Pyridoxal-phosphate, otherwise known as pyridoxal-5-phosphate or, more commonly, P5P, is the active form of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 serves countless important functions in the body, and that means that P5P does, too.
P5P is naturally occurring, but it is often sold as a supplement. If you’ve ever looked through the vitamin and supplement section of your local grocery or health food store, you may have seen a variety of P5P pills, tabs, and capsules.
But what is P5P? Let’s look into it.
According to PubMed Health, a phosphate is simply “a form of phosphoric acid, which contains phosphorous.” Phosphorous is a mineral that can be found in many high protein foods, including beans, milk, nuts, and meat.
P5P and Vitamin B6
P5P is important because it is an essential factor in how, or if, B6 vitamins work in the body. Just a few functions that P5P is crucial for include: “various transamination, decarboxylation, glycogen hydrolysis, and synthesis pathways involving carbohydrate, sphingolipid, amino acid, heme, and neurotransmitter metabolism.”
A book published by The National Academies Press explains the cellular makeup of the B6 vitamin. Vitamin B6, it explains, “comprises a group of six related compounds: pyridoxal (PL), pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxamine (PM) and their respective 5’-phosphates (PLP, PNP, PMP).”
That’s a little wordy, but essentially, the author is saying that P5P comes in three forms: PLP, PNP, PMP. These all fall under the umbrella of P5P. The difference is where they’re sourced from.
“The major forms in animal tissue are PLP and PMP,” the book explains. “Plant-derived foods contain primarily PN and PNP, sometimes in the form of a glucoside.”
Essentially, P5P, in whatever form it takes (PLP, PNP, or PMP) is what activates Vitamin B6. So to understand the importance of P5P and what P5P is, it’s helpful to understand what Vitamin B6 does.
All B vitamins are important. They are crucial in supporting the body’s ability to convert food to energy. B vitamins are also part of the metabolism process and support healthy-looking skin, eyes, hair, and supports liver function. They also help the nervous system function properly.
Vitamin B6 is just 1 of 8 water soluble B vitamins, which each serving vital functions, either singularly, or when combined.
Importance of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a factor in some of the body’s most important functions. Vitamin B6 is required for “the production of serotonin and helps to maintain healthy immune system functions, to protect the heart from cholesterol deposits, and to prevent kidney stone formation.”
Here are just a few of Vitamin B6’s other key tasks in the body:
- It is an essential part of the immune system, the central nervous system, and the metabolic system
- It helps maintain healthy nerve and muscle cells
- It helps produce DNA and RNA
Those are some of the functions of P5P, so it holds that if someone is experiencing a Vitamin B6 deficiency, they may experience negative side effects. According to Neurology Medlink, when someone has a B6 deficiency, they may experience any of the following symptoms: dermatitis, neuropathy, confusion, and insomnia.
If you know what P5P is, then you probably know what this article concludes: not only is it the “active coenzyme form [of Vitamin B6]” but it also “has the most important in human metabolism.”
Sources of P5P
Most people do not suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin B6, as it is common in many foods. Just some of the foods you can add to your diet to increase the amount of B6 (and therefore, P5P) you are eating include proteins like chicken, turkey, tuna, lentils, and beans; dairies like milk and cheese; grains such as brown rice, bran, and wheat germ; and vegetables like spinach and carrots. Brewer’s yeast, green beans, and bananas are other sources.
P5P is also available in supplement form. You can take it as part of most multivitamins or on its own. The Natural Healthy Concepts store sells a wide variety of P5P supplements, ranging from capsules and tablets to dissolvable powders in different strengths and concentrations.
What is your favorite way to get Vitamin B6 and P5p?