Written by Ben Carlisle
Last updated on: Sep 18, 2022
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Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate (P5P or PLP) is a supplement found to have numerous benefits due to its role in various bodily functions. But what is P5P, and what scientific evidence is out there to support the claims of these many benefits that it has to offer?
P5P (or PLP) is an enzyme that plays an active role in more than 100 biological functions, such as muscle growth and processing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Taking P5P supplements bypasses your liver’s conversion of VitaminB6 into P5P – something which some people’s bodies struggle to do.
And, if P5P is an enzyme derived from Vitamin B6, why is it necessary to take P5P supplements? And how does it benefit your physical and mental functions? This article will explain the science behind P5P and why it may be a useful supplement for you.
Pyridoxal Phosphate is an active or coenzyme form of Vitamin B6 comprised of the compounds pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxine. P5P plays a role in fulfilling several bodily functions such as muscle growth and repair, energy metabolism, and several neurotransmitter functions.
Among more than 100 biological functions that P5P plays an important role in carrying out are processing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and producing chemical transmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
P5P is the coenzyme derived from Vitamin B6, which is responsible for functions like energy production and amino acid metabolism. However, the liver has to convert Vitamin B6 into P5P, which can be difficult for some individuals that struggle to break it down.
Therefore, P5P supplements can bypass the liver’s function of breaking Vitamin B6 down. Therefore, P5P supplements are more easily absorbed, but there isn’t sufficient evidence to support this.
However, some research suggests that P5P cannot effectively counter Vitamin B6 deficiencies. The three organic compounds (pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxine), and pyridoxine, in particular, have been found to inhibit active pyridoxal-5'-phosphate.
Vitamin B6 plays a role in protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism, along with neurotransmitter production and the formation of nicotinic acid.
This plays a role in maintaining your nervous system, skin, muscles, and blood. It also regulates amino acids through its role in protein metabolism, while it plays a critical role in producing a variety of hormones.
And, while a severe Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare, marginal deficiencies can be common and is also closely associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you’re concerned about suffering from a Vitamin B6 deficiency, several symptoms may occur. These symptoms include unexplained fatigue, depression, irritability, dermatitis, water retention, cracked lips, poor appetite, and weakness.
However, some of these symptoms may not present for years in cases of mild deficiency.
As the active form of Vitamin B6, P5P benefits various bodily functions, such as the metabolism of amino acids, controlling blood glucose, creatine hemoglobin, supporting the immune system, and enhancing antioxidant defense.
P5P plays an important role in energy metabolism, and those who suffer from Vitamin B6 deficiencies can experience fatigue. P5P supplements, as an active form of Vitamin B6, can raise Vitamin B6 levels.
Insufficient levels of Vitamin B6 can theoretically lead to depression due to its role as a cofactor in the tryptophan-serotonin pathway , and research suggests that low levels of plasma PLP/P5P are associated with the symptoms of depression.
However, whether Vitamin B6 or P5P supplements can treat depression remains to be seen, and further research is required.
It has also been demonstrated that Vitamin B6 plays an important role in synthesizing various neurotransmitters, such as GABA. This indicates that Vitamin B6 supplements could enhance neurotransmitters.
However, the study focuses on B6 supplementation and not P5P supplements, but it is reasonable to predict that P5P could have similar effects. However, research into P5P, specifically, is required.
Another study  found that physiological levels of P5P will interact with glucocorticoid receptors to down-regulate their activity. And, therefore, the amplifying tissue in P5P, pyridoxine, can have a favorable impact on dysphoric mental states.
There is also evidence that chronic dysphoria, particularly when accompanied by hopelessness or cynicism, has a profound negative impact on morbidity and mortality from a wide range of disorders. High intakes of pyridoxine may potentially improve prognosis in many individuals.
Research has found that low levels of Vitamin B6 and low plasma concentrations of P5P correlate with inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes. Inflammation and cardiovascular issues are inversely associated with plasma P5P concentrations, while Vitamin B6 deficiency is also associated with inflammation and coronary artery disease.
P5P is an active form and coenzyme of Vitamin B6, which has benefits energy levels and mental health. It also plays a major role in several other bodily functions improves muscle growth and repair, among other physiological benefits. However, more research is required to examine the effects of P5P and absorption in individuals with Vitamin B6 deficiencies.