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What Does Vitamin B 6 Do

What Foods Are High In Vitamin B6 And B12

What does vitamin B6 do? Why do I need vitamin B6?


what foods are high in vitamin b6?

Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods, including:

  • pork.
  • poultry, such as chicken or turkey.
  • fish.
  • wholegrain cereals, such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice.
  • eggs.
  • vegetables.
  • soya beans.

what is vitamin b12 and b6?B vitaminsvitaminsvitamin B6vitamin B12

Linus Pauling Institute Recommendation

The Linus Pauling Institute supports the RDA for vitamin B6. LPI recommends that all adults take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement, which usually contains at least 2 mg of vitamin B6. This amount is slightly above the RDA but still 50 times lower than the tolerable upper intake level set by the Food and Nutrition Board .

Older adults

Early metabolic studies have indicated that the requirement for vitamin B6 in older adults is approximately 2 mg daily . Yet, the analysis of the US population survey 2003-2004 showed that adequate vitamin B6 status and low homocysteine levels were associated with total vitamin B6 intakes equal to and above 3 mg/day in people aged 65 years and older . The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that older adults take a multivitamin/mineral supplement, which provides at least 2.0 mg of vitamin B6 daily.

Vitamin B6 May Treat Seizures In Newborns

Children diagnosed with pyridoxinedependent epilepsy require between 15 to 500 mg of vitamin B6 a day for life. PDE is a rare, genetic condition that occurs within a few days of being born and is characterized by difficult-to-control seizures. But vitamin B6 can help control the condition.

Pyridoxinedependent epilepsy is rare with only 200 cases reported, and occurs within a few days of being born. It is caused by a mutation in the gene ALDH7A1.

When treated intravenously with 50-100 mg of vitamin B6 also known as pyridoxine the seizures dissipated within minutes. Children diagnosed with PDE receive 15 to 30mg of vitamin B6 a day for life, but may sometimes require up to 500 mg.

A person with these seizures is vitamin B6 dependent, requiring the nutrient in order to keep the condition at bay as traditional anticonvulsants do not work.

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May Be Useful In Treating Symptoms Of Pms

Vitamin B6 has been used to treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, including anxiety, depression and irritability.

Researchers suspect that B6 helps with emotional symptoms related to PMS due to its role in creating neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

A three-month study in over 60 premenopausal women found that taking 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily improved PMS symptoms of depression, irritability and tiredness by 69% .

However, women who received a placebo also reported improved PMS symptoms, which suggests that the effectiveness of the vitamin B6 supplement may have been due in part to a placebo effect .

Another small study found that 50 mg of vitamin B6 along with 200 mg of magnesium per day significantly reduced PMS symptoms, including mood swings, irritability and anxiety, over the course of one menstrual cycle .

While these results are promising, theyre limited by small sample size and short duration. More research on the safety and effectiveness of vitamin B6 in improving PMS symptoms is needed before recommendations can be made .

Summary Some research has indicated that high doses of vitamin B6 may be effective at decreasing anxiety and other mood issues associated with PMS due to its role in creating neurotransmitters.

Functions Of Vitamin B: What Does Vitamin B6 Do In The Body

What Is Vitamin B6, and What Does It Do?

Vitamin B6 is needed for healthy nervous and psychological function, helping to support the neurons transmitting messages around the brain.7

Its critical for releasing energy from our food it helps our bodies keep blood glucose levels steady, and is needed by more than 100 enzymes that process the proteins, carbohydrates and fat we eat.8,9

Vitamin B6 also helps make haemoglobin, used by red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body and supports healthy immune function.10

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May Improve Mood And Reduce Symptoms Of Depression

Vitamin B6 plays an important role in mood regulation.

This is partly because this vitamin is necessary for creating neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid .

Vitamin B6 may also play a role in decreasing high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which have been linked to depression and other psychiatric issues .

Several studies have shown that depressive symptoms are associated with low blood levels and intakes of vitamin B6, especially in older adults who are at high risk for B vitamin deficiency .

One study in 250 older adults found that deficient blood levels of vitamin B6 doubled the likelihood of depression (

12 ).

A controlled two-year study in approximately 300 older men who did not have depression at the start found that those taking a supplement with B6, folate and B12 were not less likely to have depressive symptoms compared to the placebo group .

Summary Low levels of vitamin B6 in older adults have been linked to depression, but research has not shown that B6 is an effective treatment for mood disorders.

How Much B6 Should You Take A Day

A vitamin B-6 deficiency is usually coupled with deficiency in other B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B-12. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-6 for adults 50 and younger is 1.3 milligrams. After age 50, the recommended daily amount is 1.5 milligrams for women and 1.7 milligrams for men.

