WHAT IS VITAMIN B6?
Vitamin B6 is a nutrient necessary for the optimal function of the nervous and immune systems. Dietary deficiency is extremely rare because this vitamin is naturally present in many food sources, including fish, poultry, and bananas. The human body cannot synthesise vitamin B6, so we need to acquire it through food sources or supplements. Due to its chemical stability, pyridoxine hydrochloride is the most common form of B6 dietary supplement. Also called pyridoxine, it is a coenzyme for neurotransmitter synthesis and, therefore, vital for the normal brain development of babies.
WHAT IS VITAMIN B6 GOOD FOR?
Vitamin B6 is needed to produce neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid). Therefore, it plays a role in mood regulation. Studies also show depressive symptoms are linked to lower serum levels of this vitamin. There is also promising research about B6’s ability to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As a contributor to hemoglobin production, B6 supplementation may help prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia. Scientific findings suggest that high doses of this vitamin may also alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. This anti-inflammatory benefit is not selective; therefore, it may also improve other chronic conditions.
IS IT SAFE TO TAKE VITAMIN B6 DAILY FOR THE LONG TERM?
Since vitamin B6 is present in many food products, deficiency is rare. A secondary deficiency type may affect individuals taking pyridoxine-inactivating drugs and those suffering from alcohol use disorder and malabsorption syndromes. In these cases, it may be necessary to take vitamin B6 supplements. There is no severe reported side effect for long-term daily intake of this vitamin. It’s only essential to stay within the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Given its watersoluble nature, excess B6 will only pass to the urine or sweat. B6 toxicity is unlikely to occur through food sources.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN B6 DO YOU NEED?
The RDA for vitamin B6 is 1.3 milligrams (mg) for adults ages 50 and younger. The daily intake after age 50 should be 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women. The tolerable upper intake is 100 mg daily for adults, 80 mg for teens, and 40-60 mg for children. It’s possible to get these amounts through a balanced diet. Consult your healthcare provider first if you want to address a particular health issue through vitamin B6 supplements.