Vitamin B6 is a type of B vitamin. It comes in various forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. You can find it in some foods, or it can be made in labs.
This vitamin helps our body use sugars, fats, and proteins correctly. It’s also important for the brain, nerves, skin, and other body parts to grow and work well.
Foods like cereals, beans, and eggs have vitamin B6. It’s often used with other B vitamins, too.
People take vitamin B6 mainly to avoid and fix a vitamin B6 shortage. They also use it for heart problems, PMS, and feeling sad. They also use it for morning sickness, Alzheimer’s disease, period pain, diabetes, and other health issues. However, there’s little scientific proof to show it works for many of these things.
Vitamin B6 and Health
Vitamin B6 is vital for preventing diseases. It’s perfect for treating nausea during pregnancy, but only with a doctor’s advice. Having enough B6 in your blood might lower your chance of getting cancer.
But, taking extra B6 supplements beyond what’s in ordinary multivitamins isn’t proven to help and isn’t suggested.
What Does Vitamin B6 Do?
Vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin, is not stored in large quantities in the body. We use what’s necessary and then eliminate the rest through urine.
This vitamin plays several roles. It helps with the function of more than 100 enzymes. These enzymes break down proteins, carbs, and fats.
It’s also crucial in brain development, maintaining certain amino acid levels in the blood and supporting the nervous system and brain.
Additionally, vitamin B6 aids in making red blood cells. It also strengthens the immune system. It produces amino acids, the components of proteins.
The amount of vitamin B6 you need daily varies based on age and gender. It also depends on whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Generally, adults need around 1.3 to 1.7 mg daily, while pregnant and breastfeeding women and teenagers might need slightly more.
Most people get enough vitamin B6 from their diet. Only a tiny percentage in the U.S. do not meet the daily requirements. Vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon, especially compared to other nutrients.
However, if you lack other B vitamins, like B12 or folate, you might also be low in B6.
Certain individuals are more prone to a vitamin B6 deficiency. This includes heavy drinkers, pregnant women, obese people, smokers, and those with specific health conditions.
These individuals should consult a healthcare professional. They should ask about taking a vitamin B6 supplement.
Pregnant women need to ensure they get enough vitamin B6. They can do this through their diet or supplements. Vitamin B6 is vital for the baby’s brain development and immune health. This is true during pregnancy and early life.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
- Skin Rashes: Not enough vitamin B6 can make your skin itchy and cause red rashes, often on your face or upper body.
- Cracked Lips: If you have sore lips or cracks at the corners of your mouth, it might be because you’re low in vitamin B6.
- Mood Changes: Feeling moody, easily irritated, or more upset than usual can happen if you don’t have enough vitamin B6.
- Feeling Tired: You might feel tired and lack energy if you’re not getting enough vitamin B6.
- Getting Sick a Lot: You may catch colds often or feel unwell most of the time. It could be due to vitamin B6, which strengthens your immune system.
- Painful, Swollen Tongue: A sore and swollen tongue is another sign you might not have enough vitamin B6.
- Seizures: This is rare, but in extreme cases, not having enough vitamin B6 can lead to seizures. This is especially true for little kids.
It’s important to remember that other things could also cause these symptoms. If you’re experiencing any of these, you should talk to a doctor or a healthcare expert. They can figure out what’s going on and how to fix the problems.
Health benefits of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is good for your health in many ways:
One benefit is improved blood flow. There’s an amino acid called homocysteine in your body, and if you have too much of it, it can cause heart issues. Vitamin B6 keeps the levels of this amino acid balanced in your blood.
May Improve Mood and Reduce Depression
Vitamin B6 helps control your mood. It does this because it’s needed to make neurotransmitters, chemicals in your brain that influence your emotions. These include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
Vitamin B6 also helps lower the levels of homocysteine in your blood. High levels of homocysteine are linked to depression and other mental health problems.
Studies show that people, especially older adults, who don’t have enough vitamin B6 often feel more depressed. One study found that older adults with low levels of vitamin B6 were twice as likely to be depressed.
However, taking vitamin B6 to prevent or treat depression doesn’t always work. In one large study with older men, those who took supplements with B6, B9, and B12 did not have fewer depression symptoms than those who didn’t take the supplements.
Lower Your Risk Of Cancer
Vitamin B6 is essential for the growth and health of your cells. Not having enough of it can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s uncertain if getting vitamin B6 from foods or supplements can lessen cancer risk. However, early research hints that enough B6 and other B vitamins might lower the chances of certain cancers, like colorectal cancer.
Help With Pregnancy-Related Nausea
Taking pyridoxine can help with mild nausea and vomiting when you’re pregnant. For more severe symptoms, a mix of pyridoxine and doxylamine might work better.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says vitamin B6 supplements are a safe way to treat pregnancy nausea.
Reduce The Chance Of Getting Eye Diseases
Daily vitamin B6, folic acid, and B12 could reduce age-related eye disease risk. Women who took these vitamins daily for seven years had less chance of eye problems.
Helps With Pms
Vitamin B6 is used for PMS symptoms like anxiety and depression. It might work because it helps make mood-regulating brain chemicals. Studies show taking 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily can improve PMS symptoms. But, results could be influenced by the placebo effect. More research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Vitamin B6, a B vitamin, comes in three forms, and people can find it in some foods or produce it in labs. It’s essential for using sugars, fats, and proteins. It’s also crucial for brain, nerve, and skin health.
Commonly found in cereals, beans, and eggs, it’s often combined with other B vitamins. People mainly take it to prevent or treat a vitamin B6 deficiency. They also use it for conditions like heart problems, PMS, and depression.
It’s also used for nausea during pregnancy. It might lower the risk of certain cancers and age-related eye diseases. Pregnant women need enough vitamin B6.
It’s vital for their baby’s brain development and immune health. Symptoms of deficiency include skin rashes and cracked lips. It can also cause mood changes, tiredness, and frequent sickness.
It may sometimes lead to a swollen tongue or, rarely, seizures. Vitamin B6 can help with PMS and other health issues. Yet, researchers need to conduct more research to confirm its full effectiveness.
To sum up, the various benefits of vitamin B6 highlight how important it is for maintaining general health and well-being.
Its many advantages, which range from improving brain function to speeding up metabolism, make it a necessary nutrient for a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
- National Institutes of Health website. Vitamin B6: fact sheet for health professionals. . Updated June 2, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2023.
- Abosamak. N. E. R., et al. (2020). Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).