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Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 cannot be stored in the body so it is important to get enough through diet and supplements

Beef fillet
Beef is a good source of vitamin B6

RDA is 2 mg.

It is lost during processing and cooking, and is destroyed by sunlight. Store foods containing it in the dark.

We cannot store it in the body, and it passes quickly through the body and out in the urine so levels must be kept up through the diet or with supplements.

Where do you get vitamin B6?

Sources of vitamin B6 include beef, chicken, eggs, fish, bananas, potatoes and sunflower seeds. Intestinal bacteria can make some vitamin B6.


Vitamin B6 is important as it is involved in many processes in your body. It works to make the chemicals that transmit nerve impulses, and in making red blood cells. It has a role in keeping your immune system in good order, it plays a part in keeping female hormones in balance and it keeps the skin healthy.

Too much vitamin B6

Side effects are unlikely at doses below 500 mg a day, but governments are wary of doses much above 50 mg a day. There is little evidence that low doses have harmful effects.

Taking vitamin B6 in late evening might give you vivid dreams.

Too little vitamin B6

The wide availability of vitamin B6 means that major deficiency is rare. However, minor deficiency can give a range of symptoms such as headache, mild depression, anxiety and irritability.

Vitamin B6 supplements

A general B vitamin complex will usually give all the vitamin B6 needed.

Supplements are currently limited to 10 to 20 mg per tablet, and are usually recommended for women suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome. But, they can also be useful if you are on a calorie restricted diet or if you consume too much alcohol.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.