Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that has many uses within the body. It is involved in more bodily processes than any other vitamin or mineral.Amongst its vital roles are:
- converting food into energy
- the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates
- forming red blood cells
- maintaining the proper functioning of the nervous system
- the synthesis of hormones, neurotransmitters and cholesterol
Our bodies cannot produce B6 and very little can be stored by the body.
We must get B6 from foods and supplements. Depletion can occur quite rapidly so regular, preferably daily, intake is required.
Processing, cooking in water, defrosting and extremes of pH will remove B6 from foods
B6 occurs in low concentrations in many natural foods, but is quite easily lost. Foods that are a good source of B6 include:
chicken, beef, potatoes, liver, kidney, eggs, broccoli, and unprocessed grains.
Your lifestyle may increase the risk of deficiency
Aside from a poor diet, deficiencies can occur due to:
- use of the contraceptive pill
- alcohol intake
- heavy exercise
- high stress
Severe B6 deficiency is rare, but even a moderate deficit has health consequences. Some of the symptoms of mild deficiency are similar for all B Group vitamins:
- energy production is reduced which can cause tiredness, irritability, fatigue, and apathy.
- nervous system symptoms such as muscle weakness, cramps and numbness.
A lack of B6 can cause anemia. In addition, mild B6 deficiency may cause: skin complaints such as dandruff, rashes and dermatitis, especially around the mouth. Neurological signs include insomnia and depression.
|Age||Estimated Average Requirements (EAR)||Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)|
|Women||>51 yr||1.3 mg/day||1.5 mg/day|
|Men||>51 yr||1.4 mg/day||1.7 mg/day|
|Women||19-50 yr||1.1 mg/day||1.3 mg/day|
|Men||19-50 yr||1.1 mg/day||1.3 mg/day|
|Girls||14-18 yr||1.0 mg/day||1.2 mg/day|
|Boys||9-13 yr||0.8 mg/day||1.0 mg/day|
|Girls||9-13 yr||0.8 mg/day||1.0 mg/day|
|Boys||14-18 yr||1.1 mg/day||1.3 mg/day|
|Children||4-8 yr||0.5 mg/day||0.6 mg/day|
|Children||1-3 yr||0.4 mg/day||0.5 mg/day|
* Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. National health and Medical Research Council
An upper level of intake of 50 mg/day for men and non-pregnant, adult women is suggested. For children and adolescents the following upper limits are recommended:
|1-3 yr||15 mg/day|
|4-8 yr||20 mg/day|
|9-13 yr||30 mg/day|
|14-18 yr||40 mg/day|