The Health Benefits of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

The Health Benefits of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)


Introduction & Biological Role

Let’s talk about vitamin b6, also known as pyridoxine. This water soluble vitamin is a co-factor in many enzyme reactions associated with amino acid, glucose and lipid metabolism. It is involved in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It’s a cofactor in histamine, homocysteine and hemoglobin synthesis as well.

Vitamin B6 Supplement Options:

Potential Health Benefits

Heart disease

May help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels, although the evidence is insufficient at this point

Nausea/Vomiting during pregnancy

One study showed benefit, others did not (mixed evidence). It is frequently used in combination with doxylamine nausea and vomiting in pregnancy due to a more benign side effect profile and less risk to the developing fetus.


Because it helps with serotonin synthesis, may help treat depression (weak evidence)

Sideroblastic anemia (a specific type of anemia)

May be beneficial but insufficient or mixed evidence

  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tardive dyskinesia/ Akisthesia
  • ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angioplasty
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Cancer prevention
  • Cognitive function
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune booster
  • Kidney stones
  • McArdle’s disease
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Nerve-related pain
  • Seizures
  • Blood clots

Best Dietary Sources

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • tuna
  • salmon
  • shrimp
  • beef liver
  • Dairy (milk, cheese)
  • lentils
  • beans
  • spinach
  • carrots
  • brown rice
  • bran
  • sunflower seeds
  • wheat germ
  • whole-grain flour
  • supplement

Side Effects/ Toxicity

Taking too much (200 mg or more per day) can cause neurological symptoms (loss of sensation, imbalance), skin allergies, photosensitivity (sensitive to sunlight), nausea and decreased appetite, abdominal pain.


Deficiency is rare, but symptoms include muscle weakness, nervousness, irritability, depression, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss

Recommended Daily Allowance


  • 19 - 50 years: 1.3 mg (RDA)
  • Men 51 years and older: 1.7 mg (RDA)
  • Women 51 years and older: 1.5 mg (RDA)
  • Pregnant women: 1.9 mg (RDA)
  • Breastfeeding women: 2.0 mg (RDA)

Related Links (View All: Vitamins | Minerals | Supplements )

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