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Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) Benefits, Side Effects, Uses & Warnings

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) Benefits, Side Effects, Uses & Warnings
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

Vitamin B6 better known as Pyridoxine is one of the water-soluble B-complex family vitamins which is naturally produced in the body, but also requires supplementation in the form of foods or prescribed supplement or injections. It plays an integral role in many bodily functions, both physical and psychological. The B6 vitamin is most known for helping maintain a healthy and viable metabolism. It also helps in healthy liver function, it helps maintain healthy skin and eye health, and it is also a natural supplement which can help boost energy levels; this is in part due to the fact that it metabolizes carbs/fats/proteins, and turns them into a viable source of energy for the body to use.

Why should you take Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)?

In addition to it being necessary for certain bodily functions, the inclusion of B6 in proper dosage levels into your diet promotes many benefits. The vitamin contains pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phasphate, and pyridoxamine. These compounds are beneficial in helping with proper biological functions. The vitamin is used daily by the body and plays a major role in proper movement, memory, energy expenditure, and blood flow throughout the system. If you are deficient, this is visible through many different symptoms which might present themselves, some temporary, while others may be more serious if they are not properly dealt with accordingly.

Improves Nervous system health

Vitamin B6 is optimal in promoting a healthy nervous system. It produces hemoglobin which in turn carries oxygen in the body’s red blood cells, throughout the body, which provides the energy we get from the foods we consume daily. It helps properly balance blood sugar levels as well, which makes it a natural pain treatment, can help diabetic sufferers manage blood sugars, and it can also help to boost your mood, as it naturally creates antibodies in the system. These antibodies are in turn going to help better protect the immune system, which is vital to overall health and well-being on a day to day basis.

Are you deficient? Preventing deficiencies with Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

A Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause many different forms of pain, and symptoms, which will manifest in your body differently in each individual. Although rare in most Western civilizations, it is possible that malnourishment, or not consuming a diet which is calorie-dense enough, and provides the proper foods to your system, may possible result in a deficiency. Many experts believe some individuals consume more than the necessary levels of B6 on a daily basis, because it is prominent in so many of the foods we consume regularly.

Recommended dosage for adults who are 50 or below is 1.3 mg daily. For those who are 50 or older, it is advised to consume as much as 1.7 mg daily of B6 vitamins, to avoid a deficiency, and symptoms associated with it. Since B6, and other vitamins are not as readily absorbed by the body as we age, increasing dosage levels slightly will help counter-balance that deficiency, and ensure healthy, and appropriate levels of the vitamin are consumed, regardless of age.

What will you notice if you are deficient?

Of course, each person will vary, and the symptoms won’t be the same in each case. There are, however, certain symptoms which are commonly linked to a Vitamin B6 deficiency, which are highly complained of in most individuals who are deficient.

Sudden mood changes or mood swings, irritability, anxiety or nervousness, depression, confusion, and other mental alertness issues, are all commonly linked to a B6 deficiency. Individuals who suffer from muscle pain and severe cramping, worsening symptoms of PMS in women, and worsening symptoms of anemia, are also closely linked to the symptoms which are commonly reported by individuals who are deficient in the vitamin.

Vitamin B6 is imperative to healthy and proper nerve function; because of this, a deficiency is linked most commonly in those who suffer from meuropsychiatric disorders. Individuals who suffer from seizures frequently, migraine headaches, chronic fating and pain, mood disorders, and mood changes or irritability, are likely deficient in Vitamin B6.

Other possible risks of being deficient in Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Studies and research has suggested that in addition to the above disorders, a deficiency in B6 is also linked to increased risks of heart disease, as well as Rheumatoid arthritis. It is common in older individuals who are deficient; it also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory-related and age-related conditions of this nature. It is important to properly monitor levels of Vitamin B6, as significant deficiencies can lead to severe repercussions in some.

Again, because these are commonly age related, the higher dosage of B6 suggested after the age of 50, should be followed by those who are deficient. If individuals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite, are eating less, or not getting proper nutrients (malabsorption) because of the higher dosage level, it is important to speak to your doctor. Not only to determine how to properly balance the two, but also to find alternatives to getting higher dosage of Vitamin B6 in your diet, so as to rely less heavily on the supplement form of the vitamin.

Where should you get Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)?

Of course, the supplement is the easiest form to get the proper dosage if you are deficient. With this being said, there are several different foods, even if you follow a restrictive diet, which are high in levels of Vitamin B6. The vitamin is found in many foods you probably consume daily. Among these are avocadoes, poultry, meats, legumes, beans, and other foods which are high in protein. As with other foods, you should choose those which are natural, and haven’t been heavily processed, as this typically removes the benefits (vitamins) which are naturally present in the foods. So, if possible, organic and all-natural, are the best options when choosing these foods to incorporate into the diet. Many multivitamins also contain a small dosage of the vitamin in it as well. So, if you take one daily, make sure to monitor this, and the dosage, to avoid over-dosing on the vitamin. The highest recommended daily dosage is up to 2 mg, for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Benefits of Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Vitamin B6 is linked to reducing excessive levels of stress, it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, it can help treat cramping associated with PMS for women, it treats chronic pain and fatigue, and it can help increase energy levels, so you are naturally more active. It can also help with migraines and severe headaches, if you suffer from these frequently.

