Vitamin B6, also known as pyrodixine, is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolves in water and is not stored by our bodies like fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A or D. Vitamin B6 can be obtained from a number of food sources, and as it’s a water-soluble vitamin we need to eat a daily supply.
Why vitamin B6 is important
Our body needs vitamin B6 to be able to break down proteins and carbohydrates, as well as release energy from our food – in other words, it helps our metabolism work effectively.
Vitamin B6 also helps create haemoglobin, the component of our red blood cells that helps carry oxygen around our bodies. This is why a vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to a form of anaemia (different to iron-deficiency anaemia, the most common form of anaemia).
Vitamin B6 also has other health benefits though such as:
- Normal function of the nervous system
- Reducing tiredness and fatigue
- Regulating hormones, i.e. the body’s messengers which control physical and emotional responses
- Aiding normal psychological function, for example by helping in the formation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (think of them as our body’s chemical messengers)
How much vitamin B6 do we need?
The recommended intake for adults is 1.4mg a day for men and 1.2mg a day for women. Most people can achieve this with a healthy, balanced diet that contains rich in foods containing vitamin B6.
Foods rich in vitamin B6
There are plenty of foods providing a good source of vitamin B6, such as:
- Poultry such as chicken and turkey
- Milk and ricotta cheese
- Wholegrains like wheat, brown rice or oatmeal
- Certain vegetables , such as edamame beans
- Fortified breakfast cereals (check the label)
Now that you know how many options there are to have a vitamin B6-rich diet, browse our recipe section for nutritious breakfast ideas, try some chicken-based dishes or explore our preferred vegetarian recipes.