What Does Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Do to Your Body?


​​Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. It is one of the six B vitamins essential to the body. Vitamin B6 has many health functions for the body. These include better circulation and improved immunity. They also decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into these health functions. We will also discuss those at risk of deficiency and end off on intake and food recommendations.

Health Functions

Vitamin B6 helps promote better circulation within the body. It helps regulate the amount of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is broken down by vitamin B6 to create essential chemicals. if it is in too high of amounts, it can lead to heart problems. A stronger immune system is also built with adequate vitamin B6 levels. This is due to vitamin B6’s role in chemical reactions related to the immune system.

Vitamin B6 is also needed to make serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates mood. Therefore, making vitamin B6 contributes to an overall good mood. Research shows that having low levels of vitamin B6 levels are associated with depression. Evidence also suggests that adequate vitamin B6 in the blood decreases the risk of cancer. They can promote better brain function. Deficiencies of this vitamin could contribute to cognitive impairment and decline. It also helps prevent  memory dysfunction. 

Disease Risk Reduction

Getting enough vitamin B6 levels is essential. It helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is due to its role in homocysteine regulation, as discussed in the previous section. Vitamin B6 also has a big role in homocysteine metabolism. This helps improve brain function. This is because high levels of homocysteine have been associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also related to cognitive decline.  

Groups at Risk

Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare. Some conditions may lead to vitamin B6 deficiencies. This includes kidney disease, malabsorption syndrome, and alcohol abuse. Those following a vegetarian diet may also be at risk of low vitamin B6. This is because they may not consume enough vitamin B6-containing foods. 

Intake Recommendations

Intake recommendations may vary due to age. For adults 50 and under years of age, it’s recommended to obtain 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 per day. For men and women over 50 years, the recommendation is 1.7 and 1.5 mg per day, respectively.

Vitamin B6 can be found naturally in many foods. It is also available as a supplement. Foods rich in Vitamin B6 include chicken and salmon. Oatmeal, bananas, nuts, dates, and kale are also good sources of vitamin B6.

We recommend eating a well-balanced and varied diet. This will provide most individuals with adequate vitamin B6 levels. Consuming adequate vitamin B6 is very crucial. This is because it has many health benefits for the body. This includes improved mood and better brain health. It also decreases the risk of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Choose foods high in vitamin B6! We recommend eating dates to make sure you are getting adequate levels daily.

Written by:

Allison Tallman, MS, RDN, CNSC

Registered Dietitian

Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian
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