Risk of overdose?

As is the case with other B-complex vitamins in the family, B6 is water-soluble. This means it is naturally found in the body, naturally produced, and will naturally be absorbed by the body. So, even in cases of an overdose, it should naturally flush itself out of your system in a matter of hours. And, even with severe overdoses, simply stopping use for a couple of days, after speaking to your doctor, will typically resolve the issues naturally. It is highly unlikely that you are ever going to reach a toxic level as it relates to B6 consumption and overdose.

Consider real food (first)

Although many people would simply choose to take a supplement once daily and forget about it, as is the case with all vitamins and minerals, it is best for you to try to get the sufficient levels of the vitamin through food sources first. Not only is it better absorbed by the body, it is also ingested readily into the blood stream, so it is going to take effect instantly when you consume it. Also, when you are consuming the vitamin through foods, you are also getting other essential vitamins and minerals. So, rather than taking 10 supplements per day, you can get by with just the foods you are consuming.

In the event you do have to supplement, you should discuss this with your doctor before you do begin a dosage cycle. Not only so they can prescribe the proper dosage level for you to take, but also to ensure they provide a prescription for natural, FDA approved, and high-potency supplements. This is the best way to ensure the proper levels are achieved when you are supplementing, and also to ensure you are taking a product which is safe, and is not going to adversely affect your health, in the event of overdose, or if you miss several supplements during your dosage cycle.

Foods you consume that may contain Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

If you are looking for the best food sources which contain high levels of B6 vitamins, there are quite a few. Turkey breast is one of the foods which is highest, as is grass-feed beef. Pistachios and other nuts, legumes, tuna, avocadoes, pinto beans, chicken breast, molasses, sunflower and sesame seeds, chickpeas, and grains, are all foods which have high volumes of the vitamin present in them. Depending on your required dosage based on age and gender, as well as other vitamins, minerals, or supplements you are currently taking, the amounts of these foods you do consume, should be restricted on certain days.

The Benefits of Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Your body is greatly going to benefit from incorporating the supplement into the diet. It will help maintain healthy blood vessels; this is naturally going to help improve overall blood flow. This can help decrease inflammation, it can help decrease heart disease and heart-related complications and can help prevent heart attacks. Homocysteine builds up in the body if enough B6 isn’t present, which can lead to blood vessel lining damage, and other damage to the body, which can prove extremely dangerous.

Brain function and cognition are also improved by including the right dosage levels of Vitamin B6 into your diet. It will help with proper brain development, functions, cognition, help with memory retention, avoid memory loss, and can influence healthy memory function over time. Alzheimer’s and dementia as individuals age, can also be minimized when taking the proper levels of B6 vitamins and incorporating it into the diet daily.

It can help enhance your mood. If you are struggling with mood swings or irritability it might be a deficiency in the vitamin. You can easily remedy this by incorporating a supplement or more foods in the diet which are rich in Vitamin B6. Serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters in the brain benefit from this vitamin. It can help treating fatigue, anxiety, depression, pain, and chronic conditions; all of these will help enhance your mood and spirits in no time. So, proper levels of the vitamin, taken daily, can help improve overall mood and well-being.

If you are anemic, the inclusion of a supplement can also prove beneficial in treating this condition. It can help protect overall eye health, and help prevent conditions like cataracts, by improving visibility, and corneal strength. If you suffer from RA or arthritis, it can help minimize the symptoms and pain, by reducing inflammation levels; it can also help in preventing arthritis if you are predisposed to these conditions, because of family history. General muscle aches and pain, joint mobility and strength, and overall mobility, are also greatly going to benefit by including the proper dosage levels of the B6 vitamin into the diet regularly.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, you can possible reduce those levels with the vitamin. Since it naturally helps to relax you, and helps reduce stress levels naturally, this is also going to bring down the high blood pressure levels which are extremely dangerous if not properly treated. Many claim that it can help to reduce the cramps, bloating, and fatigue, which are commonly tied to PMS symptoms in women as well.

The benefits are going to differ in each case. But, as laid out, there are many benefits to including a supplement, or choosing foods which are rich in Vitamin B6 to add to your diet. And, you can get high dosage levels of the vitamin in the foods listed above, so you wouldn’t have to consume them in high quantities in order to achieve these benefits, and others which are reportedly linked to Vitamin B6.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.