Vitamin B6 is a water soluble vitamin often found in supplement form as P-5-P or pyridoxine. Like other B vitamins, it is utilized by the body to help convert food into energy. In addition it is required for proper brain development.
One very important function of vitamin B6, related to the brain, is that it is required by the body so it can synthesize neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin. It is also involved in many other bodily functions
Recommended vitamin B6 intake by age:
--- 1-3 years - 0.5 milligrams per day.
--- 4-8 years - 0.6 milligrams per day.
--- 9-13 years - 1 milligram per day.
--- 14-18 years (male) - 1 milligram per day.
--- 14-18 years (female) - 1.2 milligrams per day.
--- Adult 19-50 (male and female) - 1.3 milligrams per day.
--- Adult 51+ (male) - 1.7 milligrams per day.
--- Adult 51+ (female) - 1.5 milligrams per day.
--- Adult (female pregnant) - 1.9 milligrams per day.
--- Adult (female breastfeeding) - 2 milligrams per day.
A deficiency of vitamin B6 can contribute to anxiety, depression, irritability, seizures, impaired concentration, impaired short-term memory, weakness in muscles. Eating foods that contain vitamin B6 is a good way to ensure you are getting enough.
Foods that have a large vitamin B6 content include:
--- Chicken Breast.
--- Fortified cereals.
If you are not getting enough vitamin B6 in your diet, vitamin B6 supplements are a good way to increase it. A vitamin B complex supplement can ensure you are getting enough B6 as well as all other B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12.
Excess B6 over extended periods can cause irreversible neurological damage. Restrict daily intake of vitamin B6 supplements to a maximum of the amounts indicated below:
--- 25-30 milligrams (children 1-3 years old).
--- 30-40 milligrams (children 4-8 years old).
--- 50-60 milligrams (children 9-13 years old).
--- 75-80 milligrams (adolescents 14-18 years old).
--- 75-100 milligrams (adults 19 years of age or older).
Possible side effects of vitamin B6 supplements include:
--- Stomach pain.
--- Allergic reaction.
--- Sunlight sensitivity.
--- Decrease in appetite.
Forms of vitamin B6 supplements include:
--- Pyridoxine - most common form of vitamin B6 supplement.
--- Pyridoxal phosphate (P-5-P) - active form of B6.
--- Pyridoxamine - a less common form of vitamin B6.
--- Pyritinol - a semi-synthetic analog of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is a very important vitamin and even if you think you are getting more than enough through diet and supplementing, your body might not be absorbing enough of it to satisfy the required need.
B6 deficiency can contribute to impaired thinking and memory, ADHD, depression, lack of energy, confusion, neuropathy, anxiety, irritability, seizures, weakness in muscles. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it might be worth trying supplements.
Adults should start with doses in the range of 30-50 milligrams, 1-3 times per day. Dose size can be increased if necessary. Maximum recommended daily intake is 300 mg for this purpose. Reduce dose size if you feel numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.