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Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supplement benefits and dosage

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

Sophie Medlin
Head of Nutritional Research
February 17, 2020
5 min read

Vitamin B6 is one of eight vitamins that make up the B complex. It plays an important role in the metabolism and the release of energy from food, but it also has an effect on everything from the cardiovascular system to immunity to cognitive development. In this breakdown, we’ll go through the basics of what vitamin B6 benefits are, what the symptoms of a deficiency are, and which how to get vitamin B6 from food.

What is vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 comes from various forms of the chemical pyridoxine. It’s essential for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the metabolism, and also in the healthy functioning of red blood cells. However, we can’t produce it ourselves, so need to find external sources.

It’s possible to get a lot of the vitamin B6 we need from our diet, while other major sources of pyridoxine are supplements and our gut bacteria.

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, though, 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 benefits of vitamin B6.

How vitamin B6 interacts with other nutrients

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, if you decide to take a vitamin B6 supplement, it’s a good idea to take it with other B vitamins, in the morning. 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 absorption of other nutrients).

Foods that contain vitamin B6

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

The benefits of vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is one of the essential nutrients that we all need. It’s vital to all sorts of processes in both the body and brain, including:

  • Synthesising neurotransmitters

  • Aiding mood regulation

  • 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.

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency?

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.

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 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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Evidence

Here’s a handful of relevant scientific studies on vitamin B6.

  • Hvas, A. M., Juul, S., Bech, P., & Nexø, E. (2004). Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 73(6), 340-343.

  • Folstein, M., Liu, T., Peter, I., Buel, J., Arsenault, L., Scott, T., & Qiu, W. W. (2007). The homocysteine hypothesis of depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164(6), 861-867.

  • Herrmann, W., Lorenzl, S., & Obeid, R. (2007). Review of the role of hyperhomocysteinemia and B-vitamin deficiency in neurological and psychiatric disorders--current evidence and preliminary recommendations. Fortschritte der Neurologie-psychiatrie, 75(9), 515-527.

  • Nutt, D. J. (2008). Relationship of neurotransmitters to the symptoms of major depressive disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 69, 4-7.

  • Clayton, P. T. (2006). B 6-responsive disorders: a model of vitamin dependency. Journal of inherited metabolic disease, 29(2-3), 317-326.

  • Douaud, G., Refsum, H., de Jager, C. A., Jacoby, R., Nichols, T. E., Smith, S. M., & Smith, A. D. (2013). Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(23), 9523-9528.

We also used these sources when writing this article.

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/ https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/

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