Vitamin B6 flies under the radar: Are you getting enough?

illustration of six yellow and black-striped bees grouped in a circle on a green background; words above and below help spell out the concept of vitamin B6

Though there are eight completely different B nutritional vitamins, some get extra consideration than others. And whereas vitamin B12 is commonly spotlighted for its function in conserving blood and nerve cells wholesome, vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, tends to fly beneath the radar.

Like a lot of the B nutritional vitamins, B6 is crucial, which implies your physique can’t synthesize it — it’s important to get this very important micronutrient out of your weight loss program. Are you getting all that your physique wants? That’s price asking, significantly for those who’re consuming much less of sure meals for well being or environmental causes.

What B6 does in your physique

Vitamin B6 performs a task in additional than 100 enzyme reactions within the physique. It helps your physique break down protein, carbohydrates, and fat that construct muscle, provide power, and fulfill a mess of important duties. Vitamin B6 additionally helps

  • maintain your immune system working nicely
  • create vital brain-signaling chemical compounds (neurotransmitters), together with serotonin and dopamine
  • make hemoglobin, the protein answerable for carrying oxygen in pink blood cells.

A B6 deficiency concern?

A current research discovered that just about 13% of Individuals could also be poor in vitamin B6, based mostly on blood ranges of the biologically lively type of the vitamin (pyridoxal 5-phosphate). Researchers famous that dying charges could also be considerably increased for folks with inadequate or poor B6 ranges. Nevertheless, it’s vital to place these findings in context.

“These are prone to be individuals who have low-quality diets total, so it’s troublesome to conclude that insufficient vitamin B6 is responsible,” says Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and vitamin on the Harvard T.H. Chan College of Public Well being.

Recommendation for getting sufficient vitamin B6

Though fish, dairy, and poultry are among the many richest sources of B6, this vitamin can also be present in beans, nuts, and plenty of fruit and veggies. So for those who eat a high-quality weight loss program that features contemporary, unprocessed meals, you’re most likely getting an sufficient quantity of vitamin B6, says Dr. Willett.

However more and more, some folks have begun reducing again on meat, dairy, and fish for well being or environmental causes. “In the event that they don’t exchange these misplaced energy with wholesome, plant-based protein similar to legumes and nuts, they may be in danger for insufficient vitamin B6 ranges,” says Dr. Willett.

Taking an ordinary, cheap multivitamin/multimineral complement is a method to make sure you’re getting an sufficient quantity of vitamin B6, together with sufficient quantities of different B nutritional vitamins. “In fact, a complement shouldn’t be meant to switch a nutritious diet, which additionally offers many health-promoting substances referred to as phytochemicals not present in capsules,” he provides.

Good sources of vitamin B6

For vitamin B6, the really useful dietary allowance (RDA) for adults ages 19 to 50 is 1.3 mg per day. For these 51 and older, the RDA is 1.7 mg for males and 1.5 mg for ladies.


Milligrams (mg) per serving

Chickpeas, canned, 1 cup


Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces


Rooster breast, roasted, 3 ounces


Potatoes, boiled, 1 cup


Banana, 1 medium


Marinara (spaghetti) sauce, 1 cup


Cottage cheese, 1% fats, 1 cup


Bulgur, cooked, 1 cup


Winter squash, baked, 1/2 cup


Nuts, combined, dry roasted, 1 ounce


Spinach, frozen, chopped, boiled, 1/2 cup


Watermelon, 1 cup


Supply: NIH Workplace of Dietary Dietary supplements

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