Vitamin B6 is instrumental in more than one hundred enzyme reactions in the body. It is involved, among other things, in converting amino acids into glucose and in protein synthesis. It helps to maintain a healthy immune system, normal blood glucose levels and is needed to make hemoglobin and neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.).
Meat (particularly beef and white chicken meat), fish, offals, liver, peanuts, soy beans, peas, grain products, bananas, broccoli and avocados are all good sources of vitamin B6. Although whole wheat contains vitamin B6, refined products do not.
|Approximate Vitamin B6 Content|
Pyridoxine is sensitive to heat.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Recommended average daily nutrient intake that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97 to 98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group. The RDA should only be used as a guide for daily individual intake.
|Vitamin B6 Requirements|
Taking medications such as penicillamine, isoniazid and hydralazine may increase one's daily requirements. Oral contraceptives have also been associated with vitamin B6 depletion.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare. It may cause anemia, convulsions, skin problems, cracks in the corners of the mouth, tongue inflammation, irritability and enhanced sensitivity. An increased risk of heart disease, particularly atherosclerosis, is also possible.
Exposure to toxic levels, over several months, may cause nerve damage. This results in reduced sensory perception.
Any person who does not have a well balanced diet should consider taking a multivitamin to meet the RDA. High doses however, should be avoided as they can be toxic. Doses under 250 mg per day are considered safe.
Vitamin B6 supplements can be used for certain indications. Medical monitoring is recommended for:
- anemia (50 to 600 mg per day)
- vitamin B6 deficiency (2 to 20 mg per day)
- premenstrual syndrome (40 to 500 mg per day)
- kidney stones (100 to 500 mg per day)
- symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (200 mg per day)
Some pregnant women found that 25 mg of vitamin B6 three times a day can ease morning sickness.
Caution, vitamin B6 supplements are contraindicated in individuals taking levodopa (Sinemet®). Taking high doses (600 mg/day or more) while breastfeeding can reduce milk production.
Watch what you eat. Nutrition has a significant impact on health!
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.