What is vitamin B6 used for and does it really work?
Vitamin B6 is intrinsically involved in your metabolic processes, it also helps in the creation of new red blood cells and neurotransmitters. For this reason it’s sometimes recommended for mood regulation as low levels could have a negative impact on mental health.
Older adults are especially at risk of low B vitamin levels and research has suggested that being deficient is linked to depression, however research has not been able to show that taking a supplement makes a person any less likely to develop depression. It has, however, been shown to improve brain health and also in preventing heart disease.
What’s the best way to take vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of food types so it’s relatively easy to ensure you’re getting enough. Chicken, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, lentils are all good sources and many products, from pasta to cereal, are fortified with B6 too.
While most people will get enough via their diet, some people may be deficient in vitamin B6 – and it’s likely they are also deficient in other B vitamins such as folic acid (B9) and B12. This is especially true for older adults.
The recommended intake for older adults is 2mg per day.
Where can I get vitamin B6?
Aside from getting vitamin B6 in your diet, you can also take a supplement. Vitamin B6 can be found on its own but ideally you should take a vitamin B complex supplement so that you can ensure all your B vitamin needs are being met.
What are the side effects or contraindications of taking vitamin B6?
Taking too much in the form of a supplement (more than 50mg) could give you lack of muscle control, heartburn, nausea, sensitivity to sunlight and numbness. There are also certain medications that may interact with vitamin B6 supplements, so see your GP if you are taking nervous system depressants, medications for Parkinson’s disease or undertaking chemotherapy.
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