

Thanks mscott!

@nograde I once asked Peat what he thought of vitamin B6 deficiency and serotonin syndrome (didn't know of the above study at the time) - he told me B6 could steer tryptophan conversion towards niacin, implying that it could be useful.

Peat once told me that b6 would be helpful to bring down prolactin.

I used some last year, it did help with mydriasis, but the results weren't consistent. Once had a panic attack shortly after using it, implying that it wasn't very helpful.

Bruno was it Pyridoxine (instead of P5P) that caused your attack?

"Vitamin B-6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)"

I don't think it caused the attack, just saying that it didn't seem helpful for it.
Is pyridoxine bad?

When I was into orthomolecular medicine (ughz) I once took a massive dose of b6 and after an hour my vision got blurry. Could have been caused other stuff, but it was weird.

If you react badly to pyridoxine you might be at least borderline deficient in B6. The theory goes that pyridoxine (the inactive form) competes with P5P (the active form) causing a relative deficiency (and other problems). If I take only small amounts of pyridoxine it causes panic-attack like symptoms (and heavy migraine). Even dried dates, which are relatively high in pyridoxine do it. I have zero problems with P5P of which I take 20mg/day (or more, if I want to eat dates, especially now in the winter).

@nograde Interesting - I used a whole lot of RedBull last year to see if B vitamins would be at play and it did seem very helpful for mood and cognition, yet caused some other problems. I think it even worsened anxiety. Not sure what kind of B6 they put in there. Where do you get P5P from? Any brand you recommend?

@mscott That's odd. I did orthomolecular medicine too for a while :D, it wasn't fun :D!

Haha, I drank Red Bull for years too, until I recognized the debilitating effects of caffeine (adrenaline) on me. And yes, Red Bull uses pyridoxine HCL. I use some cheapo supplement (Pure Encapsulations) and dissolve it in HOT water with niacinamide, zinc (picolinate) and aspirin (250g). Then I filter the microcristalline cellulose two times with a t-shirt and let it settle for 15 minutes (the smaller cellulose particles fall to the bottom). Bruno, from what I read I think we're sitting in the same boat. Could it be, that you have some form of arthritic symptoms too? Pain in the fingers in the morning? Vertical nail ridges?

And yes also my cognition and ability to concentrate was superb on Red Bull. But that were really only the overdrive effects of adrenaline ;-)

Oh you think it's adrenaline? Caffeine doesn't necessarily do that to me, I think ...

No arthritic symptoms as far as I know. But before I dieted, I had recurrent pops in all my joints, some strange thing with my foot for a short while (swollen, looked a lot like gout), ... Nowadays it's mostly problems with jaw cartilage. Last year there was a short period where I couldn't open my mouth more than halfway, for example.
No vertical nail ridges.

What do you think of thyroid? Did you try that?

Thanks for the response!

I dont take thyroid yet. I am worried that once I start I will never be able to do without it. I have ordered Armour for my mother several times and its really tempting to try it out every time the parcel arrives. Do you take it?Did it help you? What had the most impact on your anxiety and overall well-being? Peating helped me, but I think counseling had a more profound effect for me. I was on Benzos long time ago but I must stay away from it because its psychologically so addictive since it completely eliminates all anxiety and makes me a whole different person. They, together with SSRIs clearly saved me from suicide years ago.

Still trying thyroid but T3 does change me a lot (less thinking, more feeling). NDT tends to make me more irritable, and I'm still not sure if it's that bad - I seem to be more 'down to earth'. Not sure why both cynoplus & ERFA are difficult for me. Selenium intake tends to be adequate.

Never tried benzos out of fear for the withdrawal. But I'd say general dietary changes (those are probably personal), magnesium oil, progesterone & T3 are probably the most helpful things nowadays.

What is counseling?

What's it like living with no anxiety :O?

