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Vitamin B6

Cooked Salmon

What does it do?

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).

What are the best food sources?

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.

What happens if you don’t get enough?

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.

What happens if you get too much?

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).

How much do you need?

The following table lists the recommended intake for healthy people based on current scientific information.

Life Stage Group Age Range Recommended Dietary Allowance/Adequate Intake Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)
Infants 0-6 mo. Not determinable for infants due to lack of data on adverse effects in this age group and concern about inability to handle excess amounts. Source should be from food only to prevent high levels of intake.
Infants 7-12 mo. Not determinable for infants due to lack of data on adverse effects in this age group and concern about inability to handle excess amounts. Source should be from food only to prevent high levels of intake.
Children 1-3 yr. 30 milligrams/day
Children 4-8 yr. 40 milligrams/day
Males 9-13 yr. 60 milligrams/day
Males 14-18 yr. 80 milligrams/day
Males 19-30 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Males 31-50 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Males 51-70 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Males > 70 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Females 9-13 yr. 60 milligrams/day
Females 14-18 yr. 80 milligrams/day
Females 19-30 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Females 31-50 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Females 51-70 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Females > 70 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Pregnancy < 18 yr. 80 milligrams/day
Pregnancy 19-30 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Pregnancy 31-50 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Lactation < 18 yr. 80 milligrams/day
Lactation 19-30 yr. 100 milligrams/day
Lactation 31-50 yr. 100 milligrams/day

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