Vitamin B6 is present naturally in many foods.
Functions of Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 is needed by the body in metabolism i.e., more than one hundred enzymatic reactions. During pregnancy and infancy, vitamin B6 is involved in immune functions and brain development.
Vitamin B6 needed by the body:
Vitamin B6 required by the body depends on age. The amount of vitamin B6 required daily is given below in mg:
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||0.1 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||0.3 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||0.5 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||0.6 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||1.0 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (boys)||1.3 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (girls)||1.2 mg|
|Adults 19–50 years||1.3 mg|
|Adults 51+ years (men)||1.7 mg|
|Adults 51+ years (women)||1.5 mg|
|Pregnant teens and women||1.9 mg|
|Breastfeeding teens and women||2.0 mg|
Sources of Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin B6 can be obtained by consuming variety of foods such as:
- Organ meats, fish and poultry, are vitamin B6 rich
- Americans obtain large amount of vitamin B6 from starchy vegetables and potatoes
- Americans also obtain large amount of vitamin B6 from Fruit except citrus
|Chickpeas, canned, 1 cup||1.1||55|
|Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces||0.9||45|
|Tuna, yellowfin, fresh, cooked, 3 ounces||0.9||45|
|Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces||0.6||30|
|Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces||0.5||25|
|Breakfast cereals, fortified with 25% of the DV for vitamin B6||0.5||25|
|Potatoes, boiled, 1 cup||0.4||20|
|Turkey, meat only, roasted, 3 ounces||0.4||20|
|Banana, 1 medium||0.4||20|
|Marinara (spaghetti) sauce, ready to serve, 1 cup||0.4||20|
|Ground beef, patty, 85% lean, broiled, 3 ounces||0.3||15|
|Waffles, plain, ready to heat, toasted, 1 waffle||0.3||15|
|Bulgur, cooked, 1 cup||0.2||10|
|Cottage cheese, 1% low-fat, 1 cup||0.2||10|
|Squash, winter, baked, ½ cup||0.2||10|
|Rice, white, long-grain, enriched, cooked, 1 cup||0.1||5|
|Nuts, mixed, dry-roasted, 1 ounce||0.1||5|
|Raisins, seedless, ½ cup||0.1||5|
|Onions, chopped, ½ cup||0.1||5|
|Spinach, frozen, chopped, boiled, ½ cup||0.1||5|
|Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate, ½ cup||0.1||5|
|Watermelon, raw, 1 cup||0.1|
Categories of Vitamin B6:
Pyridoxine is a form of Vitamin B6, usually present in dietary supplements. Vitamin B6 is also present in multivitamin-mineral supplements. Dietetic supplements which contain vitamin B6 with many other B vitamins or only vitamin B-6, can also be obtained.
Enough amount of Vitamin B6:
In United States, people obtain sufficient amount of vitamin B6 from the foods they consume. But in obtaining enough amount of vitamin B-6, some of the people are facing more trouble than others.
- People who have loss of functioning of their kidneys, including people that had a kidney transplant and those who are proceeding kidney dialysis.
- Alcohol dependent people
- People suffering from autoimmune disorders such as: people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis often have low levels of vitamin B-6.
Deficiency of Vitamin B6:
In United States, deficiency of vitamin B6 is uncommon. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause these symptoms including: itchy rashes, a swollen tongue, anemia, cracking on the mouths corner, and scaly skin on the lips. Low levels of vitamin B6 can cause some other symptoms such as confusion, weak immune system and depression. Those infants who suffer from deficiency of vitamin B6 could become irritable, seizures or they develop problem of sensitive hearing extremely.
Effects of vitamin B6:
Scientists are studying health effects of vitamin B6. Some of the examples are given below:
Some scientists think that certain B vitamins like vitamin B-6, Vitamin B12, folic acid may help in reducing risk of heart diseases by lowering the homocysteine level which is an amino acid found in the blood. Although supplements of Vitamin B help in reducing the blood homocysteine level. Research demonstrate that they don’t actually decreases the severity or risk of stroke or heart disease.
People having the lower levels of vitamin B-6 in the blood are at higher risk of developing certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer. But updated studies had not provided any evidence that supplements of vitamin B6 help in preventing cancer or help in lowering the chances of death from this disease.
According to some researches, elderly people with elevated levels of vitamin B6 have good memory. Although, when supplements of vitamin B6 are taken alone or in combination with folic acid or vitamin B12 it does not result in the improvement of cognitive function or mood of healthy people or people suffering from dementia.
Treatment of premenstrual syndrome by using supplements of vitamin B6 is not yet confirmed by the scientists but certain studies showed that supplements of vitamin B6 help in reducing the symptoms of PMS such as irritability, anxiety, moodiness, forgetfulness, and bloating.
Vomiting and Nausea in Pregnancy:
In the first few months of pregnancy, almost half of all women experience vomiting, nausea or both. According to the results of certain studies, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend the intake of vitamin B6 supplements but supplements should be taken under the proper care of doctor for treating the condition of vomiting and nausea during pregnancy.
Harmful effects of vitamin B6:
Mostly too much amount of vitamin B6 is not obtained from the food. But if a person consumes high level of vitamin B6 from supplements for a duration of one year or longer it can result in severe damage of nerves, which results in loss of control on proper body movements. Symptoms usually disappear when by reducing the intake of vitamin B6 supplements. Some other symptoms caused due to excessive intake of vitamin B6 include painful, unsightly skin patches, extreme sunlight sensitivity, heart burn and nausea.
Vitamin B6 upper limits are listed in the table. These levels don’t apply to People who are consuming vitamin B6 for medical reasons.
|Life Stage||Upper Limit|
|Birth to 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|
Interactions of Vitamin B-6 with other medications:
Supplements of vitamin B-6 show interactions with other medications as well. Some of the examples are discussed below:
· Supplements of vitamin B-6 might show interactions with cycloserine (Seromycin®), which is an antibiotic for the treatment of tuberculosis. It is also involved in the worsening of any seizures and damage of nerve cells that might be caused by the drug.
· Certain drugs of epilepsy are also involved in decreasing the levels of vitamin B6 and reduce the ability of drug to control seizures.
· Drugs for the treatment of asthma or another lung diseases such as theophylline Elixophyllin®, Truxophyllin®, Theolair®, Aquaphyllin®, and many others also reduce the levels of vitamin B-6 and cause seizures.
Patient should discuss or take advice from pharmacist or health care professional before using any medication show that he/she will be aware about the possible interactions of medications with vitamin B-6 supplements.
Healthful Eating and Vitamin B6:
According to the Dietary Guidelines of federal government for Americans most of the nutrients should be obtained from healthy foods. Foods are composed of dietary fibers, minerals, vitamins and some other substances that provide health benefits. In certain cases, dietary supplements and fortified foods may help in providing nutrients that may be otherwise consumed in less-than- recommended amounts.
This fact paper by Office of Dietary Supplements gives a piece of knowledge that should not replace the medical prescription. We foster you to communicate with your healthcare adviser (doctor, pharmacist, dentist etc.) for your interest in, queries about, or use of supplements and what could be best for your health.