Learn the Best Sources, Deficiency Symptoms and Benefits of Vitamin B6

by Henri

The benefits of Vitamin B6 are many. In its primary form also known as pyridoxine, is not synthesized by humans, and so must be obtained from food.

Like all vitamins, it is a chemical that performs a critical part in man’s metabolic processes.

Fortunately, it is found in most foods, whether of animal or vegetable origin.

The benefits of vitamin B6 are numerous.  Not only does it aid in immune system functioning, but it actually helps create neurotransmitters, like serotonin, that actually ward off depression and negative feelings.

Other benefits of Vitamin B6 are that it is commonly believed to aid in mental functioning, and has been used in studies with Alzheimer’s patients, in an effort to ease or slow their symptoms.

It may further aid in a large number of problems ranging from kidney stones, to PMS, to cardiovascular problems to carpal tunnel.

Chemical reactions involving this vitamin drive an incredible number of processes, such as those that:

  • Make neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Create hemoglobin, which allows our blood to transport oxygen
  • Aid the immune system in functioning
  • Aid the body in metabolizing protein and other important chemicals

Best Sources

Cooked chicken, salmon (and other fish), and turkey are some of the best sources to get the benefits of vitamin B6 in meat.

Bananas, baked russet potatoes with the skin still on, and beans are good vegetable-based sources.

Currently, many cereals and other products are fortified with this vitamin, which provides yet another source of the commonly found chemical.

Many also choose to take it in a supplement form, however, there is a problem with this, because taking vitamin B6 alone is not an effective way to supplement.

You see, vitamins in nature are not eaten alone. They are always eaten together, which is a why I personally use a high-quality multivitamin to get all the nutrients I need.

B6 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B6 deficiency should be relatively rare, due to its abundance.  However, those on a restrictive vegetarian diet, or who do not consume enriched grains, may be in danger of deficiency.

Certain medications, medical conditions, alcoholism, and advanced age, among other things, are all believed to also increase the risk of possible deficiency.

If you suffer from a B6 deficiency, you may not experience the benefits of Vitamin B6.

Symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency include:

  • Dermatological problems, such as flaking skin
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth (Cheilosis)
  • A smooth, swollen tongue, associated with change in the color of the tongue
  • Sensory changes, such as numb or weak limbs
  • Depression and confusion, even seizures
  • Fatigue, dizziness

Since vitamin B6 helps the body to use Niacin, Vitamin B3, a deficiency in vitamin B6 often leads to a deficiency in vitamin B3.  The symptoms of this include:

  • Blisters
  • Itching and burning sensations
  • Nausea, diarrhea
  • Dementia
  • Stupor, and even coma
  • B6 Toxicity

Despite the benefits of Vitamin B6, there is risk of toxicity. Vitamin B6 toxicity (or a vitamin B6 overdose) is not normally caused via food, although it may be possible to ingest too much vitamin B6 by eating fortified foods – this is another of the benefits of Vitamin B6.  Toxicity is instead associated with vitamin supplements.

The primary symptoms of vitamin B6 toxicity are those associated with damage to the nerves in hands and feet and calves.

Those affected may experience pain and numbness in these areas, and even have trouble walking.

In the case of toxicity, the solution is to stop taking an overdose of the medication, and hopefully with time, the symptoms will lessen, if not cease altogether.

Many doctors believe that the benefits of Vitamin B6 far outweigh any risks and one of the best ways to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs is through a cutting-edge multi-vitamin.

I personally take a multi-vitamin supplement called Total Balance from Xtend-Life. It is the best I’ve found to date, if you want to learn more about it, visit the Xtend-Life website.


Brian Harwood February 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I have a question pertaining to the absorption (synthesization) of vitamins and nutriments into the body. You mention that B-6 in its primary form (known as pyridoxine) is not synthesized. Yet reading further it is stated that Currently, many cereals and other products are fortified with this vitamin. My question and concern is this: Are vitamins and minerals that are added back into to our foods (known to be inorganic) synthesized by our body? I am under the impression that through the manufacturing processes the natural nutrients are lost and later re-added (fortified). This concerns me and appears to be more of a marketing hype than a reality of getting what is really useful to our health. Can you offer your insight as to the validity of my concern.


Brian Harwood

Henri February 8, 2010 at 4:38 am

Hi Brian,

Before I say anything, I just want to say that I am not an expert on how nutrients are synthesized in our body.

Vitamins and minerals added back to our food are not as healthy as if they were present in nature. One nutrient or two does not address the whole complex issue of how nutrients work synergistically in nature.

The processed foods are de-natured in some ways due to heat and other processing that also removes the mentioned nutrients. It is always better to get your vitamins from a natural source or natural multivitamin that has a proper blend.

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