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Treating Anemia, Boosting Mood And Protecting Eyes: Reasons Why Vitamin B-6 Is Necessary For You

World Sight Day 2018: Vitamin B-6 is required for a healthy nervous system and strong immunity. Foods which are rich in Vitamin B-6 include fish, poultry and chickpeas.

Treating Anemia, Boosting Mood And Protecting Eyes: Reasons Why Vitamin B-6 Is Necessary For You

World Sight Day 2018: Vitamin B-6 is required for proper functioning of the brain


  1. Sufficient Vitamin B-6 can boost mood
  2. It helps in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  3. It helps in maintaining healthy blood vessels

A mineral which is important for normal functioning of the brain is Vitamin B-6. It helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system and boosting immunity. Foods which are a good source of Vitamin B-6 include fish, poultry, chickpeas, potatoes and bananas. People suffering from kidney ailments or malabsorption syndromes are likely to be deficient in Vitamin B-6. Malabsorption syndromes are conditions which prevent small intestines from absorbing nutrients from foods. Vitamin B-6 deficiency can also be caused by genetic diseases and medicines for epilepsy. It leads to lack of sufficient healthy red blood cells for carrying oxygen to body's tissues, depression and confusion.


Vitamin B-6 is an important water soluble nutrient for the body
Photo Credit: iStock

It has to be noted that deficiency of Vitamin B-6 is coupled with deficiency of other B Vitamins including Vitamin B-9 and Vitamin B-12. Experts recommend that around 1.3 mg of Vitamin B-6 is important for adults.

Why is Vitamin B-6 important

1. Prevents PMS

Some studies suggest that increasing intake of Vitamin B-6 can help in reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is categorised by group of symptoms that women experience between ovulation and period. Some common symptoms include tender breasts, bloating, acne, feeling tired, irritability and mood swings.

2. It is good for heart

Vitamin B-6 along with folate or Vitamin B-9 and Vitamin B-12 can control levels of homocysteine in blood. High levels of homocysteine in the blood can increase risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.


Vitamin B-6 is good for heart health
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Sideroblastic anemia

Increasing intake of Vitamin B-6 can help in treating sideroblastic anemia, which is a kind of genetic anemia. Under the condition, bone marrow produces ringed sideroblasts instead of producing healthy red blood cells.

4. Morning sickness

Pregnant women can have more Vitamin B-6 in order to reduce severity of morning sickness. Morning sickness in pregnant women is categorised by nausea and vomiting, and can happen anytime during the day.

Also read: Top 8 Health Benefits Of Vitamin K: Healthy Heart, Gums And More

How much Vitamin B-6 you need in a day?

All B-Vitamins are water-soluble fluids. Any amount of vitamin B-6 which does not get absorbed in the body is excreted in urine. Age, gender and some circumstances will determine how much Vitamin B-6 you need.


Newborns to 6-months old need 0.1mg of Vitamin B-6 per day. Whereas, those ages 7 months to 1 year need 0.3 mg of it, children from 1-3 years of age need 0.5 mg; 4-8 years need 0.6 mg; 9-13 years need 1 mg; boys from 14 to 18 years need 1.3 mg and girls from 14 to 18 years of age need 1.2 mg of Vitamin B-6 every day.


Men and women from 19 to 50 years of age need 1.3 mg of Vitamin B-6 every day. Whereas, men aged 51 and older need 1.7 mg of Vitamin B-6. Women aged 51 and older need 1.5 mg of Vitamin B-6. Pregnant women need 1.9 mg of Vitamin B-6 every day and breastfeeding women need 2 mg of Vitamin B-6 every day.

As we get older, there is a reduction in the body's capacity to absorb Vitamin B-6. This recommended amount of Vitamin B-6 can be easily consumed if you are eating a well-balanced diet. A diet rich in protein can provide you with sufficient amount of Vitamin B-6.

Deficiency of Vitamin B-6 is caused by certain diseases such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Depression, confusion, weakened immune system and a swollen tongue can also cause deficiency of Vitamin B-6.

Also read: Vitamin D: The Best Natural Sources

Vitamin B-6 sources

Apart from the sources mentioned above, good sources of Vitamin B-6 include fortified cereals, whole grains, nuts, bananas and beans. Chicken breast, turkey breast, pistachio, tuna, avocado, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chickpeas and amaranth grain are also good sources of Vitamin B-6.

Vitamin B-6 health benefits

1. Supports functioning of brain

As mentioned above, Vitamin B-6 is an important nutrient which is required for proper brain development and functioning. Deficiency of Vitamin B-6 can contribute to poor memory, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin B-6 helps in release of hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood, concentration and energy.


Vitamin B-6 improves functioning of brain
Photo Credit: iStock

2. It helps in treating anemia

Vitamin B-6 is need to create hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin plays the role of providing red blood cells with oxygen and mobilising iron. Being unable to make sufficient red blood cells can result in fatigue, aches, pains and more. Consuming sufficient Vitamin B-6 can help in preventing symptoms of anemia and reduces symptoms of anemia in those suffering from the condition.

3. Maintains healthy blood vessels

Vitamin B-6 performs the role of regulating homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid which is present in foods rich in protein, especially meat. High levels of homocysteine can cause inflammation and adversely impact heart health. Sufficient levels of Vitamin B-6 in the body can also contribute to managing blood pressure and controlling cholesterol levels. It thus helps in maintaining a healthy heart.

Also read: Vitamin K: The Best Sources

4. It can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

People who are deficient in VitaminB-6 are more prone to risks of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition which can cause severe pain, muscle aches, inflammation and joint pain.

5. It can boost mood

Anti-depressants work in the same way as Vitamin B-6 works. Vitamin B-6 leads to the production of serotonin which controls mood. It also helps in keeping pain, depression, fatigue and anxiety at bay. Sufficient Vitamin B-6 in the body can help in preventing mood disorders.

6. It protects eyes

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Many eye diseases are caused by lack of sufficient nutrients and vitamins in the body. Studies say that taking Vitamin B-6 and other B-Vitamins can contribute to eye health in a positive way. It can prevent eye disorders and loss of vision. Sufficient Vitamin B-6 in the body reduces incidence of age-related macular degenration. 

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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