What is Vitamin B6 and What Does it Do?

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It’s all about the mind, body and soul. Find out more about vitamin B6 and how it supports brain development and keeps your immune system healthy.

Vitamin B6 is one of eight essential B vitamins. It is an important aid for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune system healthy. But the real question is what is vitamin B6? In this article we look at why our bodies need vitamin B6 and why it’s important for our minds and bodies to get enough of this vitamin.

What is vitamin B6?

What is vitamin b6Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water. The human body does not produce vitamin B6 so it is vital to make sure the body has enough vitamin B6 every day from food or supplements. Pyridoxine is a coenzyme that assists over 100 enzymes to perform various tasks, including the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. They also work to support the function of the immune system and brain health. Vitamin B6 can be taken as a supplement tablet. The vitamin has been widely studied for its role in the prevention of disease.

Recommended daily intake for vitamin B6

The current daily intake for vitamin B6 is as follows:

  • Babies up to 6 months – 0.1mg
  • Infants 7-12 months – 0.3mg
  • Children 1 – 0.5mg
  • Children 4 – 0.6mg
  • Children 9 – 1.0mg
  • Teens – 1.3mg
  • Adults – 1.5mg
  • Pregnant teens and women – 1.9mg
  • Breastfeeding teens and women – 2.0mg

Even though having a B6 deficiency is uncommon, people who do suffer from a low level of B6 can have a range of symptoms, including anaemia, itchy rashes, scaly skin on the lips, depression, and a swollen tongue. Other significant symptoms of low vitamin B6 are depression, confusion, and a weak immune system. Infants that have low vitamin B6 can become irritable or develop extremely sensitive hearing or can suffer from seizures.

Sources of vitamin B6Sources of vitamin B6

As previously mentioned, the body can’t actually produce vitamin B6 on its own, so you need to get it from an external source such as food or a dietary supplement. Contents of B6 can be found in many food substances. The following foods are all a great source of vitamin B6:

  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Beef liver
  • Roast Chicken breast
  • Tofu
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Potatoes
  • Banana
  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Spinach.

Top 5 Benefits of Vitamin B6

1.      Vitamin B6 can help to improve mood

We’ve all experienced a bad mood from time-to-time, been short tempered, or even just felt a bit low. Well, vitamin B6 plays a very important role in mood regulation. This due to the vitamin aiding the creation of neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric. Several studies have shown that depressive symptoms are associated with low blood levels and intakes of vitamin B6, however, it’s still unclear whether vitamin B6 is an effective treatment for mood disorders or not.

2.      Promotes brain health and function

Vitamin B6 may play a role in improving brain function and studies show that it may help in preventing age-related cognitive decline. Vitamin B6 helps create neurotransmitters, which are important enzymatic messengers in the brain, and helps the body to regulate levels of homocysteine in the blood.

3.      Vitamin B6 may help with nausea during pregnancy

Pregnancy nauseaTaking vitamin B6 has shown to relieve nausea in some pregnant women. Studies show that taking pyridoxine may help with mild symptoms of nausea during pregnancy. Although vitamin B6 supplements have been used as an effective treatment for nausea during pregnancy, always make sure to check with your doctor to find out how much you should be taking.

4.      Useful in treating symptoms of PMS

Taking vitamin B6 supplements can ease some of the side effects of premenstrual syndrome including:

  • Anxiety
  • Tender breasts
  • Depression

Vitamin B6 helps with emotional symptoms related to PMS due to its role in fabricating neurotransmitters in the body that regulate mood. Studies showed that premenopausal women found that taking a healthy amount of vitamin B6 daily improved PMS symptoms of depression, irritability and tiredness. There is some indication that vitamin B6 may be effective at decreasing mood issues connected with PMS.

Always seek medical advice to ensure the correct amount of vitamin B6 is consumed daily.

5.      May prevent and treat anaemia

We all feel tired from time to time, but feeling weak, overly tired or looking pale or yellowish can be a sign of a vitamin B6 deficiency. The human body requires vitamin B6 to produce haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells, which are needed to transport oxygen around the body.  When your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B6 through rich foods such as, fish, meat and fruit, you are at risk of a vitamin-deficiency called anaemia. Not getting enough vitamin B6 can lead to low levels of haemoglobin, so taking a supplement of this vitamin may prevent or treat these issues.

It’s important to note that studies are still ongoing on the impact of vitamin B6 and certain health benefits. Current research shows that having a healthy level of vitamin B6 in your body can help ensure the normal workings of essential bodily functions. If you believe you have a vitamin B6 deficiency, it’s important you seek guidance and support from a trusted healthcare professional.

Now you know what vitamin B6 is and how important it is to ensure you’re getting the correct levels in your diet. Want to find out more about the essential B vitamins? Learn what vitamin B12 is and what it does, next.



Vitamin B6


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