What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble B vitamin essential in over 100 enzymatic processes throughout the body.1 For example, this vitamin is involved in the formation of red blood cells, immune system cells, nerve cells, proteins, and in the production of energy.1,2
Benefits of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 may, with other B vitamins, reduce risk factors of cardiovascular disease.1–4 Vitamin B6 deficiency, typically occurring with deficiencies in other B vitamins (e.g. folate, vitamin B12), may result in anemia.1,3 Thus, adequate intake of vitamin B6 may help reduce the risk of anemia in some people. Vitamin B6 helps make another B vitamin called niacin (vitamin B3) from the amino acid tryptophan, so vitamin B6 can be an important source of niacin.1 Furthermore, vitamin B6 may play a role in cognitive function as it is involved in myelin formation (the covering of nerve cells) and in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.1,3
Foods High in Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 can be found naturally in many foods including 100% orange juice. Significant amounts of vitamin B6 can be found in potatoes, chickpeas, meat, poultry, fish, avocados, and bananas.
An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice supplies 8% of the recommended Daily Value for vitamin B6.*
As part of a well-balanced diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, vitamin B6 with folate and B12 may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.1-4
Life Stage Benefits
Below are age specific benefits vitamin B6 provides the body:
Kids, Teen & Young Adults
- As children grow, vitamin B6 needs increase. 1
- Vitamin B6, and other B vitamins, are needed for red blood cells to be able to circulate oxygen and sustain energy levels.1
- Vitamin B6 requirements increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding.1,3
- Breastmilk B6 concentrations are dependent upon maternal intake.1,2
- Vitamin B6 in combination with folate and B12 may help reduce the amino acid homocysteine in your body, which is linked to cardiovascular disease.1-4
- Some research suggests vitamin B6 may play a role in supporting cognitive function.1-3
*Values based on a 2000 calorie diet. FDA rounding rules applied when calculating percent DV based upon 2018 rules. Information is not intended for labeling food in packaged form. Nutrient values may vary based on brand or product types.
- Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 1998:150-188.
- Stover et al. Adv Nutr. 2015;6:132-133.
- Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. (2017). Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin B6.
- Debreceni et al. Cardiovasc Ther. 2014;32(3):130-138.