Often called B complex vitamins, this group of nutrients works together to perform different, but important functions throughout the body.
Among other health benefits, Vitamin B6 is necessary for the normal function of the nervous system and helps convert food into cellular energy. This key B Vitamin is also necessary for healthy red blood cell formation. Vitamin B6 also helps regulate homocysteine metabolism, which is important for brain and heart health. As a byproduct created during protein digestion, homocysteine is important to support a healthy vascular system and blood flow .†
But what happens if you have a Vitamin B6 deficiencyΔ? And how can you make sure you get enough Vitamin B6?
Discover Vitamin B6 foods that can boost your daily intake and support your body.
What Foods Are High In Vitamin B6?
To ensure you have adequate intake of Vitamin B6, you need to know where to get this key nutrient. What is the best source of Vitamin B6? As always, the best source of important vitamins and minerals comes from eating a variety of nutritious foods. If a food contains B6, it likely it contains other B Vitamins, too, as they’re often found together in varying quantities in the same foods.
Wondering what are specific foods high in Vitamin B6? The dietary sources with the most Vitamin B6 include fish, meat, leafy greens, starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruit . Here’s a rundown of specific foods with Vitamin B6, and the amount they contain: [2,3]
Tuna. If you love seafood, choose yellowfin tuna to find Vitamin B6. One 3-oz. serving contains 0.9 mg of Vitamin B6, providing over half (53%) of an adult’s daily requirement. Plus, tuna provides other important B Vitamins, as well as a number of other key nutrients including heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin Tuna is also a great source of protein!
Beef. If you enjoy eating beef liver, a 3-oz. serving delivers 0.9 mg of Vitamin B6, more than 50% of your daily requirement. Not a fan of liver? Ground beef also has Vitamin B6, but in smaller quantities. A 3-oz. serving of 85% lean ground beef contains 0.3 mg of Vitamin B6, just 18% of your daily requirement. Both contain other B Vitamins and vital nutrients, too.
Pork. As a great animal source of Vitamin B6, pork delivers a variety of nutrients to support your health. Just one 4-oz. serving of lean pork loin contains 0.811 mg of Vitamin B6, more than 50% of an adult’s daily requirement. Pork also delivers other B Vitamins as well as important nutrients such as Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Selenium, Choline, Vitamin A, and Vitamin
Turkey. Another animal source, turkey, packs in Vitamin B6, too. One 3-oz. serving of turkey contains 0.547 mg of Vitamin B6, nearly 50% of an adult’s daily requirement. Turkey also contains other B Vitamins as well as vital nutrients such as Protein, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc.
Chickpeas. If you’re not a meat-eater, and you are looking for a plant based source of Vitamin B6, you can get your daily dose of Vitamin B6 from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). A one cup serving dishes up 1.1 mg, delivering 65% of an adult’s daily requirement. Chickpeas are also a good source of other B Vitamins as well as key nutrients such as Protein, Fiber, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Selenium, Choline, Vitamin A, and Vitamin Toss chickpeas onto a salad, stir them into a soup, or oven-roast them for a healthy snack.
Fortified Cereal. If you eat a bowl of breakfast cereal, it’s often fortified with 25% of the daily requirement for Vitamin B6. Depending on the brand, your bowl of cereal may also contain a healthy dose of many other vitamins and minerals, too. Besides breakfast, cereal (dry or with low-fat milk) makes a healthy snack, too.
Avocado. This creamy fruit (yes it’s a fruit!) packs 0.375 mg of Vitamin B6 into a one-cup serving. Avocados also contain heart-healthy fats, fiber, and other key nutrients including Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Choline, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin Mash avocado and spread it on whole-grain bread, slice it and add it to salads, or blend it into a healthy smoothie.
Potatoes. This pantry staple is a great source of Vitamin B6. A one-cup serving of potatoes dishes up 0.4 mg of Vitamin B6, roughly 25% of your daily requirement. Eat a baked potato topped with chopped broccoli, oven-roast them as a side dish, or toss them into soups and stews.
Bananas. Another great Vitamin B6 option for plant-based eaters is bananas. Just one medium banana has 0.4 mg of Vitamin B6, about 25% of your daily requirement. This nutrient-dense fruit also contains other B Vitamins and key nutrients such as Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium, and Vitamin Add a banana to your smoothie with other colorful fruit!
Is Vitamin B6 DeficiencyΔ Common?
A Vitamin B6 deficiencyΔ (as well as being deficient in any of the B Vitamins) may impair your health, so it’s important to get adequate intake through your diet, or through vitamin supplements, if necessary.
Most people get adequate Vitamin B6 through food, as approximately 11% of the U.S. population has an inadequate daily intake of this vitamin . Therefore, a deficiency in this specific nutrient is rare, compared to some other key nutrients. However, if you’re deficient in other B Vitamins (such as Vitamin B12 and Folate♦), you’re more likely to also be deficient in Vitamin B6 .
While Vitamin B6 deficiencyΔ is rare, certain groups of people face a higher risk of being deficient, including excess alcohol consumption, pregnant women, obese people, smokers, and people with certain conditions [2,6]. These people should speak with their healthcare practitioner about whether a Vitamin B6 supplement is right for them.
What's The Recommended Daily Dosage Of Vitamin B6?
Health experts recommend the following daily dosage of Vitamin B6, which depends on your age, sex and life stage .
Infants, 0-6 months
Infants, 7-12 months
Children, 1-3 years
Children, 4-8 years
Children, 9-13 years
Teens, 14-18 years
Adults, 19-50 years
Adults, 51 years and older
Pregnant women and teens
Breastfeeding women and teens
As part of the B Vitamin family, pyridoxine (a.k.a. Vitamin B6) provides a variety of health benefits. Vitamin B6 helps promote healthy nervous system function, converts food into cellular energy, and is necessary to form red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is abundant in a variety of animal- and plant-based food sources, including fish, meat, starchy vegetables, non-citrus fruit, and fortified breakfast cereals. Certain people face a higher risk of Vitamin B6 deficiencyΔ, including pregnant women, excessive alcohol user, and obese people. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your Vitamin B6 levels and ask about Vitamin B supplements, if needed.†
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Δ Approximately 11% of the U.S. population has an inadequate daily intake of Vitamin B6 .
♦ Approximately 6% of older adults have deficient levels of vitamin B12 and over 20% have low levels ; the prevalence of folate deficiency was >20% in many countries with lower income economies but was typically <5% in countries with higher income economies .
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Rogers, Lisa M et al. “Global folate status in women of reproductive age: a systematic review with emphasis on methodological issues.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences vol. 1431,1 (2018): 35-57. doi:10.1111/nyas.13963
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
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