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Vitamin B6 Benefits, Deficiency & Sources

Vitamin B6 - Mayo Clinic

Vitamin B6


Vitamin B6

What Is Vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is a collective name for several related compounds, including pyridoxine, the major form found in plant foods and the form used in supplements and fortified foods. Two other forms, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine, are found in animal food sources such as chicken and meat.

Functions of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 Is an Active Coenzyme Vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme with more than 100 enzymes involved in the metabolism of proteins. It is needed to create nonessential amino acids and to convert the amino acid tryptophan to niacin. Vitamin B6 also helps your body metabolize fats and carbohydrates and break down glycogen, the storage form of glucose.

Other Functions of B6

Vitamin B6 is needed to make the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in your red blood cells and to keep your immune and nervous systems healthy.

Finally, recent research indicates that vitamin B6, along with two other watersoluble vitamins, folate and vitamin B12, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Daily Needs

Adult women need 1.3 to 1.5 milligrams and men need 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily, depending on their age.

Food Sources

Because vitamin B6 is found in so many foods, including ready-to-eat cereals, meat, fish, poultry, many vegetables and fruits, nuts, peanut butter, and other legumes, Americans on average easily meet their daily needs.

Too Much or Too Little

To protect against potential nerve damage, the upper level for vitamin B6 is set at 100 milligrams daily for adults over the age of 19. Luckily, it would be extremely difficult to take in a dangerous level of vitamin B6 from food alone.

However, taking vitamin B6 in supplement form can be harmful. Over the years, vitamin B6 has been touted to aid a variety of ailments, including carpal tunnel syndrome and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But research studies have failed to show any significant clinical benefit of taking vitamin B6 supplements for either of these syndromes.



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