What is Vitamin B6? How does it help the body? Which foods contain it?
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps maintain healthy metabolism, liver function, nerve function, skin, eyes and energy levels. It can be found in many food sources such as cheese and eggs, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement.
It also helps to maintain a healthy nervous system, make haemoglobin that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body, store energy from proteins and carbohydrates, balance blood sugar levels, stabilise mental function and mood, and create antibodies that our immune system uses to protect us. It also lowers the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin B6 helps keep the body healthy in numerous ways:
Supporting brain function– Studies show Vitamin B6 has a positive effect on memory. It plays an important role in making two hormones, Serotonin and Norepinephrine which are known as happy hormones.
Treating Anemia– Vitamin B6 is required for creating haemoglobin, this helps bring oxygen to the blood. Anemia occurs when the body doesn’t make enough red blood cells resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, unusually rapid heart beats, shortness of breath and dizziness.
Decreasing Asthma attacks– This Vitamin has been shown to possibly help with asthma, reducing symptoms of wheezing and lowering the frequency of the attacks.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency include:
- Muscle pain
- Fatigue and Low energy
- Changes in mood
Studies indicate that a deficiency in Vitamin B6 is linked to a high risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The Recommended Intake (RI) per day of Vitamin B6 varies with age and gender
- Infants 0–1 years: 0.3 milligrams (mg)
- Children 1–8 years: 0.5mg-0.6mg
- Children 8–16 years: 0.6mg-1.0mg
- Boys 14–18 years: 1.2mg-1.3mg
- Men 18 years plus: 1.4mg
- Women 18 years plus: 1.2mg (Source: Dr. Josh Axe DNM, DC, CNS)
Which foods provide Vitamin B6?
You should be able to get all the vitamin B6 you need from your diet. It is found in foods including:
- Wholegrain cereals – oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice
Infants, toddlers and young children can also get their recommended intake of vitamin B6 and other vitamins from supplements such as ActiKid® Multi-Vitamin Drops and ActiKid® Magic Beans Multi-Vitamin. They are available in all good pharmacies, health stores and online.