Health and Nutrition Articles

Vitamin B6

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B6 Defense Against Disease

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. This means the body is unable to store it and a continuous supply is needed in the diet.

Vitamin B6 is naturally found in many foods and is also added to a variety of fortified foods.

It is important for helping your body make antibodies which are needed to fight a variety of diseases.

Vitamin B6 is also plays a key role in maintaining normal nerve function, maintaining healthy glucose ranges, and hemoglobin production.

Hemoglobin carries oxygen in red blood cells to body tissues. Those who are deficient in B6 can often develop a form of anemia.

Vitamin B6 breaks down proteins in the body. Those who eat high amounts of protein will need more B6.

Vitamin B6 Food Sources

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Legumes (dried beans)
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Poultry, salmon and pork
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breads and cereals

Vitamin B6 Deficiency

  • Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States. Deficiency symptoms can include:
    • Confusion
    • Depression
    • Irritability
    • Mouth and tongue sores
    • Anemia
    • People
  • People with kidney problems or who have had a kidney transplant will have more trouble absorbing B6
  • People with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and Crohn's disease have difficulty absorbing B6

Vitamin B6 Side Effects

  • When consumed in large doses, Vitamin B6 can cause
    • Difficulty coordinating movement
    • Numbness
    • Sensory changes
  • Taking high levels of B6 from supplements can cause severe nerve damage. The safe upper limits for B6 are listed below (this is the highest average daily intake level that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to general population).
  • Keep in mind your healthcare provider may have different recommendations based on your specific needs
Vitamin B6 Recommended Daily Limits
Age Daily Limit
Birth-12 months Not established
Children 1-3 years 30 mg
Children 4-8 years 40 mg
Children 9-13 years 60 mg
Teens 14-18 years 80 mg
Adults 100 mg

Vitamin B6 Interactions

  • Cycloserine: an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis. Taking this with B6 could increase nerve cell damage and worsen any seizures
  • Certain epilepsy drugs could decrease B6 levels and reduce the drugs' ability to control seizures

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Quick Facts

  • B6, or pyridoxine, helps your body make antibodies needed to fight disease
  • Vitamin B6 plays a key role in maintaining normal nerve function, healthy glucose levels, and production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to body tissues
  • B6 deficiency can lead to a form of anemia
  • Low levels of B6 can lead to poor immune function
  • People with kidney problems or autoimmune disorders can have problems absorbing B6
  • B6 is found in a range of plants and vegetables -- including cereals, beans, potatoes -- as well as tuna, salmon and pork
  • As we age, our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin-D to its active form, which increases the risk of vitamin-D deficiency
  • Signs that you are not consuming B-6 include confusion, depression, irritability, a sore tongue and ulcers inside or around your mouth