Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – Health benefits & dosage
Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine) allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates and is essential for haemoglobin in the blood. It is involved in the regulation of mental function and mood as well as in the metabolism of homocysteine, high levels of which are a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin B6 uses
Health claims about vitamins are regulated by the European Food Safety Authority.
It has approved claims for B6, including:
- Contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
- Contributes to normal psychological function
- Contributes to normal red blood cell formation
- Contributes to the normal function of the immune system
- Contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity
It did not support claims that B6 could maintain normal teeth, bones, hair, skin and nails.
Vitamin B6 dose and instructions for use
The NHS says that the recommended adult daily intake of vitamin B6 is 1.4mg a day for men and 1.2mg a day for women. Vitamin B6 supplementation in pregnancy is not necessary and high doses might lead to harm. You should be able to get all the vitamin B6 you need from your diet.
Vitamin B6 food sources
Sources of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) are:
- Meat (pork, poultry) and offal
- Whole grains (oatmeal, rice)
- Fortified cereals and breads
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes
- Legumes like peanuts, soya beans,
- Fresh fruit except citrus
Preventing a Vitamin B6 Deficiency
A vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in western, developed nations where most people acquire enough calories and aren’t experiencing malnourishment. In fact, some experts feel that some people actually consume too high of levels of vitamin B6 and that this may be even more common in the general population than a vitamin B6 deficiency is.
The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for an average adult who is under the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams. Normally, this amount is relatively easy to get from your diet, assuming you eat enough calories in general.
However, for vitamin B6 benefits, the intake recommendation jumps up as you get older, with experts recommending that adults over 50 get up to 1.7 milligram daily. The increase in vitamin B6 that is needed as someone ages makes older people more prone to experiencing a vitamin B6 deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Although a deficiency is not very common, studies have linked a vitamin B6 deficiency with an increased risk for a range of different disorders and symptoms.
A vitamin B6 deficiency can overtime cause symptoms including:
- Changes in mood, such as irritability, anxiety and depression
- Muscle pains
- Low energy, or fatigue
- Worsening of PMS symptoms
- Worsening symptoms of anemia
Because vitamin B6 is so important for nerve function, a vitamin B6 deficiency is linked most commonly with neuropsychiatric disorders, including seizures, migraines, chronic pain and mood disorders like depression.
Other studies have indicated that poor vitamin B6 status is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Other research shows that vitamin B6 deficiency is more common among older people, with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia increasing as someone ages and their level of vitamin B6 drops. (1)
Since they are at a higher risk for having a vitamin B6 deficiency, it’s recommended that older adults have their vitamin B6 levels tested by their doctor if they begin to lose their appetite, start generally eating less, lose weight or suffer from nutrient malabsorption for any reason.
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B6 is as follows, depending on your age and gender:
- Newborn–6 months: 0.3 milligrams
- Children 1–8 years: 0.5- 0.6 milligrams
- Children 4–16 years: 0.6- 1.0 milligrams
- Boys 14–18 years: 1.2- 1.3 milligrams
- Men and women 19–50 years: 1.3 milligrams
- Men 51 years and older: 1.7 milligrams
- Women 51 years and older: 1.5 milligrams
- Pregnant women: 1.9 milligrams
- Breastfeeding women: 2.0 milligrams