Vitamin B6 : Source and Benefits

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Lara Mokhtar, MD Written by - Dr. Shilpa R


About Vitamin B6

The water-soluble vitamin B6, commonly referred to as pyridoxine, is required by the body for a variety of tasks. Vitamin B6 is a particular type of vitamin B. Vitamin B6 comes in three main forms: pyridoxamine, pyridoxine, and pyridoxal. It can be consumed as a supplement and is present in some foods. It positively affects the body’s health, including enhancing brain health and elevating mood. People also need Vitamin B6 to break down the body’s proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.

The water-soluble vitamin B6, commonly referred to as pyridoxine, is required by the body for a variety of tasks.


Different sources of Vitamin B6

People can obtain Vitamin B6 from food sources and dietary supplements.

Food sources

The following foods are excellent sources of vitamin B6:

  • Vegetables – Potatoes, tofu, onions, spinach, and other starchy vegetables.
  • Fruits – Banana, watermelon.
  • Animal sources include beef liver, roasted chicken breast, turkey, ground beef, organ meats, and eggs.
  • Fish – yellowfin tuna, salmon.
  • Other sources include tofu, cottage cheese, marinara sauce, waffles, rice, fortified foods, breakfast cereals, nuts, and raisins.1Sources| Researched based study from

Dietary supplements

  • There are two ways to get vitamin B6: alone as a supplement or as part of a multivitamin.
  • Oral capsules, chewable tablets, sublingual tablets, and liquids are all forms of vitamin B6 supplements.
  • The most common vitamin B6 ingredient in supplements is pyridoxine, which is available as pyridoxine hydrochloride. However, some have PLP in them. 1Sources | Researched based study from

Biological role

Biological role of Vitamin B6

There are more than 100 enzyme processes in which vitamin B6 participates. 1Biological role | Researched based study from

This vitamin also plays a role in the following:

  • Assists in converting protein, lipids, and carbs into energy.
  • Helps the immune system function by creating antibodies.
  • Keeps nerve function regular by producing serotonin and dopamine (Neurotransmitters). 3Biological role | Researched based study from
  • Also assists in controlling how much energy the brain uses.
  • Produces haemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells.
  • It supports the baby’s brain development during pregnancy.
  • Maintains appropriate blood sugar levels.


Health Benefits of B6

  • Pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy – Infants with pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy are treated with IV vitamin B6 to control seizures.
  • Sideroblastic anaemia is a genetic form in which the body produces unusual red blood cells that accumulate iron. Vitamin B6 can successfully treat this.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency – B6 deficiency can be prevented and treated with oral vitamin supplements.
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia – If vitamin B6 is taken orally, usually along with folic acid, high blood levels of homocysteine can be effectively controlled.
  • Hyperprolactinemia – a situation where prolactin is elevated by antipsychotic drugs. Males with this illness who take vitamin B6 orally have lower prolactin levels.
  • Kidney stones – When taken orally, either alone or in combination with magnesium, vitamin B6 can reduce the incidence of kidney stones, especially in those with an inherited disease, causing kidney stones.
  • Morning sickness – Taking vitamin B6 orally during pregnancy reduces the severity of morning sickness and vomiting.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – The oral form of vitamin B6 appears to lessen PMS symptoms, especially breast pain. Use the smallest effective dose possible. Increased dosage is unlikely to boost benefits and raise the possibility of adverse effects.
  • Brain function – According to certain studies, dementia and cognitive decline may be caused by a vitamin B6 deficiency. 3Health benefits | Researched based study from Memory function was better in older persons with greater Vitamin B6 levels in their blood.
  • Protection from air pollution – Vitamin B6 may lessen the negative impacts of air pollution on the epigenome, protecting humans from its adverse effects.


Dietary requirement

Vitamin B6 nutritional recommendations may be as follows:

In infants (AI)

  • 0 – 6 months – 0.1 mg/day
  • 7 – 12 months – 0.3 mg/day

In kids (RDA)

  • 1 – 3 years – 0.5 mg/day
  • 4 – 8 years – 0.6 mg/day
  • 9 – 13 years – 1.0 mg/day

Young adults and adults (RDA)

In males

  • 14 – 50 years – 1.3 mg/day
  • Above 50 years – 1.7 mg/day

In females

  • 14 – 18 years – 1.2 mg/day
  • 19 – 50 years – 1.3 mg/day
  • Above 50 years – 1.5 mg/day
  • During pregnancy – 1.9 mg/day
  • During lactation – 2.0 mg/day

