Vitamin B6 also known as pyridoxine, is found in a wide variety of foods, for example: pork, chicken, turkey, cod, bread, whole cereals (such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and rice), eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts, milk, potatoes and some fortified breakfast cereals.
How much do I need?Vitamin B6, is a water-soluble vitamin. This means you need it in your diet every day because it can't be stored in the body.
You should be able to get all the vitamin B6 you need from your daily diet. This is approximately:
1.4 mg a day for men
1.2 mg a day for women
What does it do?Vitamin B6 has a number of important functions. For example it:
- allows the body to use and store energy from the protein and carbohydrates found in the foods we eat
- helps haemoglobin to form (the substance that carries oxygen around the body)
What happens if I take too much?Taking large amounts of vitamin B6 (more than 200 mg a day), or taking it for a long time, can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs - known as peripheral neuropathy.
Generally these symptoms are reversible - so once you stop taking the supplements, the symptoms usually stop.
However, in a few cases when people have taken large amounts of vitamin B6, especially for more than just a few months, the effect has been irreversible.
Taking doses between 10 and 200 mg a day, for short periods of time, might not cause any harm. But there isn't enough evidence to say for how long these doses could be taken safely.
What is FSA advice?You should be able to get the amount you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take vitamin B6 supplements it's important not to take too much because this could be harmful.
The Agency advises against taking more than 10 mg of vitamin B6 supplements a day. But you should continue taking a higher dose if this is under medical advice.