Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.
Pyridoxal; Pyridoxine; Pyridoxamine
Vitamin B6 helps the body to:
Make antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases.
Maintain normal nerve function
Make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues. A vitamin B6 deficiency can cause a form of anemia.
Break down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.
Keep blood sugar (glucose) in normal ranges
Vitamin B6 is found in:
Legumes (dried beans)
Fortified breads and cereals may also contain vitamin B6. Fortified means that a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food.
(Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States.)
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin people should receive on a daily basis. The RDA for vitamins may be used to help create goals for each person.
How much of each vitamin is needed depends on a person's age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and illnesses, are also important. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.
Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin B6:
0 - 6 months: 0.1* milligrams per day (mg/day)
7 - 12 months: 0.3* mg/day
*Adequate intake (AI)
1 - 3 years: 0.5 mg/day
4 - 8 years: 0.6 mg/day
9 - 13 years: 1.0 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults
Males age 14 to 50 years: 1.3 mg/day
Males over 50 years: 1.7 mg/day
Females age 14 to 18 years: 1.2 mg/day
Females age 19 to 50 years: 1.3 mg/day
Females over 50 years: 1.5 mg/day
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
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Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, PantothenicAcid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998.
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Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.