Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), along with other B vitamins, plays a key part in converting food into energy. Vitamin B6 in particular is essential to maintaining the health of the body and the optimal development of the brain.
Our body needs vitamin B6 for the proper functioning of the metabolism of red blood cells, the nervous system, the immune system and many vital organs.
In fact, vitamin B6 is so important that existing research suggests that
this vitamin has led to the appearance of the first life forms on Earth.
Like other B vitamins, it is soluble in water, which means that it cannot be stored in the body. That’s why it’s necessary to consume it in sufficient amounts from foods.
Recent studies suggest that when the daily requirement of vitamin B6 is not covered by the diet, the risk of heart attack increases.
Benefits of Vitamin B6
As an essential vitamin necessary for the body’s normal functioning, vitamin B6 has many important health benefits. Specifically, vitamin B6:
- Promotes the formation of antibodies and increases resistance to infections
- Decreases the risk of kidney stones
- Reduces the number and intensity of seizures in asthmatics
- Prevents muscle spasms
- Eases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Facilitates the metabolism of amino acids, proteins, fats and haemoglobin
- Facilitates the conversion of glycogen into glucose
- Reduces muscle spasms and cramps that occur during the night
- Prevents the formation of dandruff
- Contributes to the delay of the ageing process
- Eases nervous tension
- Helps reduce the pain associated with the menstrual cycle
- Helps reduce nausea
Vitamin B6 Food Sources
Almost all types of meat contain a reasonable amount of vitamin B6.
Poultry products, such as turkey and chicken, provide about 0.5mg of vitamin B6 per serving.
Similarly, beef also contains high concentrations of this vitamin, in addition to other nutrients. You can easily integrate meat into your routine diet through simple recipes and snacks.
- Beef liver: three ounces of beef liver provide 53% of your B6 NRV.
- Ground beef is also a good source of pyridoxine. A 3-ounce serving of ground beef covers up to 16% of your NRV.
- Chicken: A 3.5-ounce serving of lean chicken breast provides 54% of your recommended intake.
- Turkey: two thick slices or 2.9 ounces of turkey gives you around 49% of vitamin B6 NRV.
Vitamin B6 can also be found in various types of fish, such as tuna, trout, salmon, cod and so on.
The dose of vitamin B6 present in a portion of tuna is enough to meet almost half of your daily intake of this vitamin. Salmon gives you over half a mg of vitamin B6 per serving.
- Tuna: Three ounces of cooked yellowfin fresh tuna covers 53% of your NRV.
- Salmon: Three ounces of cooked sockeye salmon gives you around 35% of the vitamin’s DV.
While most vegetables usually have significant amounts of vitamin B6, those with the highest density include spinach, red pepper, peas, broccoli and asparagus. In addition to being rich in B6, these low-fat vegetables contain several other vitamins and nutrients that benefit health.
Banana is the best example of fruit rich in vitamin B6. A quantity of 100g bananas provides 0.30 mg of vitamin B6. Eat it as plain fruit or add it to a fruit salad to get its nutritional benefits.
5. Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts are also good dietary sources of vitamin B6. One cup of sunflower seeds contains 1.1 mg of vitamin B6, while a 100g serving of sesame seeds provides 0.8 mg.
Try adding sesame or sunflower seeds to salads or even sandwiches to supplement your vitamin B6 intake.
Peanuts, pistachios and peanuts are also rich sources of vitamin B6. The great news? You can easily incorporate them into various recipes or eat them as healthful snacks.
6. Dried herbs and spices
Various dried herbs and spices are also rich in vitamin B6. A tablespoon of hot pepper powder delivers 0.29mg of vitamin B6, while a tablespoon of paprika provides 0.28mg.
Dried garlic, tarragon, sage, basil, chives, thyme, turmeric, rosemary, dill and oregano are other good sources of vitamin B6.
7. Bran and whole wheat
Raw rice, wheat bran and other whole foods are also among the most valuable sources of several essential nutrients, including vitamin B6.
8. Beans and vegetables
Adding vegetables and beans to your diet is a great way to maintain vitamin B6 levels in your body. Beans, soybeans, chickpeas and lemons are the best alternatives to avoid vitamin B6 deficiency.
A large number of essential vitamins and minerals, molasses makes a good substitute for processed sugar. This ingredient is known to provide approximately 0.67mg serving of vitamin B6 per 100g.
Liver is a rich source of vitamin B6. However, you shouldn’t consume it in excessive amounts as liver has a high level of cholesterol. Excessive consumption can cause you to develop other health problems.
Vegetarian Vitamin B6 Food Sources
- Acorn squash: one cup of cooked acorn squash gives you up to 20% of your vitamin B6 NRV.
- Spinach: half a cup of boiled / chopped / frozen spinach covers around 6% of the vitamin’s DV.
- Potatoes: one cup of boiled potatoes gives you around 25% of the vitamin’s DV.
- Chickpeas: one cup will cover 65% of the vitamin B6 NRV.
- Pistachio nuts: 3.5 ounces of pistachio nuts covers 100% of your recommended intake of vitamin B6.
- Chestnuts: You will get 25% of the NRV in ten kernels of roasted chestnuts.
- Bananas: one medium banana covers approximately 33% NRV.
- Watermelon: a cup of watermelon gives you around 6% of the vitamin B6 NRV.
- Avocados: one avocado gives you up to 30% of the vitamin’s DV.
- Elderberries: one cup of this fruit gives you up to 20% of vitamin B6 NRV.
- Mango: ¾ of a cup of mango gives you up to 8% of your recommended vitamin B6 intake.
- Pineapples: one cup of pineapple cut in pieces gives you around 11% of the vitamin’s DV.
- Apricots: one cup of apricots gives you 5% of the vitamin’s DV.
- Grapes: one cup of red or green grapes covers 6% of vitamin B6’s DV.
Vitamin B6 Supplements
Vitamin B6 supplements are available as capsules or tablets. The researchers say there is no evidence of any negative effects from consuming too much B6 in food.
However, it has been shown that taking 1 to 6 grams of oral pyridoxine a day for 12 to 40 months can cause severe and progressive sensory neuropathy.
Vitamin B6 Recommended Daily Dose
The recommended intake of vitamin B6 varies based on age, gender and medical history.
- Infants 0-6 months: 0.1 mg
- Infants 7-12 months: 0.3 mg
- Children 1-3 years: 0.5 mg
- Children 4-8 years: 0.6 mg
- Children 9-13 years: 1 mg
- Men 14-50 years: 1.3 mg
- Men over 50 years: 1.7 mg
- Women 14-18 years: 1.2 mg
- Women aged 19-50: 1.3 to 1.7 mg
- Women over 50 years: 1.5 mg
- Pregnant women: 1.9 mg
- Breastfeeding women: 2 mg