Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays a significant role in helping make amino acids that build body cells, including muscles. Vitamin B6 also helps produce red blood cells, infection-fighting antibodies and insulin (a hormone that uses glucose, synthesizes protein and stores fat).
Rich food sources of vitamin B6 include chicken, fish, whole grains, beans, fortified cereals and nuts. Some soy-based meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 deficiency, while rare, can occur in people consuming poor-quality diets. Symptoms typically don’t occur until the later stages of deficiency. Signs of deficiency can include skin rashes, depression, nausea, convulsions and confusion.
No adverse effects have been associated with high intakes of vitamin B6 from foods. Very large doses of supplemental vitamin B6 (in the form of pyridoxine) have been associated with painful nerve damage in the extremities (e.g., fingers, toes).
The following table lists the recommended intake for healthy people based on current scientific information.