What is vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is naturally present in many foods and required by the body for more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism. It also assists brain development during pregnancy as well as immune function.

The active coenzyme in vitamin B6 assists other enzymes to perform various functions, including the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, regulating levels of homocysteine (which prevents heart problems), and supporting immune function and brain health.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) benefits

  • Assists cognitive development
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Strengthens immune function 
  • May help prevent cancer 
  • Reduces PMS symptoms
  • Reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy

How much vitamin B6 do you need per day?

  • Adult Women: 1.3 mg
  • Adult Men: 1.3 mg
  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women: 1.9-2 mg

Natural sources of vitamin B6

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Organ meat
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit (not including citrus)
  • Vitamin-fortified cereals
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Dark leafy green vegetables: turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli
  • Bananas 
  • Papayas
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe

Learn about vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms.

Further reading: Harvard School of Public Health, National Institutes for Health (1),(2)