Vitamin B6 Benefits

How Does It Work?

The main role of vitamin B6 in the body is to work as a coenzyme in numerous different chemical reactions. This means that vitamin B6 helps enzymes to work properly. It is important for a wide variety of different chemical reactions, including the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.
Vitamin B6 is important for the formation of hemoglobin, an important part of red blood cells. This is why low vitamin B6 can lead to anemia.
Low vitamin B6 can increase levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can cause problems if it builds up to high levels. In particular, it is thought that high homocysteine may contribute to problems such as cardiovascular disease or blood clots. Vitamin B6 decreases homocysteine levels after meals (but does not really affect fasting homocysteine levels). Low levels of vitamin B6 may also increase levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory molecule that may be related to heart disease and several other medical conditions.
Vitamin B6 may also have antioxidant properties. It may also decrease kidney stone formation by decreasing the amount of oxalate (a component of some types of kidney stones) excreted in the urine. It is also thought that vitamin B6 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is why some people think it may be useful for treating depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Vitamin B6 Uses in Children

Vitamin B6 is safe for children when taken in reasonable doses (see Vitamin B6 Dosage). Since children can be more susceptible to the possible toxicities of drugs and supplements, do not give your child vitamin B6 supplements in excess of the recommended dosage without the approval and supervision of your child's healthcare provider.

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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