How Vitamin B6 Works

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Many researchers speculate that Americans don't get enough vitamin B6. Although there's no evidence of severe deficiency, many nutritionists believe the usual intake of the vitamin falls well below the RDA, perhaps causing borderline deficiency. Certain food dyes, especially FD&C yellow #5, and medications interfere with vitamin B6 so the body ends up with less of the nutrient available for use. Widespread use of these B6 antagonists may be the underlying problem behind many of the health conditions that respond favorably to supplementation of the vitamin. In this article you'll learn why vitamin B6 is so good for you and the wide range of ways to add more of it to your diet.

  • What Is Vitamin B6?

    There are actually three substances that occur naturally in food that have the properties of vitamin B6:
    pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal. Although pyridoxine, the first one of these compounds to be discovered, is often used as a synonym for vitamin B6, the three compounds all have the same effect on the body. On this page you'll learn how B6 functions.

  • Benefits of Vitamin B6

    B6 is effective against more than 100 health conditions. It's used against maladies as serious as heart disease and everyday aggravations such as premenstrual syndrome and sensitivity to MSG. It can even help prevent the formation of kidney stones! This page takes a look at several of the problems that vitamin B6 can alleviate.

  • Foods That Contain Vitamin B6

    All foods contain either
    pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, or pyridoxal in some amount. Meats, whole grains, beans, and some fruits tend to be plentiful in B6, but a large enough serving of vegetables can also provide a healthy dose. You'll find information on how to get dietary B6, and a chart showing some of the most abundant sources, on this page.

  • Vitamin B6 Deficiency

    Although vitamin B6 is plentiful in our foods, and although the recommended daily allowance isn't very high, many people still do not get enough in their diets. On this page you'll learn how much B6 you should get every day (it varies by age), and which medications might increase your need for B6.

  • Vitamin B6 Supplements

    If you do choose to take vitamin B6 in pill form, be careful of the dosage. You should stay between 50 and 100 micrograms a day; in doses over 200 micrograms, the vitamin can actually start to become toxic. Find out what could happen if you take too high a supplement on this page.
Vitamin B6 is just one of the many vitamins that are part of a healthy diet. Check out the following links to learn more:
  • Biotin aids in metabolism, turning food into energy. Learn more at How Biotin Works.
  • Vitamin B1, or thiamin, is one of the essentil vitamins added back to "enriched" foods. Learn about it at How Vitamin B1 Works.
  • When teamed with other B vitamins, B2 helps in metabolism. Find out what it does at How Vitamin B2 Works.
  • Found mostly in protein, Vitamin B3 keeps us strong. How Vitamin B3 Works explains what happens if you don't get enough of it.
  • Relax; you'll find the stress-busting Vitamin B5 in every food you eat. Learn about it at How Vitamin B5 Works.
  • To learn about the many vitamins in our diet, how much you should be eating, and where to find them, go to our general Vitamins page.
  • If you were looking for the best prices on B vitamin supplements, click here. 
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.