A member of the vitamin B complex family, Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble nutrient important to the function of the central nervous system, skin, and blood. It is the generic name for six compounds (vitamers) with vitamin B6 activity: pyridoxine, an alcohol; pyridoxal, an aldehyde; and pyridoxamine, which contains an amino group; and their respective 5’-phosphate esters. Pyridoxal 5’ phosphate (PLP) and pyridoxamine 5’ phosphate (PMP) are the active coenzyme forms of vitamin B6. In addition to being involved in the formation of red blood cells, Vitamin B6 plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism essential for liver functions and high energy levels.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in human life. The inclusion of this nutrient in a patient’s diet can bring about significant improvement in their health.  Some key benefits of B6 to human health are:

Boosts metabolism

As a metabolic enhancer, it assists the body to unlock energy and important nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food and affects the way they are absorbed and utilized by the body.

Affects emotions and moods

Its role in the functioning of the brain is crucial as B6 is used in the formation of several neurotransmitters. As neurotransmitters control and relay signals from one cell to another, Vitamin B6 affects our thought process, brain development, moods, and sleep cycles.

Role in women and children

In women, Vitamin B6 supplements have potential benefits towards controlling symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) like moodiness, irritability, anxiety and bloating. Expecting mothers are prescribed Vitamin B6 supplements to control both nausea and vomiting and it even helps in alleviate pregnancy-related depression. In infants, pyridoxine is administered intravenously to effectively treat and control pyridoxine-dependent seizures.

Reduces the risk of cardiac arrest

By reducing blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical linked to heart diseases and helping clogged arteries to remain open after angioplasty, pyridoxine aids in the healthy functioning of the heart and in reducing the risk of heart problems.

Skin care

By helping in the treatment of skin problems like eczema, dandruff, acne, hair loss, and dry skin, vitamin B6 helps in maintaining healthy skin and hair.  

Other benefits

There are studies to suggest that a combination of vitamin B6, B12 and folate may play a role in slowing cognitive decline and age-related memory loss. With involvement in more than 100 enzyme reactions mostly concerned with protein metabolism, vitamin B6 in coenzyme form performs a wide variety of functions in the body. A vitamin B6 diet is suggested for treating kidney disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, anemia, arthritis, and influenza.

An extremely versatile nutrient, vitamin B6 plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of all important functions both physical and physiological. Most importantly, without B6 our bodies will not be able to absorb vitamin B12. 


Though isolated cases of vitamin B6 deficiency are rare, vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in many forms owing to its role in a wide range of functions in the body.  Most common symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include fatigue, loss of appetite, adverse impact on hair and skin, dry and cracked lips, inflamed mouth and tongue and insomnia. Deficiency of this nutrient can also be seen in the form of lack of coordination while walking, anemia, mood swings, unclear thoughts, and weakness in different body parts. In infants, vitamin B6 deficiency causes irritability, abnormally acute hearing, and convulsive seizures,

The group of people most likely to suffer from Vitamin B6 deficiency consists of children, elderly people, people on certain medicines that can cause low levels of vitamin B6, and those who have trouble absorbing it from food or dietary supplements. People suffering from alcoholism, cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and congestive heart failure too have a tendency towards Vitamin B6 deficiency.

Given its role in the efficient working of the nervous system, there is enough research to suggest a direct link between vitamin B6 deficiency and brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.


While Vitamin B6 is essential for health its excess intake can lead to nerve damage and loss of control over body movements.  B6 can also cause oversensitivity to light leading to skin rashes, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps and loss of appetite. Therefore do not take supplements of Vitamin B6 without the advice of a doctor

 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set down guidelines for RDA of B6 for different age groups and gender. Broadly the RDA for adult men and women up to the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams daily. Men over 50 have an RDA of 1.7 mg, while women over 50 have an RDA of 1.5 mg.


Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and get flushed out of the body easily. Therefore, you need to make it a part of your daily diet. The rich sources of B6 include whole grains, beans, wheat germ, fish, meats, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits.


It is possible to get Vitamin B6 and other important nutrients from food items. A healthy and well-balanced diet is a sufficient source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It is important to consult your physician before taking any supplement of vitamin B6 to avoid side effects and overdose.

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