Vitamin B6 supports brain function, the immune system, and the transportation of oxygen around the body. It also helps create neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Food sources include chick peas, tofu, and beef liver.
Vitamin B6 is one of eight B vitamins. This group of vitamins is important for proper cell function. They help with metabolism, creating blood cells, and keeping cells healthy.
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water. The body does not store vitamin B6 and releases any excess in 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 needs of the vitamin. It also discusses deficiency and supplements.
Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body, and it plays a role in
This vitamin is
- immune system function
- brain development during pregnancy and infancy
- creating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine
- creating hemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is
The following sections look at some effects of vitamin B6 in human health.
Vitamin B6 helps to create neurotransmitters, which are important chemical messengers in the brain. It also helps regulate energy use in the brain.
According to the
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 review study from
It also reports that taking a combination of pyridoxine and doxylamine could help with moderate symptoms.
Based on the research, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend vitamin B6 supplements as a safe, over-the-counter treatment for nausea during pregnancy.
Protection from air pollution
A study published in 2017 indicated that vitamin B6 may help to protect people against the harmful effects of air pollution by reducing the impact of pollution on the
The researchers hope their findings may lead to new measures to prevent epigenetic changes that can result from exposure to air pollution.
A number of factors will affect a person’s daily requirement for vitamin B6, because it impacts several aspects of a person’s metabolism.
According to the
|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 lactation||–||2.0 mg|
Most foods have some vitamin B6. People with a well-balanced diet do not tend to develop a deficiency. Medical conditions and certain medications can lead to a deficiency.
The following are good
- chickpeas (1 cup) provide 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
- potatoes (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
- marinara sauce
- ground beef
- cottage cheese
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 may eventually result in a B6 deficiency, as can hypothyroidism and diabetes.
Signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include:
- peripheral neuropathy with tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet
- a weakened immune system
In rare cases, vitamin B6 deficiency may lead to a pellagra-like syndrome, such as:
- seborrheic dermatitis
- inflammation of the tongue, or glossitis
- inflammation and cracking of the lips, known as cheilosis
In infants, seizures may persist even after treatment with anticonvulsants.
Some deficiencies, like peripheral neuropathy, can be lifelong.
Most people of all ages in the U.S. consume sufficient B6 and do not require supplements.
Those who are more likely to have low 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 consuming too much vitamin B6 in food.
However, evidence has shown that taking between
The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Vitamin B6 is an important vitamin for many processes in the body, including the nervous system and metabolism. The body does not store this vitamin, so people need to get some from their diets each day.
Most Americans get sufficient vitamin B6 from their diets. If not, a doctor may recommend dietary changes or taking vitamin B6 supplements.