What are the health benefits of vitamin B6?

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RealAge
Administration
Research suggests that vitamin B6 may help prevent mood disorders, such as depression. For a quick and easy vitamin B6 fix, add a banana to your breakfast cereal. One medium banana contains almost a milligram of this nutrient. Vitamin B6 helps your body break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It's also an essential part of red blood cell formation and antibody production.
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
The following are health benefits of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine):
  • Aids in lowering homocysteine levels; not clear whether it reduces heart disease risk
  • Helps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods
  • Helps make red blood cells
  • Influences cognitive abilities and immune function
Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine
Vitamin B6 plays a role in red blood cell metabolism, protein metabolism and synthesis of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. It also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and increases the amount of oxygen carried to your tissues. Low levels can lead to an increase of homocysteine, anemia, headaches and depression. Start by eating B6 foods: bananas, chicken breast, garlic, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, sunflower seeds, broccoli, red bell peppers, watermelon, avocados and potatoes.
Dr. Rovenia Brock, PhD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Involved in over 100 cellular reactions throughout the body, vitamin B6 is instrumental in keeping various bodily functions operating at their best. B6, also known as pyridoxine, is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage form of glucose), and is also necessary for normal nervous system, hormone and red blood cell function.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.