Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose). The fuel is then “burned” to produce energy. B vitamins also help the body to metabolize fats and protein and are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly. All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin B6?

  • Vitamin B6 balances hormonal changes in women such as premenstrual fluid retention, pains, emotional symptoms, premenstrual acne. It also aids in reducing the nausea and fatigue that is so common in early pregnancy.
  • Helps to control your mood, behavior, and fights stress and fatigue. This is due to the fact that B6 is responsible for helping to create serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical. A lack of serotonin can also cause depression.
  • Helps to keep our skin moisturized and looking healthy.
  • Can assist in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.
  • There is a suggestion that vitamin B6 may be of benefit for children with learning difficulties.  Again, these issues are due to a lack of chemicals in the brain that are produced by vitamin B6.
  • Assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium and promotes red blood cell production.
  • The immune system also benefits from B6. Many studies indicate that a deficiency of it can increase the chances of a person developing cancer.
  • Fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is important in keeping the heart healthy.

Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Our body operates like a machine. When we don’t have what our body needs, it does not operate as it should and certain symptoms may occur. Symptoms occur during later stages of deficiency, when intake has been very low for an extended time. The symptoms of a B6 deficiency include frequent headaches, tingling in the extremities, sensitivity to cold, carpal tunnel, irritability, insomnia, and general weakness. There may be skin changes such as dermatitis and acne and asthma and allergies may develop. Bone deteriation (osteoporosis and arthritis) can also occur.

Food Sources of Vitamin B6

The foods highest in vitamin B6 are brewer’s yeast, eggs, chicken, carrots, fish, liver, kidneys, peas, wheat germ, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B6 Dosage

Males and females: 25 mg per day, no higher than 100 mg per day. If 100 mg per day is exceeded, toxicity may occur such as nerve damage. This nerve damage is reversable and only present while taking high levels of the vitamin.

Other Facts

  • Vitamin B6 taken in excess of 2000 mg per day may cause neurological damage.
  • People taking their B6 dose late at night sometimes experience very vivid dreams.
  • People taking antidepressants, contraceptive pills, or on a high protein diet may need more of this vitamin. As this vitamin is readily lost in the urine, it must be taken regularly to ensure an adequate amount in the body.
  • Exercising may aid the production of vitamin B6.

Remember: It is important to have a physician evaluate any symptoms so that appropriate medical care/dosage can be given.

Photo by CLC Photography


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