Vitamin B6Skip to the navigation
Vitamin B6 is the master vitamin for processing amino acids -the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Vitamin B6 helps to make and take apart many amino acids and is also needed to make the hormones, serotonin, melatonin , and dopamine.
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Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
How It Works
How to Use It
The most common supplemental intake is 10-25 mg per day. However, high amounts (100-200 mg per day or even more) may be recommended for certain conditions.
Where to Find It
Potatoes, bananas, raisin bran cereal, lentils, liver, turkey, and tuna are all good sources of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 deficiencies are thought to be very rare. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause impaired immunity , skin lesions, and mental confusion. A marginal deficiency sometimes occurs in alcoholics , patients with kidney failure, and women using oral contraceptives. Some doctors believe that most diets do not provide optimal amounts of this vitamin. People with kidney failure have an increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.1 Vitamin B6 has also been reported to be deficient in some people with chronic fatigue syndrome .2
Best Form to Take
Vitamin B6 occurs naturally in three forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxine and the phosphate ester of pyridoxal (pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, abbreviated PLP) are the most commonly used supplement forms of vitamin B6. Because nearly all studies showing a beneficial effect of vitamin B6 have used pyridoxine, it is generally preferred over PLP, even though PLP is the major biologically active form of vitamin B6. However, there may be some cases where PLP is more effective than pyridoxine, such as in cases of vitamin B6-responsive anemia, vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy, infantile spams, autism, and carpal tunnel syndrome.3
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Since vitamin B6 increases the bioavailability of magnesium , these nutrients are sometimes taken together.
Interactions with Medicines
Certain medicines interact with this supplement.
Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check
Replenish Depleted Nutrients
Reduce Side Effects
Potential Negative Interaction
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
Vitamin B6 is usually safe, at intakes up to 200 mg per day in adults.4 However, neurological side effects can sometimes occur at that level.5 Levels higher than 200 mg are more likely to cause such problems. Vitamin B6 toxicity can damage sensory nerves, leading to numbness in the hands and feet as well as difficulty walking. The National Academy of Sciences performed an analysis of vitamin B6 studies. They determined the safe upper limit for long-term use is 100 mg per day. However, under supervision of a healthcare professional, up to 200 mg per day of vitamin B6 can be safely taken by most men and nonpregnant women for limited periods of time. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not take more than 100 mg of vitamin B6 per day without a doctor's supervision.
In a double-blind trial, people with diabetes who also had with kidney disease received a daily placebo or 2.5 mg of folic acid, 1 mg of vitamin B12, and 25 mg of vitamin B6 for three years. Compared with the placebo, vitamin supplementation accelerated the decline in kidney function and increased the incidence of cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) and heart disease-related deaths.6 Based on this study, diabetics with kidney disease should not take these vitamins without a doctor's supervision.
1. Makoff R. Vitamin replacement therapy in renal failure patients. Miner Electrolyte Metab 1999;25:349-51 [review].
2. Heap LC, Peters TJ, Wessely S. Vitamin B status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J R Soc Med 1999;92:183-5.
3. Gaby, AR. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, NH: Fritz Perlberg Publishing, 2011.
4. Gaby AR. Literature review & commentary. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.1990;Jun:338-9.
5. Parry G, Bredesen DE. Sensory neuropath with low-dose pyridoxine. Neurology 1985;35:1466-8.
6. House AA, Eliasziw M, Cattran DC, et al. Effect of B-vitamin therapy on progression of diabetic nephropathy. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2010;303:1603-9.
Last Review: 06-04-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.
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