Vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine, is one of eight B vitamins. The nutrients from this essential vitamin family are necessary for vital functions throughout your body. These functions include reducing stress as well as maintaining overall good health.
Vitamin B-6 is often lacking in the average American diet. It’s available in supplement form, but you can also up your intake with these 15 foods. It’s always best to take in your vitamins through foods.
Readily available in food as well as dietary supplements, vitamin B6 is important for a number of bodily functions. Discover the many vitamin B6 benefits.
The family of B vitamins, which are also known as B complex vitamins, plays an important role in converting food into energy and helping the body metabolize fats and proteins. The B vitamins are also important for healthy hair, skin, liver, and eyes. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is one in this group of eight vitamins. Vitamin B6 helps a lot of the systems in your body function,” says Dee Sandquist, MS, RD, CD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “It is important for cardiovascular, digestive, immune, muscular, and nervous system function. It is one of the vitamins that are behind the scenes.” The B6 vitamin is needed for proper brain development and function and to make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which affect mood. Vitamin B6 also helps the body make melatonin, which is important in helping regulate your internal clock.
How Much Should I take?
All B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they dissolve in the body’s fluids, and any unneeded amounts are excreted in the urine — the body is not able to store any leftover B vitamin for future needs. You need sources of vitamin B6 as well as the other B vitamins every day. The exact amount of B6 vitamin you need depends on your age, gender, and any special circumstances, such as whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Here is an overview of how much B6 vitamin people need at different stages of life:
- Newborn to 6 months: 0.1 milligram (mg) per day Infants 7 months to 1 year: 0.3 mg
- Children 1 to 3 years: 0.5 mg
- Children 4 to 8 years: 0.6 mg
- Children 9 to 13 years: 1 mg
- Boys 14 to 18 years: 1.3 mg
- Girls 14 to 18 years: 1.2 mg
- Men and women 19 to 50 years: 1.3 mg
- Men 51 years and older: 1.7 mg
- Women 51 years and older: 1.5 mg
- Pregnant women: 1.9 mg
- Breastfeeding women: 2.0 mg
Most people who eat a well-balanced, varied diet will get the required amount of vitamin B6 without having to take dietary supplements. The recommended amount for an average adult under age 50 is 1.3 milligrams — you can easily get that from food.
For older adults, however, getting enough vitamin B6 may be a problem. After age 50, the recommended amount of vitamin B6 is 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women. This can be a challenge for older Americans who may be living alone and cooking less. Older people should ask about having their vitamin B6 levels tested by their doctor, she suggests.