Vitamin B6: What You Should Know

Sources, Benefits, Forms, Dosage 

What is Vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is one of the thirteen essential vitamins, and also one of the eight B vitamins. Essential vitamins need to be present in the diet because the human body cannot make the nutrients on its own, or in sufficient amounts to sustain normal and healthy bodily functions.1 Vitamin B6 is considered an essential vitamin due to its many physiological health benefits, and along with being essential it is also water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the liver or fatty-tissue like with fat-soluble vitamins.1 Since water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out of the body it is uncommon to develop toxic side effects.

Benefits of Vitamin B6 – There are many

Vitamin B6pyridoxal phosphate, functions as a coenzyme for reactions involving protein metabolism, and is used to synthesize nonessential amino acids.1,2 The body is capable of making nonessential amino acids without them being present in the diet, but without Vitamin B6 all nonessential amino acids would become essential, and would need to exist in the diet.1 Vitamin B6 is also involved in the conversion of essential amino acid, tryptophan, into the essential vitamin, niacin.1

Vitamin B6 also is involved with cognitive function because of its role in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are both involved in sleep and mood regulation.1 It is also thought that Vitamin B6 may have a role in preventing cognitive decline in the older population.2 Other research shows that it may even help to prevent certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.2

The different forms of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has three main dietary forms, called pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, which need to be converted into pyridoxal 5’phosphate in the body.1,3,4 The pyridoxine form is the form that is found in plant sources, fortified foods, and most Vitamin B6 nutrition supplements, while the pyridoxamine form is mostly found in animal dietary sources.1,4 Some supplements are also found in the Vitamin B6 coenzyme form, called pyridoxal phosphate.2


The video below further explains more about the benefits of the essential vitamin, Vitamin B6.

Sources of Vitamin B6 – From food and nutrition supplements

Vitamin B6 is naturally sensitive to extreme temperatures and the nutrient content can be diminished or destroyed when cooking, freezing, or preparing meals.1,4 Dietary sources with high amounts of Vitamin B6include garbanzo beans, fish, beef, chicken, organ meats, bananas, potatoes, and fortified cereals.1,5 Vitamin B6 in nutrition supplements usually includes the pyridoxine form, and is commonly found in supplements such as B-complex vitamins that include Vitamin B6 in addition to other B vitamins, and it can also be found as the sole ingredient in other products.2 There is not much of a difference of the bioavailability of Vitamin B6 from food sources and nutrition supplements.2

Recommended daily dose of Vitamin B6 – What physicians advise

The recommended daily dose for nutrients is unique to a person’s age, gender, and other personal factors. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B6 as a reference to meet the needs of healthy individuals. For infants the RDA has not been established, but an adequate intake (AI) level of 0.1 – 0.3 mg has been set as a guideline for nutritional adequacy. The RDA of Vitamin B6 for healthy adults, men and women, ages 19 – 50 years is 1.3 mg/day.4 For individuals over the age of 50 the RDA is set for 1.7 mg/day for men and 1.5 mg/day for women.4

Recommended Dietary Allowance
(RDA) Vitamin B6
Infants (0 – 12 months) 0.1 – 0.3 mg/day AI
Children (1 -8 years) 0.5 – 0.6 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 1 – 1.3 mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 1.3 – 1.7 mg/day
Pregnant and Lactating Women 1.9 – 2 mg/day

Table 1: Daily Vitamin B6 Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to Meet the Needs of Healthy Individuals4

Certain populations may need to be more mindful when evaluating their Vitamin B6 needs. For example, it is recommended for vegetarians to consume higher levels of Vitamin B6 by eating fortified foods or adding a nutrition supplement to their daily regimen.3 Other individuals who are recommended to consult with their physician to determine Vitamin B6 needs include those using the cycloserine antibiotic as it may interfere with the absorption and storage of Vitamin B6 and those taking antiepileptic drugs.2 With any particular medication or health condition it is always best to consult with your primary healthcare provider before taking the Healthycell® products or any nutrition supplement.

Vitamin B6 toxicity – more common

The pyridoxal phosphate form of Vitamin B6 can be stored in muscle and liver cells even as a water-soluble vitamin.1 Therefore, Vitamin B6 toxicity is one of the more common water-soluble vitamin toxicities, especially when mega-dosing with supplements.1 Toxicity of Vitamin B6 is typically seen in doses of 1 – 6 g/day for over a year.2

Vitamin B6 toxicity symptoms include numbness in extremities, trouble walking, and other neurological issues.1,2,3 For this reason, a maximum level that may cause an adverse event, also known as a tolerable upper intake level (UL) has been established to avoid toxic side effects.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of Vitamin B6
Infants (0 – 12 months)
Children (1 -8 years) 30 – 40 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 60 – 80 mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 100 mg/day

Table 2: Daily Vitamin B6 Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)3

Individuals under the care of a healthcare professional who use Vitamin B6 for medical reasons are excluded from the UL.2

Vitamin B6 deficiency, symptoms, and people at risk

Vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon, and deficiency would most likely be accompanied by other micronutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and folate.2 Deficiency results in microcytic, hypochromic anemia, which causes red blood cells to be small and lightly colored, which impairs them from delivering oxygen to tissues.1,4 Other symptoms of inadequate Vitamin B6 include dermatitis, such as dandruff or scaling skin around the mouth, swollen tongue, depression, confusion, and fatigue.1,2 Those who are at risk for Vitamin B6 deficiency include those with impaired metabolism, malnourished, autoimmune disorders, poor renal function, and alcoholism.2,3,4

Vitamin Bin Healthycell® Pro – Only the best

The source of Vitamin B6 in Healthycell Pro is Pyridoxine HCl.  The dosage of Vitamin B6 in Healthycell Pro is 5 mg in the morning formula and 5 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 10 mg, satisfying 500% of the Daily Value (%DV).

The form of Vitamin B6 Healthycell® uses is pyridoxal 5-phosphate. The dosage of Vitamin B6 in Healthycell® is 8 mg in the morning formula and 2 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 10 mg, satisfying 500% of the Daily Value (%DV). Nutrition supplement labeling and food labeling guidelines use Reference Daily Intake (RDI) as the standard for dosage.


  1. McGuire, Michelle, PhD, and Kathy Beerman A., PhD. “Chapter 10 Water-Soluble

Vitamins.” Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. 2nd ed. Australia:

Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007. 456-458. Print.

2. “Vitamin B6.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health

and Human Services, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

3. Higdon, Jane, Ph.D, Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D, Barbara Delage, Ph.D, and Jesse F.

Gregory, Ph.D. “Vitamin B6.” Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

Oregon State University, 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.

4. Brasaemle, Dawn, PhD. “Folate Lecture.” Rutgers University – Vitamin B6.

New Brunswick. 2015. Lecture

5. Marcason, Wendy, RDN. “What Are B-Vitamins and Folate?” Ear Right. Academy of

Nutrition and Dietetics, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.