Thank you, may I ask how much progesterone you take? I get acne at 10-15 drops/day Progest-E (on my gums). Same with pregnenolone at 50mg/day. Counseling, uh I thought that is the correct english word for "psychotherapy" :-)

How it is on Benzos without anxiety? The first time I took it I thought something along the lines "Wow, so thats life. Shit, you wasted 15 years with worrying about nothing!". Its like a huge backpack that suddenly falls off and you wonder why you were carrying that stuff around so long.

I take >10 drops nowadays. Probably should take less but it makes the world a prettier place.
How's psychotherapy, and where do you do it? I'd do that if it's worth it.

I see what you mean. Initially Peat's ideas solved so much, and I was really chill. Nowadays I'm quite irritable.

Bruno, I'm a bit baffled that you ask me where to do psychotherapy!? Where I live (Austria) its the standard treatment for depression and anxiety disorders, and it has the scientific backing as being the most efficient therapy (Together with SSRIs efficacy is 80%). I took one hour per week for one and a half years. What did it do for me? To sum it up it taught me two things: Your mind(set) plays a bigger role you might think and that childhood experiences shape you as an adult.

Let me explain:

At the tipping point of my depression I had all kind of physiological symptoms and i could not imagine that something was wrong with my psyche. For example, i was convinced that I must have cancer, a brain tumor or something serious like that which causes my symptoms. For six months I went from doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital, did all examinations you could imagine which all showed that i'm "OK". I studied the most obscure forums on the internet, started all kinds of supplements following such things like lyme disease, candida overgrowth and so on. There MUST be some kind of bug, infection or deficiency causing all my troubles. Nothing helped and eventually all this obsession led to a full breakdown with hospitalization. Within two days I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorder. I was still in denial, until a doctor came by and showed me a list of ALL the symptoms I had, almost 100% match, it was an excerpt of the official ICD catalog for mental disorders. They prescribed me SSRIs, Xanor and psychotherapy.

The therapist began every session about asking me how I feel and about situations that stressed me last week, then continued about asking about similar situations. With time I saw that my well-being is directly correlated to the number and intensity of mentally stressful situations I had past week (which I couldnt see before) AND I recognized patterns that repeat all the time be it in my private environment, at work or at the shopping center. After six months it started to get interesting because we worked through the past arriving at some time in my childhood where I identified the very same patterns and finally the causes of those stressful behavioural patterns. While in the first year I needed the therapist to correlate current events to those past experiences I slowly began to see the parallels myself. That knowledge by itself does not solve all your problems but I can now easily identify stressful situations, I know why they are stressful to ME and I can react accordingly, or completely avoid them if I want to.

As I mentioned in another thread my biggest gripe with Ray Peat was that although stress is at the center of his work he barely touches mental stressors. Other posters (rightfully) claimed, that this topic is just not his field of interest and there is already much work done by others, so he concentrates on the physiological sources of stress. For me however mental hygiene and the right mindset is at least as important as nutrition, hormonal balance, vitamin levels, estrogen, serotonin and what not. You can't separate those things anyway because they are intertwined at so many levels.

"A thought can make or break you" ;-)

... And I think I know why Peating worked for you better in the beginning. It was the same for me, because every novel promising approach propels your motivation and helps you overcome "learned helplessness". Its just like with the mice so often cited by Peat: in the forced swim test instead of just 15 minutes before drowning they can swim for hours just by SEEING another mouse that was given a chance to climb out of the water...

Wow nograde that's a nice story! And also didn't know about mouses in the forced swimming test.

I wanna try psychotherapy now :O. Not sure where to look for that though :P.

I didn't have a chance to see a psychotherapist either, so it took me like 5+ years to figure out what my "original" problems are. But watching "In Treatment" is a cheap alternative to get yourself into a self-analyzing state, imo :) It's a really cool TV show, I recommend!

Peat has suggested that just interacting with another human being is as good as psychotherapy.

I'm starting to believe that performing a function in life might be part of getting better, and you won't get to 100% just by diet.

I imagine myself currently as a cell in culture, out of the organism kept in a sugar solution... :D

Lol Elka that stuff is awesome, I love watching that.

@Kiran It definitely may be time to broaden the therapeutic scope :). In general Kasra's idea of feels tends to be helpful, but it also seems to require decent mental health to go by intuition.