Eating a balanced diet with a range of foods is the best way to ensure that a person obtains the essential daily vitamins. 4Dosage | Researched based study from


People at risk of deficiency:

People who may be more vulnerable to acquiring a vitamin B6 shortage include the following:

  • Those with impaired kidney function, such as those with chronic and end-stage renal disease, are more vulnerable. 5Vulnerability| Researched based study from
  • Low vitamin B6 levels are possible in those who suffer from an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease are all possible risk factors. Pregnant or nursing women may become deficient.
  • People who use estrogen, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or other drugs may have a vitamin B6 deficit.
  • Most frequently, a lack of other vitamins, like vitamin B12 and folate, is linked to vitamin B6 deficits.
  • Prolonged alcohol consumption may lead to vitamin B6 deficiency.
  • Illnesses like hypothyroidism and diabetes may also cause a B6 shortage.
  • Obese people might become deficient.


Deficiency symptoms

Vitamin B6 insufficiency symptoms and signs may include:

  • Anemia.
  • Swollen or large tongue.
  • Cracked skin at the corner of the mouth.
  • Numbness, pain, and tingling sensation in the feet and hands.
  • Confusion and depression. 1Defeciency Symptoms| Researched based study from
  • Decreased immunity.
  • Seizures.

Symptoms in young children could include:

  • Irritability.
  • Hearing problems.
  • Convulsive seizures.1Defeciency Symptoms | Researched based study from


Effects of vitamin B6 overdose

Even in large doses, eating foods containing vitamin B-6 is safe. Vitamin B-6 is safe when used as a supplement and at the recommended dosages. But over-supplementation with vitamin B-6 can result in:

  • Nausea.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Headache.
  • Numbness.
  • Heartburn.
  • Sunlight sensitivity.
  • Skin lesions that are disfiguring & painful.
  • Poor coordination or muscle control. 6Toxicity | Researched based study from
  • Decreases sensitivity to pain or heat.



Some precautions need to be taken in individuals as follows:

  • High dosage – Vitamin B6 dosages of 100-200 mg daily or less are often considered safe. When taken regularly in amounts of 500 mg or above, vitamin B6 may be harmful. High dosages of vitamin B6, particularly 1000 mg or more per day, may cause brain and nerve issues.
  • Pregnancy – vitamin B6 can sometimes treat morning sickness, but people should only take it with a doctor’s approval. High doses could be dangerous, leading to seizures in newborns. 7Precautions | Researched based study from
  • Breastfeeding – It is probably safe when taken orally twice a day at 2 mg of vitamin B6. Avoid using more than necessary.
  • Post-surgical stent placement – After having a coronary stent, avoid taking a vitamin B6, folate & B12 combination to prevent blood vessel narrowing.
  • Weight loss surgery – For those who have undergone weight loss surgery, a vitamin B6 supplementation is not required.


Interactions of B6

It is best to check with a doctor before taking vitamin B6 supplements as there could be some interactions with other drugs as follows:

  • Phenytoin – The body may break down phenytoin more quickly if consumed with vitamin B6. Combining vitamin B6 with phenytoin may lessen its benefits and increase the chance of seizures. 8Interactions | Researched based study from
  • Amiodarone – might make people more sensitive to sunlight. Combining vitamin B6 with amiodarone may increase the likelihood of sunburn, burning, or rashes on exposed skin areas. 9Interactions | Researched based study from
  • Altretamine, a chemotherapeutic drug – When taken with this drug, vitamin B-6 may lessen the drug’s effectiveness, especially when taken with cisplatin. 10Interactions | Researched based study from
  • Barbiturates/ central nervous depressant – Taking vitamin B-6 with this medication may lessen its effects and duration. 11Interactions | Researched based study from
  • Levodopa – If taken with vitamin B-6, it reduces the effectiveness of levodopa. 12Interactions | Researched based study from



One must consume vitamin B6 daily since their bodies are unable incapable of storing it. Otherwise, a doctor can advise making dietary modifications or using B6 vitamin tablets. Vitamin B6 may prevent or cure a variety of illnesses. Still, its consumption should not exceed the recommended dosage to avoid side effects. People must get enough B6 through food or a supplement for optimum health and well-being.

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

Related Articles

subscribe drcure
subscribe drcure
Thanks for subscribing
Look out for our email. Follow our social pages