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Vitamin B6 benefits, dosage, and deficiency

Everything you need to know about the benefits of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and whether you need a supplement.

ingredients 11 vitamin-B6 illustration
Sophie Medlin
Sophie Medlin
Head of Nutritional Research
June 29, 2022
5 min read

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is one of eight vitamins that make up the B complex. It plays an important role in your metabolism and the release of energy from your food. It also affects everything from your cardiovascular system to immunity to cognitive development. However, we can’t produce it ourselves, so need to find external sources.

In this breakdown, we’ll go through the basics of what vitamin B6 benefits are, the symptoms of a deficiency, and how to make sure you get enough vitamin B6 in your diet.

Article breakdown

What is vitamin B6 good for?

Vitamin B6 is one of the essential nutrients that we all need and is vital to all sorts of processes in both the body and brain.

It comes from various forms of the chemical pyridoxine and is essential for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the metabolism and the healthy functioning of red blood cells.

So, what are the benefits of vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 Benefits

  • Synthesising neurotransmitters

  • Aiding mood regulation (although more research is needed, some people take B6 for anxiety)

  • Regulating energy release from food

  • Contributing to haemoglobin production

On top of that, a clinical trial found that high levels helped slow the shrinking of the brain in areas associated with cognitive decline.

Another benefit of vitamin B6 is its role in metabolising homocysteine, which is important as elevated levels have been associated with higher risks of depression, psychiatric disorders, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Does vitamin B6 give you energy?

Like many other B vitamins, B6 is important in the processes that allow us to use and store energy from our food. Because of this, vitamin B6 health benefits are most noticeable when taken in a supplement with other B vitamins. This will ensure optimum energy release.

On top of that, iron and B6 are both needed to form haemoglobin, while magnesium and vitamin B6 work together to increase absorption (although magnesium does often inhibit the absorption of other nutrients).

What are the symptoms of low vitamin B6?

Deficiencies in vitamin B6 are considered rare, particularly in isolation from other B vitamins, although additional factors like malabsorption syndromes can play a role.

In the early stages of a vitamin B6 deficiency, symptoms are uncommon, and this can continue for years. If the deficiency is left to develop unaddressed, it can lead to certain types of anaemia, dermatitis, depression, and a weakened immune system.

Foods that contain vitamin B6

It’s possible to get a lot of the vitamin B6 we need from our diet. While vitamin B6 is found in the largest quantities in animal products, there are plant-based foods that contain it too. Some of the best dietary sources are:

  • pork

  • poultry

  • some fish

  • peanuts

  • oats

  • bananas

If you're finding it hard to get enough B6 in your diet alone or would like to boost the vitamin B6 benefits, you might wish to try a supplement. A B6 supplement benefits you as it ensures you're getting a high enough dosage to feel the effects and can be taken as part of the whole vitamin B complex.

Vitamin B6 dosage

The nutrient reference value (NRV) for vitamin B6 varies in the UK according to age and gender. However, in the EU, the NRV is 1.4mg a day.

In each dose of the Smart Supplement, there’s 20mg (equivalent to 9oz tuna steak or 3 cups of chickpeas), which is 1429% the NRV. In this instance, the NRV is more of a minimum amount, and higher doses have been shown to be beneficial.

That’s the reason that we include so much in the Smart Supplement, to ensure you are getting the B6 vitamin benefits.

Are there any side effects of vitamin B6?

As a water-soluble nutrient, vitamin B6 toxicity isn’t generally considered a problem, and there aren’t any known side effects to taking a vitamin B6 supplement, unless you’re taking enormous doses. That means we can pack a lot of it into the Smart Supplement, and still stay a long way from the NHS guideline of no more than 200mg a day.

How we use vitamin B6 in the Smart Supplement

We've designed the Heights Smart Supplement with vitamin B6 from pyridoxine hydrochloride, so that you feel the full pyridoxine benefits. You can be sure that:

  • Each dose contains 1429% of the NRV for vitamin B6.

  • Our vitamin B6 is pure and quality-tested.

  • Everything is manufactured in small batches.

  • It meets many common dietary and lifestyle practices: It's gluten-free, 100% plant-based, allergen-free and contains absolutely zero GMOs, contaminants, fillers or colourants.

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Heights Smart Supplement with blueberries and a snap pea
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Here’s a handful of relevant scientific studies on vitamin B6.

We also used these sources when writing this article:

  • Smart Supplement
  • Braincare Journal
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