Nutrient Information: Vitamin B6

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Nutrient Key Information 
Nutrient Name: Vitamin B6
Nutrient Category: Vitamins and Other Components
Measuring Unit: mg
Nutrient Summary: Function as a coenzyme in the metabolism of protein amino acid, carbohydrate, and fat. It benefits the central nervous system and proper cell function.
Nutrient Function:

  • Protein (primarily), amino acid, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism
  • Nonessential amino acids synthesis
  • Nervous system function: plays a role in cognitive development through the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters. It is involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
  • Involved in blood cell hemoglobin formation (the iron-containing portion of hemoglobin)
  • Participates in the synthesis of nucleic acids (such as DNA and RNA)
  • Involved in immune function
  • Together with riboflavin and iron, vitamin B6 is required for the formation of niacin.

Vitamin B6 comprises a group of six related compounds. Any one of them can be converted to the primary active coenzyme form PLP (pyridoxal phosphate) which involves more than 100 reactions and plays roles as described above.

• pyridoxal (PL, PLP 5'-phosphates) - exist in animal foods
• pyridoxine (PN, PNP 5'-phosphates) - exist in plant-derived foods
• pyridoxamine (PM, PMP 5'-phosphates) - exist in animal foods

Vitamin B6 is water-soluble. However, unlike other water-soluble vitamins, vitamin B6 is stored extensively in muscle tissue. Some are oxidized in the liver and then released or primarily excreted in the urine.

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Food Sources

• Poultry, such as chicken breast, turkey
• Organ meats, such as beef liver
• Fish, such as tuna, salmon
• Meats, such as beef, pork
• Nuts, such as pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds
• Starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, bitter gourd
• Fruits, such as avocados, banana
• Chickpeas
• Highly fortified cereals
• Highly fortified soy-based meat substitutes

1. Vitamin B6 bioavailability from plant-derived foods is usually lower than from animal-derived foods. Plant foods mainly contain pyridoxine glucoside which requires an enzymatic cleavage in the intestines to release pyridoxine before it can be absorbed. In addition, some plant-based foods contain compounds called phytates that can bind to vitamin B6 and reduce its bioavailability.
2. Foods may lose vitamin B6 when heated.

Sample Foods High in: Vitamin B6
View Additional Food Sources
Food Description Nutrient Amount1 Daily Value%2
Chicken, broiler or fryers, breast, skinless, boneless, meat only, cooked, grilled
Category: Poultry Products
1.157 mg 68.06%
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried
Category: Beef Products
1.027 mg 60.41%
Fish, tuna, yellowfin, fresh, cooked, dry heat
Category: Finfish and Shellfish Products
1.038 mg 61.06%
Pork, ground, 96% lean / 4% fat, cooked, crumbles
Category: Pork Products
0.717 mg 42.18%
Nuts, pistachio nuts, dry roasted, without salt added
Category: Nut and Seed Products
1.122 mg 66.00%
Potatoes, baked, flesh and skin, without salt
Category: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
0.311 mg 18.29%
Bananas, ripe and slightly ripe, raw
Category: Fruits and Fruit Juices
0.209 mg 12.29%
1 Nutrient amount is in 100 gram food
2 Use FDA 2000 calorie diet as Daily Value reference

Additional Nutrient Information
Nutrient Summary Function as a coenzyme in the metabolism of protein amino acid, carbohydrate, and fat. It benefits the central nervous system and proper cell function.
Deficiency Health Effects The symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency is only seen at the very low levels of the vitamin B6.

• Depression and confusion caused by diminished synthesis of key neurotransmitters
• Microcytic anemia
• Itchy rashes
• Scaly skin on the lips and cracks at the corners of the mouth
• Weak immune system

Alcohol contributes to the destruction and loss of vitamin B6 from the body by decoupling PLP coenzyme from its enzymes and being excreted.
Effects if Above Upper Limit No adverse effects have been associated with high intakes of vitamin B6 from food sources. Very large oral doses (2,000 mg/day or more) of supplemental pyridoxine may cause severe nerve damage (sensory neuropathy) and dermatological problems.
External References

Daily Value Age Group Recommended Daily Values Daily Value Upper Limits
Toddler 1 to 3 years old: 0.5 mg 30 mg
Child 4 to 8 years old: 0.6 mg 40 mg
Male 9 to 13 years old: 1 mg 60 mg
Male 14 to 18 years old: 1.3 mg 80 mg
Male 19 to 30 years old: 1.3 mg 100 mg
Male 31 to 50 years old: 1.3 mg 100 mg
Male 51 to 70 years old: 1.7 mg 100 mg
Male Senior 71 or older: 1.7 mg 100 mg
Female 9 to 13 years old: 1 mg 60 mg
Female 14 to 18 years old: 1.2 mg 80 mg
Female 19 to 30 years old: 1.3 mg 100 mg
Female 31 to 50 years old: 1.3 mg 100 mg
Female 51 to 70 years old: 1.5 mg 100 mg
Female Senior 71 or older: 1.5 mg 100 mg
Female Pregnancy (>18): 1.9 mg 100 mg
Female Lactation (>18): 2 mg 100 mg
FDA (Based on 2000 calorie daily diet): 1.7 mg

Dietary Reference Intakes The nutrient Dietary Reference Intakes and nutrition facts is from Institute of Medicine of National Academies 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
US FDA Nutrition Education Nutrition facts knowledge are based on U.S. FOOD & DRUG Administration Nutrition Education Resources & Materials.
National Institutes of Health Nutrition facts knowledge are based on National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.
Disclaimer The nutrient information provided here should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (such as your doctor) about your dietary requirements which are best for your overall health. We also recommend you to read organization or professional reference documents or articles mentioned, but not limited to, in this page. Any mentions and reference links in this page don't represent our endorsement of their services and advice.

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