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How Much Vitamin B6 You Need Changes With Age

Its important to know that vitamin B6 are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water and other bodily fluids, so any amount of these nutrients that your body doesnt use gets excreted in urine, Angelone explains. That means vitamin B6 is needed every day since the body cant store water-soluble vitamins.

The exact amount of B6 vitamin you need every day depends on your age, gender, and any special circumstances, such as whether youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Here is an overview of how much B6 vitamin people need at different stages of life:

Needed For Maintaining Proper Energy Levels

What Is Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)?

Riboflavin is considered a vital component of mitochondrial energy. Vitamin B2 is used by the body to metabolize food for energy and to maintain proper brain, nerve, digestive and hormone function. This is why riboflavin is very important for growth and bodily repair. Without high enough levels of riboflavin, riboflavin deficiency occurs, and the molecules found in carbohydrate, fat and protein foods are not able to be properly digested and used for fuel that keeps the body running. This type of bodily fuel is called ATP , often called the currency of life. The predominant role of mitochondria is the production of ATP.

Vitamin B2 is needed in order to break down proteins into amino acids, fats and carbohydrates in the form of glucose. This helps convert nutrients from food into usable bodily energy that helps maintain a healthy metabolism.

Riboflavin is also needed to regulate proper thyroid activity and adrenal function. A riboflavin deficiency can increase the odds of thyroid disease. It also is useful in calming the nervous system, battling chronic stress, and regulating hormones that control appetite, energy, mood, temperature and more.

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May Promote Brain Health And Reduce Alzheimers Risk

Vitamin B6 may play a role in improving brain function and preventing Alzheimers disease, but the research is conflicting.

On the one hand, B6 can decrease high homocysteine blood levels that may increase the risk of Alzheimers .

One study in 156 adults with high homocysteine levels and mild cognitive impairment found that taking high doses of B6, B12 and folate decreased homocysteine and reduced wasting in some regions of the brain that are vulnerable to Alzheimers .

However, its unclear if a decrease in homocysteine translates to improvements in brain function or a slower rate of cognitive impairment.

A randomized controlled trial in over 400 adults with mild to moderate Alzheimers found that high doses of B6, B12 and folate decreased homocysteine levels but did not slow decline in brain function compared to a placebo .

In addition, a review of 19 studies concluded that supplementing with B6, B12 and folate alone or in combination did not improve brain function or reduce the risk of Alzheimers .

More research that looks at the effect of vitamin B6 alone on homocysteine levels and brain function is needed to better understand the role of this vitamin in improving brain health.

Summary Vitamin B6 may prevent a decline in brain function by decreasing homocysteine levels that have been associated with Alzheimers disease and memory impairments. However, studies have not proven the effectiveness of B6 in improving brain health.

Are Vitamin B6 Supplements Safe

Vitamin B6 is considered safe at doses of 100mg or less a day for adults, which includes the amount from food and supplements. For children, the NIH reports upper limits between 30 – 80mg based on age. Supplementing with doses above the upper limit should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.

B6 or P-5-P is one of the few water-soluble supplements that can result in toxicity when taken at too high a dose. However, most cases of toxicity that have been documented occurred in the setting of long-term use with very high doses, typically 1000mg a day or more. It is not possible to get toxic levels from food sources alone. The most common side-effects of toxic levels of B6 are sensory neuropathy and impaired balance or coordination.

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How Much Folate Do I Need

Adults need 200 micrograms of folate a day. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram . The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g .

There are no long-term stores in the body, so you need to eat folate-containing foods frequently.

Most people should be able to get the amount of folate they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

How Much Vitamin B12 Do I Need

Vitamine: What Does Vitamin B6 Do For The Body

Adults need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.

If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.

But as vitamin B12 is not found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it.

Read about the vegan diet for nutrition information and advice.

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Good Sources Of Vitamin B6

Excellent food sources that serve up the vitamin B6 you need include chickpeas, beef, poultry, and fish. Other foods that are high in B6 are whole grains, fortified cereals, nuts, beans, bananas, and potatoes.

Vitamin B6 is usually included in multivitamins and sold as an individual supplement it may be listed as pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine hydrochloride, or pyridoxal-5-phosphate. Check with your doctor before taking a supplement and note that NIH recommendations suggest limiting B6 to 100 mg or less for adults.

Excessive Folic Acid Intake

Although folic acid is generally considered non-toxic, excessive intakes above 1,000 mcg per day over a period of time can lead to malaise, irritability and intestinal dysfunction. The main risk with excessive folate intake is that it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, so its best to consume these two vitamins within the recommended amounts.

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Symptoms And Signs Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency And Dependency

Vitamin B6 deficiency causes peripheral neuropathy and a pellagra-like syndrome, with seborrheic dermatitis, glossitis, and cheilosis, and, in adults, can cause depression, confusion, electroencephalogram abnormalities, and seizures.

Rarely, deficiency or dependency causes seizures in infants. Seizures, particularly in infants, may be refractory to treatment with antiseizure drugs.

