Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is one of the essential B vitamins that your body needs for several functions. Your body cannot produce vitamin B6, so you have to get it from food or supplements. It contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and, in combination with magnesium, helps to reduce fatigue and exhaustion by helping to make the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body and help you feel energized. The immune system is critical in preventing infection and cancer, and lack of vitamin B6 may weaken different aspects of the immune system to undermine immunity [Qian 2017, Rall 1993].
Vitamin B6 may improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. This may be due to it being necessary for creating neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid [Bus 2020, Tsujita 2019, Nutt 2008]. It may also be due to its role in lowering levels of homocysteine [Moradi 2021]. Symptoms of depression have been linked to low intake of vitamin B6 [Odai 2020, Moore 2019]. Its role in lowering levels of homocysteine may also help with improving brain function [Spinneker 2007].
Vitamin B6 may prevent or treat anaemia caused by iron deficiency due to its role in the production of haemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that transports oxygen [Sridharan 2018].
Vitamin B6 may help treat nausea during pregnancy [McParlin 2016, Simpson 2010], possibly due to its role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy [Wei 2020].
Vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is likely due to the role of vitamin B6 in lowering homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels promote the formation of blood clots and excess free radical cells and may impair normal blood vessel function [Martí-Carvajal 2017, Mocellin 2017].
Vitamin B6 may help prevent cancer, most notably gastrointestinal cancers [Mocellin 2017]. This may possibly be due to its ability to fight inflammation that may contribute to cancer and other chronic conditions [Bird 2018, Ueland 2017, Pinna 2018].
Vitamin B6 may help prevent eye diseases, especially a type of vision loss that affects older adults called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This may be due to its role in lowering levels of homocysteine [Pinna 2018]. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of AMD [Elma 2020].
Vitamin B6 may help reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This may be due to the fact that the high levels of inflammation in the body that result from rheumatoid arthritis may lead to low levels of vitamin B6 [Christen 2009, Sande 2019].