Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the metabolism of protein. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the metabolism and transport of iron, as well as in immune functions. In conjunction with folate and Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 controls normal blood homocysteine, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike other water-soluble vitamins which cannot be stored in the body, Vitamin B6 can be stored in muscle of tissues.

Recommended daily intakes (RDI) for Vitamin B6 (µg/day)

 

Age (years)

 

19-54

54+

Women

0.9-1.4

0.8-1.1

Men

1.3-1.9

1.3-1.9

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Deficiency is usually associated with complications due to illness or side-effects of medication. The symptoms are a feeling of weakness, irritability and insomnia. In extreme cases this can lead to growth failure and impaired motor function, although this is relatively uncommon.

Vitamin B6 toxicity

Long-term high intakes from supplements can cause sensory nerve damage, leading to numb feet, loss of sensation in the hands and eventually to an inability to carry out normal everyday activities. People can recover from these toxic effects after discontinuing use of supplements.

Food sources of Vitamin B6

Beef, fish and poultry are rich sources of Vitamin B6, as well as eggs, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables and fruits.