Normocytic, microcytic, or sideroblastic anemia can also develop.

Uses In Traditional Medicine

Vitamin B6 Benefits

Many vitamin B6-rich foods have long been used in traditional medicine for their powerful effects on health and wellness. While these foods contain a wealth of other micronutrients and health-promoting properties that makes them especially beneficial for use in holistic medicine, their vitamin B6 content undoubtedly contributes to many of their favorable effects on health.

Grass-fed beef, for example, is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin B6 and is believed to strengthen the blood and enhance red blood cell production according to Ayurveda. Its also thought to relax the mind, satisfy the stomach and improve liver function.

Similarly, pistachios are another vitamin B6-rich food that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote spleen health. They also help support the liver, heart and gallbladder and are thought to treat conditions like jaundice, which is caused by excess levels of a yellow pigment called bilirubin.

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Pyridoxine Or B6 Supplements

Between 28 and 36% of people in the United States take vitamin supplements consisting pyridoxine. Supplements are accessible in capsule or tablet form.

Most people of all ages in the U.S. take sufficient B6 and do not require supplements.

Those who are more likely to have less levels of B6 include:

  • people who drink excess alcohol
  • people with obesity
  • people who are pregnant or breastfeeding

There is no evidence of any adverse effect from taking too much vitamin B6 in food.

However, evidence has shown that taking between 1 and 6 grams of oral pyridoxine a day for 12 to 40 months can be linked with severe, progressive sensory neuropathy and a loss of control of body movement.

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that greater nutrients should come from foods. They encourage consumption of a balanced diet with nutrient-dense foods and plenty of dietary fiber.

Potential Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin B6

Getting too much vitamin B6 from supplements can cause negative side effects.

Vitamin B6 toxicity is not likely to occur from food sources of B6. It would be nearly impossible to consume the amount in supplements from diet alone.

Taking more than 1,000 mg of supplemental B6 a day may cause nerve damage and pain or numbness in the hands or feet. Some of these side effects have even been documented after just 100300 mg of B6 per day .

For these reasons, the tolerable upper limit of vitamin B6 is 100 mg per day for adults .

The amount of B6 used to manage certain health conditions rarely exceeds this amount. If youre interested in taking more than the tolerable upper limit, consult your doctor.

Summary Too much vitamin B6 from supplements can cause damage to nerves and extremities over time. If youre interested in taking a B6 supplement, speak to your healthcare provider about safety and dosage.

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The Health And Brain Benefits Of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is important for heart health, the digestive tract, muscular function, energy, and a whole lot of other bodily processes, too.

Our bodies use B vitamins to convert the food we eat into the energy we need to function. Together the complex of eight B vitamins are important for metabolism, brain and liver function, growth, and building blood cells, as well as for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and vision.

More specifically, vitamin B6 one of the eight plays key roles in keeping the brain and nervous system functioning properly, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vitamin B6 is involved in production of hemoglobin, the protein in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Vitamin B6 is also needed for proper brain development and function . It helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine . Vitamin B6 also helps the body make melatonin, which is important in helping regulate your internal clock and your sleep.

Foods High In Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6

Your body isnt able to store very much B6. To avoid deficiency, you need to consume it on a regular basis.

This is generally not hard to do, as B6 is widely found in many animal and plant foods. In addition, its often added to fortified foods like breakfast cereals and nutrition bars.

The reference daily intake for vitamin B6 for non-pregnant adults is 1.7 mg .

Here are some of the top foods that naturally supply B6, as well as common serving sizes :


27 ).

Nerve problems from B6 deficiency are reversible with adequate B6 intake. On the other hand, nerve problems from B6 toxicity may be more difficult to treat.

Summary Burning, shooting pains in your limbs, hands and feet can be caused by nerve damage from B6 deficiency or overdose.

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Produces Red Blood Cells

Some B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, play an essential role in red blood cell formation. Healthy red blood cells are needed to transport oxygen to every part of the body. When there is a vitamin B12 deficiency, the body cannot produce enough red blood cells and anemia can occur.

Vitamin B2 is also needed for red blood cell production and growth, as is vitamin B9. While vitamin B5 plays a role in red blood cell production, it also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by the body. And vitamin B6, which is required for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the body, aids in the formation of hemoglobin, which also allows red blood cells to carry oxygen through the blood.

B vitamins involved: B2, B5, B6, B9, B12

What Foods Have Vitamin B6

Given the importance of B6 in managing stress, its fortunately abundant in many foods. Most people can get sufficient amounts from their diet if they eat poultry, fish, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruits.

Vegetarians were originally thought to be at risk for low levels of B6, as plant-based foods typically contain a less bioavailable form of B6. However, a 2021 study found that vegetarians had similar levels of B6 as those who consumed animal products.

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