"I imagine myself currently as a cell in culture, out of the organism kept in a sugar solution... :D"

hahaha, me too:)

I think a Red Bull does nothing but good things for me, especially if drank in the right context; ie, in the summer (carbs are good), when thirsty or hungry.  I wish I had a Red Bull now.

Actually, I had some serotonin syndrome symptoms last summer.
Hey nograde, which kind of pshychotherapy did you follow ? CBT ? Psychoanalysis ? I would like to know.

Also, how long did you take the SSRI and the Xanor they prescribed you on the hospital ? If that is not too much of a personal question. Were you taking them at the same time you did psychotherpay ?

Regarding your assumption that Peat neglects mental (better said mental/emotional) stressors, it's true but I think that the rationale behind that is if you have a good metabolism, you won't get stressed and you won't be affected by past traumas either.

But now that I think about it... No. We're not a FUCKING machine. I know Ray Peat doesn't think that but most of the Peat-o-sphere on the internet issues this message. That fixing the diet and a few supps will fix you. MEANING. We need MEANING in our lives. No ammount of hormones, sunlight or

This is the equivalent of having a car and spending all your time tunning, fixing, repairing and tunning the car, without ever going anywhere with it.

There's people malnourished, ill, whatever, even Nelson Mandela who lived in jaiul for 20 years, Those people can have a meaningful life, and experience LOVE and other more elevated feelings that make us humans and no machines.

Spending all of our time researching about uncoupling mithocondrias, vitamins, hormones and reading papers on pubmed because you're feeling bad in life is a vicious circle. What do you do when you hit that "magic vitamin" and feel well ? Guess it ? Go back to pubmed and read even more articles and stuff. You search for providers of exotic fruits that ship worldwide. You search for exotic substances on ebay. You're trapped. It's not about getting it perfect.

And NO. That RP quote (I can't find it now) about learning about hormones is the equivalent of a therapy. NO. That is bullshit. We are social animals. I know Ray Peat doesn't think like that but what you see on the internet about him neglects that side. Of course because he barely mentions it. It's on Mind and Tissue but in such a COMPLICATED way that we disregard it and go to the food and the supps. We need THE OTHER. Spending hours ALONE on pubmed reading about hormones won't heal our psyches/souls and ultimately bodies. Do something for the others. Do something to change the world you live in. Shut down the fucking computer and go and do that even if you have brain fog. Even if you feel cold (put two jackets). You'll discover lots of other people feel like that and still do things in life.

I see myself reflected in what I'm writing and I think other people will too.

I'm wondering how many of the health problems people have aren't somatizations of their psyche.

By the way, let me be clear, of course I think biochemical health is important. Of course food is very important. Maybe 50% ? I don't want that to sound like new age or pro psychotherapy. There's lots of bullshit in psychotherapy you've to be very careful. And of course there's serious illnesses. But please don't spend all your time repairing the motorbike. Go for a ride. Take someone with you. Lend it to your friends.

2 Answers

I found this really interesting. You all may too!

 after I went on an SSRI ‚Äì Zoloft ‚Äì my horizontal nail ridges disappeared,  and my nails got really smooth. When I was - I guess - low in serotonin and having all sorts of mood cycling, which  is also related to my hormonal ( just to run, menstrual cycle) issues, my nail ridges got pretty bad.  Zoloft also helped to regulate my period, so I suspect it somehow helps my brain produce more progesterone
answered Apr 18, 2015 by Missykay
My nails have a horizontal white deposit in them -- I've had these for as long as I can remember.  Is that what you're talking about? this is the spice
No, actual, bumpy ridges.  Everyone gets the white spots.

"Interestingly, all the vitamin B6 and tryptophan in the world appears to be of little use, if you get too little sun-exposure."

B6 helps you to make serotonin which is later converted to melatonin when you sleep.  The problem isn't B6 but interference with the getting the serotonin to convert to melatonin.  The cause is blue light and a lack of a.m. sunlight.
answered Apr 20, 2015 by raintree