Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6
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Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that benefits the central nervous system and metabolism. Its roles include converting food into energy and helping create neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

Vitamin B6 is one of the eight B vitamins. This group of vitamins is important for proper cell function. They help metabolism, create blood cells and keep cells healthy.

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it is water-soluble. The body does not store vitamin B6 and secretes excess in the urine, so people need to get enough vitamin B6 every day.

This article looks at the health benefits and food sources of vitamin B6, along with a person’s daily vitamin needs. It also discusses deficiencies and supplements.

Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body and plays a role in more than 100 enzyme reactions. One of its main roles is to help the body metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for energy.

This vitamin is also related to:

  • Immune system function
  • Brain development during pregnancy and infancy
  • Creating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine
  • Creating hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying part of red blood cells.

Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in the United States. Most people get enough from their diet.

The following sections look at some of the effects of vitamin B6 on human health.

Brain Function

Vitamin B6 helps create neurotransmitters, which are important chemical messengers in the brain. It also helps regulate energy use in the brain.

Some research suggests vitamin B6 deficiency, cognitive decline and dementia.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, research has suggested that older adults with higher vitamin B6 levels have better memory.

However, there is little evidence to suggest that taking vitamin B6 supplements improves cognition or mood in people with or without dementia.

Nausea During Pregnancy

A 2016 review study reports that taking pyridoxine can help mild symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy compared to a placebo.

He also reports that taking the combination of pyridoxine and doxylamine can help with moderate symptoms.

Based on research, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends vitamin B6 supplements as a safe, over-the-counter treatment for nausea during pregnancy.

Protection From Air Pollution

A study published in 2017 showed that vitamin B6 can help protect people against the harmful effects of air pollution by reducing the impact of pollution on the epigenome.

The researchers hope their findings could lead to new measures to prevent epigenetic changes that could result from exposure to air pollution.

The World Health Organization reported that in 2016, 91% of the world’s population lived in places where official air quality guidelines were not met.

How much vitamin B6 should I take each day?

A number of factors will affect a person’s daily need for vitamin B6 as it affects various aspects of a person’s metabolism.

According to the ODS, recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin B6:

Age - Male - Female

  • 0-6 months 0.1 mg 0.1 mg
  • 7-12 months 0.3 mg 0.3 mg
  • 1-3 years 0.5 mg 0.5 mg
  • 4-8 years 0.6 mg 0.6 mg
  • 9–13 years 1.0 mg 1.0 mg
  • 14–18 years 1.3 mg 1.2 mg
  • 19–50 years 1.3 mg 1.3 mg
  • 51+ years 1.7 mg 1.5 mg
  • During pregnancy – 1.9 mg
  • During breastfeeding – 2.0 mg

Vitamin B6 food sources

Most foods contain some vitamin B6. Deficiencies are not seen in people with a balanced diet. Medical conditions and some medications can cause a deficiency.

The following are good sources of vitamin B6:

  • chickpea (1 cup) provides 1.1 milligrams (mg) or 65% of the daily value (DV)
  • beef liver (3 ounces) provides 0.9 mg or 53% DV
  • yellowfin tuna (3 oz) provides 0.9 mg or 53% DV
  • roasted chicken breast (3 oz) provides 0.5 mg or 29% DV
  • potato (1 cup) provides 0.4 mg or 25% DV
  • banana (medium) provides 0.4 mg or 25% DV
  • tofu (half a cup) provides 0.1 mg or 6% DV
  • nuts (1 oz) provide 0.1 mg or 6% DV

Other sources of B6 include:

  • Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals
  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ground beef
  • Waffles
  • Bulgur
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pumpkin
  • Rice
  • Raisins
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon

B6 deficiency

Deficiencies are rare in the US, but can develop if a person has poor gut absorption or is taking estrogen, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants or some other medications.

Many deficiencies in vitamin B6 are associated with low levels of other B vitamins such as vitamin B12 and folate.

Long-term excessive alcohol consumption, like hypothyroidism and diabetes, can eventually lead to B6 deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy with tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet
  • Anemia
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Confusion, confusion
  • A weakened immune system

In rare cases, vitamin B6 deficiency can cause a pellagra-like syndrome, such as:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Inflammation of the tongue or glossitis
  • Inflammation and chapped lips known as cheilosis

In infants, seizures may continue even after treatment with anticonvulsants.

Some deficiencies, such as peripheral neuropathy, can last a lifetime

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