What Is Vitamin B6, and What Does It Do?

The Complete Herbal Guide / Vitamins & Minerals  / What Is Vitamin B6, and What Does It Do?
Vitamin-b6 (1)

What Is Vitamin B6, and What Does It Do?

Vitamin B6 is one of the water-soluble B vitamins. It comes in three forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. It serves numerous functions in your body, including…

  • Red blood cell metabolism
  • Making hemoglobin
  • Assisting in the proper functioning of the nervous system
  • Assisting in the proper functioning of the immune system
  • Promotes protein metabolism
  • Synthesis of serotonin and norepinephrine

How much vitamin B6 do I need to consume?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6 is:

1 to 3 yrs0.5 mg0.5 mgN/AN/A
4 to 8 yrs0.6 mg0.6 mgN/AN/A
9 to 13 yrs1.0 mg1.0 mgN/AN/A
14 to 18 yrs1.3 mg1.2 mg1.9 mg2.0 mg
19 to 50 yrs1.3 mg1.3 mg1.9 mg2.0 mg
51+ yrs1.7 mg1.5 mgN/AN/A

There is insufficient information to establish an RDA for vitamin B6 for infants. In this case, an Adequate Intake (AI) has been established:

AgeMales and Females
0 to 6 months0.1 mg/day
7 to 12 months0.3 mg/day

What are sources of vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is found naturally in many foods and can also be found in foods that are fortified with it:

FoodAmountVitamin B6
Avocado, raw, California1 oz0.08 mg
Banana1 medium0.43 mg
Cereal, 100% fortified¾ cup2 mg
Chicken breast, meat only3 oz0.52 mg
Garbanzo beans½ cup0.51 mg
Lima beans, frozen, cooked½ cup0.10 mg
Oatmeal, instant, fortified1 packet0.42 mg
Peanut butter, smooth1 tablespoon0.09 mg
Pistachio nuts, dry roasted1 oz (47 nuts)0.36 mg
Pork loin, cooked3 oz0.42 mg
Potato, with skin1 medium0.47 mg
Roast beef, eye of round, cooked3 oz0.42 mg
Salmon, Sockeye, cooked3 oz0.19 mg
Soybeans, green½ cup0.05 mg
Spinach, frozen, cooked½ cup0.14 mg
Sunflower seeds, kernels1 oz0.23 mg
Tomato juice, canned8 oz0.27 mg
Trout, rainbow, cooked3 oz0.29 mg
Tuna, canned in water3 oz0.18 mg
Walnuts, English/Persian1 oz0.15 mg
Wheat bran¼ cup0.18 mg
Yogurt, plain, skim milk8 oz0.12 mg

Do I need to take a B6 supplement?

Vitamin B6 is available as pyridoxine hydrochloride in supplements. The requirements for vitamin B6 can easily be met with a well-balanced diet. When your diet is limited in variety, you may need to take a supplement. Older adults and alcoholics are people whose diets may be lacking and require supplementation. Studies have shown that supplementing with large doses of vitamin B6 can increase the immune response in critically ill patients.

What happens if I don’t have enough vitamin B6?

In the early 1950s, an error in the manufacturing of baby formula lead to vitamin B6 deficiencies and caused seizures in the infants who were deficient in it. Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are depression, confusion, sores or ulcers on the mouth, ulcers at the corners of the mouth, confusion, and irritability.

Is there such a thing as too much vitamin B6?

There are no documented health problems associated with consuming B6 from food sources. There have been problems associated with excess supplementation of vitamin B6. Large doses, above 1,000 mg/day, have been shown to cause sensory neuropathy. Symptoms of this include difficulty walking and pain and numbness of the extremities. There have even been some reported cases of this with doses under 500 mg/day. Even though this is a water-soluble vitamin, limits had to be set on how much can be safely consumed.

The Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for vitamin B6 was set for the general population:

AgeMales and Females
1 to 3 years30 mg/day
4 to 8 years40 mg/day
9 to 13 years60 mg
14 to 18 years80 mg
19+ years100 mg

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Herbal Guide Staff


The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.