Vitamin B6 assists in assimilating protein and fat and converting food into energy. It is responsible for the production of red blood cells and supports a healthy immune system. Vitamin B6 also assists in the creation of several neurotransmitters which are chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. This is required for normal brain development and function and helps make hormones that influence the mood and regulates the body clock.
Characteristics of a Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Low levels of vitamin B6 can lead to an array of symptoms such as muscle weakness and pain, nervousness, irritability, mood disorders, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss; conditions like anemia and PMS can also worsen. Long-term deficiencies can result in nausea, anemia, susceptibility to infections, weakened immune system, chronic full body inflammation, dermatitis and severe depression.
A vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon since there are several food sources rich in this nutrient. Deficiencies can occur in people with compromised digestive systems caused by surgery or severe chronic illness.
Vitamin B6 Food Sources
There is an abundance of excellent foods that are good sources for vitamin B6. This nutrient is rich in salmon, poultry, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources for Vitamin B6
This chart lists the best food sources for vitamin B6, along with that food source’s single serving size and the amount of vitamin B6 in that single serving.
Vitamin B6 Daily Intake Recommendations for Child and Adult
These figures are referenced from the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) 2005 system; used in Canada and the United States. The DRI system provides the minimum daily intake requirements of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for child and adult; males and females.
To find out what your daily intake requirements are for all of the essential nutrients, see the article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods, posted January 16, 2017.
Try our Hummus with Fresh Parsley and Pine Nuts recipe! Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans are an excellent whole food source for the essential nutrient vitamin B6.
Written by: J. Marshall
- Canadian Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.ca
- The World’s Healthiest Foods: www.whfoods.com
- University of Maryland Medical Center: umm.edu
- Global Healing Center: www.globalhealingcenter.com
- Health Canada: Dietary Reference Intake Tables: http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/index-eng.php