Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6-rich foods include bananas, salmon, liver, tuna, chickpeas, poultry, dark leafy greens, and bananas.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found naturally in many foods as well as in foods and supplements. The active coenzyme form and most common measure of B6 blood levels in the body is pyridoxal 5′ phosphate (PLP). PLP is a coenzyme that helps more than 100 enzymes perform various functions, such as protein, carbohydrate, and fat breakdown; maintaining normal homocysteine levels (high levels can cause heart problems); and supporting immune function and brain health.


The RDA for men aged 14 to 50 years is 1.3 mg per day; for men aged 51 and up, it is 1.7 mg per day. The RDA for women ages 14-18 years is 1.2 mg; 19-50 years, 1.3 mg; and 51+ years, 1.5 mg. The amount increases to 1.9 mg mcg and 2.0 mg during pregnancy and lactation, respectively. [


A Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily dose unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population. The UL for adults aged 19 and up is 100 mg per day, with slightly lower amounts for children and teenagers. This amount can only be obtained through the use of supplements. Even higher doses of vitamin B6 supplements are occasionally prescribed for medical reasons, but only under the supervision of a physician, as too much vitamin B6 can be toxic.

Vitamin B6 and Health

Vitamin B6 has been widely studied for its role in disease prevention.

The vitamin in supplement form shows the most promise for the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea, but such use should only occur under the supervision of a physician. In comparison to low blood levels, adequate B6 levels may be associated with a lower risk of cancer. Separate B6 supplements (aside from the RDA amounts in typical multivitamin preparations) are inconclusive and not recommended.

Cardiovascular illness

Cognitive ability


Early morning sickness

Sources of Food

Vitamin B6 can be found in a wide range of animal and plant foods.

Liver of beef



Cereals fortified



Some fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens, bananas, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe

Toxicity and Deficiency Symptoms


A vitamin B6 deficiency most often occurs when other B vitamins in the body are low, particularly vitamin B12 and folic acid. A mild deficiency may be asymptomatic, but a more severe or prolonged deficiency may manifest as follows:

Anemia with microcytic cells

Skin problems



Immune deficiency

Certain conditions can raise the risk of developing a deficiency by interfering with vitamin B6 absorption:

Kidney disease

Autoimmune intestinal disorders like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease

Autoimmune inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis