Have you ever felt exhausted after a long day at work, going to classes or studying at the library? You should know that you are not alone. Mental fatigue is a very common problem in our modern world. But did you also know that you already have access to a nutrient that could clear your mind and help you overcome this state of mental malaise?
Vitamin B6 is essential for the proper functioning of your entire body. It activates metabolism, contributes to the development of new muscle, and maintains your nervous system at full working capacity. We've designed this shopping guide to share all the secrets we know regarding this fabulous vitamin with you. Are you ready to learn all about Vitamin B6 Supplements?
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: the Best Vitamin B6 Supplements on the UK Market
- 3.1 Best Vitamin B6 Supplements with Magnesium and Zinc
- 3.2 Best High Strength Complex Vitamin B5 Formula Suppluments
- 3.3 Best Value Vitamin B6 Supplements
- 3.4 Best Vitamin B6 Supplements for Morning Sickness
- 3.5 Best Vitamin B6 Tablet Supplements
- 3.6 Best Vitamin B6 Supplements for Vegetarians
- 3.7 Best Liquid Vitamin B6 Supplement
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Vitamin B6 Supplements
- 4.1 What is Vitamin B6?
- 4.2 What is the role of Vitamin B6?
- 4.3 What are the symptoms of a Vitamin B6 deficiency?
- 4.4 Who has an increased risk of Vitamin B6 deficiency?
- 4.5 What is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6?
- 4.6 What foods are rich in Vitamin B6?
- 4.7 How do people benefit from healthy Vitamin B6 levels?
- 4.8 What are the different types of Vitamin B6 supplements?
- 4.9 How should I take my Vitamin B6 supplements?
- 4.10 What are the benefits of supplementing with Vitamin B6?
- 4.11 Who can most benefit from Vitamin B6 supplements?
- 4.12 Can I take too much Vitamin B6?
- 4.13 What precautions should I observe when taking Vitamin B6 supplements?
- 4.14 What is the average price of Vitamin B6 supplements?
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- The term "Vitamin B6" encompasses three different substances that activate and stimulate the body's proper metabolism.
- Vitamin B6 is essential to the creation of hemoglobin, for the transport and synthesis of amino acids, and for the building of neurotransmitters.
- While Vitamin B6 is considered safe even at higher doses, excessive Vitamin B6 supplement intake can result in toxicity in the long term.
Our Selection: the Best Vitamin B6 Supplements on the UK Market
In the following section, we will outline a selection of the very best Vitamin B6 supplements available right now on the UK market. Taking into account factors such as value, price and customer satisfaction ratings, we have developed with this list featuring some of the highest-rated, best-selling vitamin B6 supplements available. We're confident that you'll find the perfect vitamin B6 product for your individual needs on this list.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Vitamin B6 Supplements
What is Vitamin B6?
Hungarian doctor Paul György first identified Vitamin B6 in 1934, identifying it as a compound capable of curing cutaneous lesions in rats suffering from malnutrition. In 1945, scientists also discovered that this vitamin exists in several different forms. Their structures are similar to that of the compound pyridine, from which its name is derived.
Vitamins – from the Latin "vita" (life) and "amine" (organic compound) – are substances essential for our bodies' general health. Since the body cannot synthesise these substances on its own, we have to ingest these vitamins through our diets or supplements. The small intestine absorbs these ingested vitamins, and the liver metabolises them.
Vitamin B6 is considered a "water-soluble" vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in the water present in foods. Excess intake of this vitamin is easily eliminated through urine, which is why intoxication of this vitamin is particularly unlikely. While this nutrient is found in many foods, experts estimate that up to 10% of the population suffer from some form of B6 deficiency.
What is the role of Vitamin B6?
- Neurotransmitter synthesis: Vitamin B6 is essential for the body to be able to synthesise neurotransmitters from amino acids. These compounds – mainly serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline – play a key role in our physical and mental well-being, allowing the body to cope with the stress of daily life.
- Brain development during childhood: Childhood is a critical period in the development of our bodies. The nervous system grows at breakneck speed during this time, and it requires adequate vitamin B6 to mature properly.
- Transformation of amino acids: Vitamin B6 is necessary to transform certain amino acids into other compounds, which helps to maintain the proper levels of certain substances essential to the body.
- Selenium metabolism: This antioxidant micronutrient is essential for the proper functioning of our immune system. In general selenium binds to the amino acid methionine, which requires the inclusion of Vitamin B6 in order to be released and carry out its functions.
- Glucose metabolism: Vitamin B6 is necessary for glycogenolysis (the release of glucose from the body's reserves) and gluconeogenesis (creation of glucose from amino acids and other compounds). This substance therefore balances blood sugar levels according to the needs of our bodies.
- Lipid metabolism: Vitamin B6 contributes to the formation of complex lipids that will form part of the body's cell walls. When required, the decomposition of these compounds into simple fatty acids also depends on Vitamin B6.
- Hemoglobin metabolism: Vitamin B6 is essential for the synthesis and proper functioning of hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen to all of the body's tissues.
- Antibody synthesis: These tiny molecules are responsible for recognising and attacking the various pathogens that attack our bodies from time to time. Our body needs sufficient Vitamin B6 to synthesise these vital components for our immune system to function correctly.
- Molecular and genetic regulation: Vitamin B6 is involved in several processes intended to regulate DNA. Studies are currently underway to understand these processes, but they appear to associate this substance with the different genes that may control the appearance of severe diseases such as diabetes or cancer.
These are the reasons why Vitamin B6 is seen as the mechanism that allows the body to function properly. It has a particularly strong influence on our nervous systems: this vitamin regulates our sleeping and waking cycles, our emotional health, as well as our memory and concentration capacities.
What are the symptoms of a Vitamin B6 deficiency?
- Fatigue: Vitamin B6 is essential for the metabolism of hemoglobin and glucose. Its deficiency can lead to anemia, making it harder to obtain energy from carbohydrates. This will in turn cause a state of tiredness, apathy and constant fatigue.
- Increased susceptibility to infections: Without enough Vitamin B6, your immune system will weaken if you cannot produce the antibodies and proteins that help protect your body fight against pathogens. This may lead to the development of all kinds of infections and illnesses.
- Mood swings: Low levels of Vitamin B6 will make it harder for your body to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. You could therefore experience unpleasant symptoms such as mood swings or unexplained moments of sadness and irritability. This may also lead to an aggravation of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women.
- Dry and cracked lips: A Vitamin B6 deficiency will promote the appearance of dry and cracked lips. Similarly, a Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to an increased likelihood of suffering from "angular cheilitis" – very painful fissures in the corner of the lips.
- Tongue swelling: Known as "glossitis," this inflammation of the tongue that makes it appear red and swollen is a consequence of the loss of taste buds. Other nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin B12 deficit can also cause this condition.
- Cutaneous inflammation: Your skin status will considerably worsen when B6 levels fall below normal. A decrease in B6 levels to below normal numbers will significantly worsen the condition of your skin. It is possible that patches of red, inflamed skin, and even an inflammation that causes itching and scaling, known as "seborrheic dermatitis," may appear.
- Unpleasant sensations in feet and hands: Vitamin B6 is essential for neural health. A deficit of this important vitamin can cause damage to our neurons and nerve endings, first affecting the nerves of the more peripheral regions. There will be unpleasant sensory sensations such as numbness, tingling, itching and even pain, known as "peripheral neuropathy."
- Increased homocysteine levels: Homocysteine is a derivative of protein metabolisation. Its prevalence is related to an increase in the frequency of the appearance of degenerative diseases at cardiac and cerebral levels. Some studies link a decrease in Vitamin B6 with an increase of this homocysteine.
- Increased chance of developing kidney stones: Some studies have linked low Vitamin B6 levels with increased formation of oxalate stones at the renal level (commonly known as "kidney stones").
If Vitamin B6 deficiency is particularly severe, convulsions may occur as a result of excessive neural stress. This condition is especially severe in children. In the long term, low levels of this vitamin have also been linked to an increased incidence of dementia, diabetes and even cancer.
Who has an increased risk of Vitamin B6 deficiency?
- People being treated with isoniazid, hydralazine or penicillamine: These three medications may interfere with PLP metabolism, leading to abnormally low levels of this substance.
- Women using oral contraceptives: We have known for years about the relationship between the use of estrogen formulas and decreased Vitamin B6 levels. While new-generation contraceptives present fewer side effects, they can still lead to lower levels of this nutrient.
- Individuals with impaired renal function: A diseased kidney cannot prevent excessive elimination of certain nutrients. This is why renal pathologies are often linked to a decrease in Vitamin B6 levels.
- Individuals with autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune conditions provoke an inflammatory state that uses and depletes the body's B6 vitamin reserves. The deficiency will worsen as the autoimmune disorder progresses.
- People with alcohol dependence: This extremely oxidising substance can consume large quantities of Vitamin B6 and decrease its levels to below normal.
- Smokers: The oxidising effect of the chemicals found in tobacco may contribute to several nutritional deficiencies, including Vitamin B6.
- Diabetic individuals: Diabetes has been associated with inadequate Vitamin B6 levels. Experts still debate whether this decrease is a consequence of increased blood glucose levels, or whether decreased levels of this vitamin impact insulin production, therefore aggravating diabetes.
- Lactating women: Breast milk is rich in many nutrients, including Vitamin B6. Women producing this natural food have higher nutritional requirements.
- Gluten-intolerant individuals: If celiac disease is not well-monitored, it may lead to a state of intestinal malabsorption that will hinder the body's assimilation of Vitamin B6 and expose the sufferer to some degree of hypovitaminosis.
- Obese individuals: While the mechanism behind this is still unknown, obesity has also been associated with a decrease in Vitamin B6 levels. Supplementing with this vitamin contributes weight loss and helps maintain body mass within a healthy range.
- Elderly people: It is very common for older individuals to suffer from different food deficiencies as a result of a difficulty in feeding themselves and the loss of appetite linked with ageing.
Vitamin B6 deficiency often happens in conjunction with a pathological decrease in the levels of other B vitamins. The deficit of B6 only has rarely been observed, generally occurring in hereditary genetic disorders that hinder or prevent the synthesis of PLP, the active form of Vitamin B6.
What is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is the the minimum amount of a nutrient that must be consumed in order to maintain healthy levels in the blood. This value is approximately 30 nmol/L (nanomole per liter) for Vitamin B6. In the table below, we detail the RDA for different population groups:
|Population group||Vitamin B6 RDA (mg)|
|Babies up to 6 months||0.1|
|Babies between 7 and 12 months||0.3|
|Children between 1 and 3 years||0.5|
|Children between 4 and 8 years||0.6|
|Children between 9 and 13 years||1|
|Teenagers between 14 and 18 years||1.3|
|Adults between 19 and 50||1.3|
|Women over 50||1.5|
|Men over 50||1.7|
These recommendations establish a rough guide for healthy individuals who maintain their digestive, absorptive and metabolic capacities in a healthy condition. Any alteration of the normal health ystatus will provoke a variation in the nutritional needs that will result in the need to consult with a health professional.
What foods are rich in Vitamin B6?
In order to obtain a healthy intake of this vitamin, it is recommended that individuals follow a diet which includes a variety of fresh meat, fish, vegetables and nuts. In the table below, we have detailed the Vitamin B6 content found in some of the foods most frequently used in our diet:
|Food (100 g or 100 ml)||Vitamin B6 content (mg)||% RDA (adults 19-50 years)|
|Chicken breast (grilled)||0.4||31%|
|Sweet potatoes (roasted)||0.3||23%|
|Potatoes (cooked with skin)||0.3||23%|
|Eggs (two medium-sized)||0.1||8%|
|Whole cow's milk||0.04||3%|
Do not despair if you are a vegan. There are many different sources of Vitamin B6 that are free of animal products. This means that vegan and vegetarian individuals can easily meet their RDA for this nutrient through a varied diet. Avoid overcooking and freezing these foods, as these processes can rapidly degrade the Vitamin B6 they contain.
How do people benefit from healthy Vitamin B6 levels?
- Improvement of inflammation: Certain studies have shown that a reduction in the number of inflammatory molecules in the body is induced by Vitamin B6 supplementation. This could lead to relief of inflammation in illesses like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Improvement of eye health: Vitamin B6, together with other antioxidant nutrients, is used to prevent and treat age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a major cause of blindness in the elderly.
- Improvement in cardiovascular health: A group of individuals took Vitamin B6 supplements for two years. A reduction in cardiovascular risk was observed compared to other people who were given a placebo.
- Relief from the side effects of oral contraceptives: Many women suffer unpleasant side effects due to contraceptive use, which include nausea, headache, altered appetite and mood swings. Trials have proven that taking Vitamin B6 supplements could fight these discomforts.
- Relief from the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome: Hormonal imbalances that occurs days – or even weeks – before and during menstruation may lead to undesirable symptoms for some women: headaches, insomnia, sadness and irritability. In certain cases, Vitamin B6 is said to be capable of combating these symptoms.
- Increased efficacy of anti-anemia treatment: Vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Administering it to individuals suffering from iron deficiency has been shown to contribute to raising hemoglobin levels, therefore improving anemia.
- Relief from depressive symptoms: While there is no proof that Vitamin B6 alone is an effective treatment for depression, studies have shown that maintaining sufficient levels of this nutrient relieves depression symptoms and facilitates their treatment.
- Relief from nausea in pregnant women: Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Vitamin B6 in treating morning sickness during pregnancy. Moreover, several medicines used to treat this condition contain Vitamin B6.
- Decrease in cancer incidence: Certain studies have shown that Vitamin B6 presents anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have been linked with a lower incidence of cancer. That being said, note that these studies have yet to be officially confirmed.
Vitamin B6 appears to present properties that are very beneficial for our overall health and well-being. However, many of the uses listed above remain under study and need to be confirmed with a larger population sample. This is why they cannot replace medical evaluation and treatment by a qualified professional.
What are the different types of Vitamin B6 supplements?
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride: This form of Vitamin B6 is the best-known and most widely-used in the field of supplementation. It is easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
- Pyridoxal phosphate (PLP): Also known as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P), this is the active form of Vitamin B6. Your liver doesn't need to metabolise this version of Vitamin B6 in order for it carry out its function, which is why this supplement is more potent than pyridoxine hydrochloride.
Various health authorities have recently banned another natural form of Vitamin B6 called pyridoxamine. Unlike other forms of Vitamin B6, its intake is considered to be dangerous to health. Supplements that are correctly approved by the relevant authorities will never count pyridoxamine as one of their ingredients.
How should I take my Vitamin B6 supplements?
When? This will depend a lot on your lifestyle and personal preferences. You may decide to use this supplement as an energy boost at specific times (before demanding training or during stressful situations). If you wish to take it as a daily supplement, you are encouraged to do so first thing in the morning.
With or without food? You can take Vitamin B6 with or without food. These water-soluble supplements are have a very high bioavailability – the percentage of useful substance that reaches your bloodstream – of around 75%. This means that absorbing them isn't a problem for the majority of people.
What are the benefits of supplementing with Vitamin B6?
Beyond medical practice, supplementation enthusiasts use these products as "nootropics," a term that refers to compounds or medicines that enhance cognitive function. Many users of Vitamin B6 have claimed to feel an immediate improvement of their intellectual capacities after intake.
This nootropic effect is more intensely felt by individuals over the age of forty whose Vitamin B6 production is declining, and who are therefore recommended to use these supplements every day. Younger people will experience a more discreet gain of energy during particularly demanding work or academic situations.
Who can most benefit from Vitamin B6 supplements?
Women of reproductive age – in particular those using oral hormonal contraceptives – can also reap the mood-stabilising benefits of Vitamin B6. It has been proven that doses of 20-50 mg/day of this supplement could alleviate the symptoms linked to menstruation and contraceptive treatment.
Last but not least, fitness fans looking to increase their muscle mass or lose weight will also benefit from adding Vitamin B6 supplements to their diet. This compound is essential for the transport of amino acids needed for muscle synthesis, the transport of fatty acids and glucose metabolism.
Can I take too much Vitamin B6?
Excessive Vitamin B6 supplementation may lead to early sensory side effects that may include tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. In the long run, you may experience nausea, gastro-oesophageal reflux, sensitivity to light, as well as painful and unsightly skin lesions.
Experts have established intake limits for Vitamin B6 supplements. In the table below, we have listed the maximum recommendations for the different population groups. Note that children under the age of three are not included, as they should not take any type of Vitamin B6 supplement unless recommended by a competent physician.
|Population group||Tolerable Upper Intake Limit (mg)|
|Children aged 1 to 3||30|
|Children aged 4 to 8||40|
|Children aged 9 to 13||60|
|Teenagers aged 14 to 18||80|
|Adults over the age of 18||100|
What precautions should I observe when taking Vitamin B6 supplements?
Vitamin B6 consumers should also consider the potential interactions of their supplement with their usual pharmacological treatment. This substance may interact with the following medicines, unpredictably increasing or decreasing their effectiveness, with potential side effects on one's health:
- Amiodarone (antiarrhythmic)
- Phenobarbital (anticonvulsant)
- Phenytoin (anticonvulsant)
- Levodopa (Parkinson's treatment)
- Oestrogens (contraceptives, replacement therapy)
It is true that Vitamin B6 supplements are frequently used to treat nausea during pregnancy, to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and as a food supplement during breastfeeding. That being said, their use should in no case be done alone and the supplementation needs to be supervised by a clinician.
What is the average price of Vitamin B6 supplements?
We strongly encourage you to look out for bulk products and certain offers and promotions that could greatly reduce the end price of the supplement. Considering these products have a very long shelf life, you can make the most of the discounts available and keep the supplements for when you need them.
Choosing the right supplement is essential if you want to make the most of your Vitamin B6 intake. A quality product will contribute to the improvement of your overall physical and mental health. On the other hand, a supplement of poor quality can even put your health at risk. This is why we've detailed below some of the key aspects you should evaluate when making your purchase:
- Vegan or Vegetarian Nutrition
- Combination with Other Supplements
- Dosage and Safety
- Dosage Form
- Value for Money
Vegan or Vegetarian Nutrition
While a varied vegetarian or vegan diet can theoretically provide enough Vitamin B6, the reality is that a large percentage (approximately 28%) of people who follow plant-based diets do not meet their RDA of Vitamin B6. These individuals are therefore encouraged to use Vitamin B6 supplements.
Vegan and vegetarian individuals naturally need to opt for products made from vegetable ingredients only. In that regard, you'll want to ensure that the raw material and capsule of the supplement are free of animal products. Nowadays, supplements contain a quality seal that guarantees the suitability of this product for vegan consumers.
To date, there have been no reports of allergic reactions derived from the consumption of foods rich in Vitamin B6. Paradoxically, Vitamin B6 supplements may trigger allergies, generally in the form of skin inflammation and/or itching. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue its use immediately and seek medical attention.
Combination with Other Supplements
As we stated earlier, Vitamin B6 is frequently associated with other supplement products. Considering that this compound is highly versatile, it is often used it to enhance or improve the actions of other nutritional supplements. We've listed some of the most common combinations in the table below:
|Vitamin B6 + Vitamin B12||Neural protection. Creation of new cells (in particular red blood cells).||Food supplement for strict vegans. Treatment of anemia. Energy gain.|
|Vitamin B6 + Other vitamins of the group B||Regulation of cellular metabolism. Neural protection. Strengthening of the immune system. Cellular growth and replication. Regulation of energy production.||General improvement of physical health. General improvement of mental health. Protection against infections. Food supplement in restrictive diets.|
|Vitamin B6 + Melatonin||Regulation of the circadian rhythm. Regulation of energy production.||Improvement of the quality of sleep. Reduced fatigue.|
|Vitamin B6 + Magnesium||Protein synthesis. Synthesis of neurotransmitters. Production of immune system elements. Regulation of energy production.||Reduction of fatigue. General improvement of the physical health. General improvement of the mental health. Protection against infections. Formation of new red blood cells. Maintenance of normal glucose metabolism.|
|Vitamin B6 + Zinc||Synthesis of neurotransmitters. Production of immune system elements.||General improvement of the physical health. General improvement of the mental health. Protection against infections.|
|Vitamin B6 + Vitamin C||Antioxidant function. Protein synthesis. Synthesis of neurotransmitters. Anti-inflammatory action.||Relief of premenstrual tension. Relief of carpal tunnel symptoms.|
|Vitamin B6 + L-carnitine||Increased L-carnitine levels. Protein synthesis. Synthesis of neurotransmitters. Regulation of energy production.||Activation of the mechanisms to create energy from fatty acids. Maintenance of normal glucose metabolism. Reduction of fatigue. Increased athletic performance.|
Dosage and Safety
Many manufacturers of supplements sell products with very high Vitamin B6 doses. However, keep in mind that the recommended daily allowance of this nutrient is actually quite low (1.7 mg for most people) and that excessive intake will expose you to unpleasant side effects.
We encourage you to opt for a supplement with a dose ranging between 2 and 50 mg/day, without ever exceeding the upper limit of 100 mg per day. Start supplementing with the lowest effective dose possible, and increase it if and when you experience no side effects or do not get the expected results.
On the UK market, you will find Vitamin B6 supplements in liquid, powder and tablet form. The bioavailability of this product is high, which is why the dosage form will not have a marked influence on its effectiveness. In that regard, simply choose the format that best suits your needs and personal preferences.
Value for Money
We do not recommend that you pay more for a supplement that offers a very high Vitamin B6 content. The market offers many products with limited quantities at very affordable prices. You'll gain much more advantage from these lower-dose versions than supplements with excessive doses–which can be dangerous to your health.
Vitamin B6 is an indispensable nutrient essential to maintaining physical and mental health, as we get older in life. Supplements of this vitamin are incredibly versatile and can be combined with other compounds which can offer various additional benefits.
Remember that the best way to reap the rewards of Vitamin B6 is to moderate your supplement intake. You should absolutely avoid exceeding the recommended doses, as this is likely to endanger your health. You can simply and effectively supplement with small quantities. Your overall health, and your wallet will appreciate this "less is more" approach.
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