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Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

Health Benefits of Vitamin B6
Written by Matthew Hermann

Vitamin B6 is one of the many water soluble B vitamins which has important effects not only for sleep, but for many other functions.

Here is where you can naturally find Vitamin B6:[1]




Chicken Breast


Ground Beef













Cottage Cheese


What benefits does Vitamin B6 have?


Not naturally produced in the body, you can get Vitamin B6 naturally through proteins such as Tuna, salmon, and chicken breast, as well as through plant sources such as bananas, chickpeas, and potatoes.

Vitamin B6 is important for synthesizing melatonin, an essential hormone for relaxation and sleep, as well as can help with dream recall and retention.[2] So, melatonin alone may not be as helpful for sleep as melatonin and Vitamin B6.


Mood and Memory

In addition, Vitamin B6 can help with depression which in turn can also provide better sleep. A recent study showed that in middle-aged and elderly women low Vitamin B6 intake was associated with increased depression.[3] Other studies have also shown B6 to be effective in managing stress and workload (along with Magnesium, which can be found in legumes, nuts, and seeds).[4] With respect to memory, B6 is also helpful with cognitive impairment and memory, along with other B vitamins.[5]


Some studies have shown Vitamin B6 to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease tough decreased oxidative stress.[6] In addition, Vitamin B6 deficiency has been shown to have an increase in overall mortality due to cardiovascular disease.[7]


Vitamin B6 has been shown in some models to decrease the progression and initiation of cartilage degradation, preventing arthritis.[8] So, Vitamin B6 isn’t just helpful when you sleep but also when you are active!

Unlike the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K, the B vitamins are water soluble. The importance of this is that they are hard to overdose on. That being said, it is recommended against taking large sums of B vitamins because, like melatonin, more is not always better. A little bit goes a long way. 


[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019.

[2] Aspy DJ, Madden NA, Delfabbro P. Effects of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and a B Complex Preparation on Dreaming and Sleep. Percept Mot Skills. 2018 Jun;125(3):451-462. doi: 10.1177/0031512518770326. Epub 2018 Apr 17. PMID: 29665762.

[3] Odai T, Terauchi M, Suzuki R, Kato K, Hirose A, Miyasaka N. Depressive Symptoms in Middle-Aged and Elderly Women Are Associated with a Low Intake of Vitamin B6: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 9;12(11):3437. doi: 10.3390/nu12113437. PMID: 33182514; PMCID: PMC7697531.

[4] Pouteau E, Kabir-Ahmadi M, Noah L, Mazur A, Dye L, Hellhammer J, Pickering G, Dubray C. Superiority of magnesium and vitamin B6 over magnesium alone on severe stress in healthy adults with low magnesemia: A randomized, single-blind clinical trial. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 18;13(12):e0208454. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208454. PMID: 30562392; PMCID: PMC6298677.

[5] An Y, Feng L, Zhang X, Wang Y, Wang Y, Tao L, Qin Z, Xiao R. Dietary intakes and biomarker patterns of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 can be associated with cognitive impairment by hypermethylation of redox-related genes NUDT15 and TXNRD1. Clin Epigenetics. 2019 Oct 11;11(1):139. doi: 10.1186/s13148-019-0741-y. PMID: 31601260; PMCID: PMC6787977.

[6] Jeon J, Park K. Dietary Vitamin B6 Intake Associated with a Decreased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 29;11(7):1484. doi: 10.3390/nu11071484. PMID: 31261898; PMCID: PMC6682858.

[7] Pusceddu I, Herrmann W, Kleber ME, Scharnagl H, Hoffmann MM, Winklhofer-Roob BM, März W, Herrmann M. Subclinical inflammation, telomere shortening, homocysteine, vitamin B6, and mortality: the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health Study. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Jun;59(4):1399-1411. doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-01993-8. Epub 2019 May 25. PMID: 31129702; PMCID: PMC7230054.

[8] Deiana M, Malerba G, Dalle Carbonare L, Cheri S, Patuzzo C, Tsenov G, Moron Dalla Tor L, Mori A, Saviola G, Zipeto D, Schena F, Mottes M, Valenti MT. Physical Activity Prevents Cartilage Degradation: A Metabolomics Study Pinpoints the Involvement of Vitamin B6. Cells. 2019 Nov 1;8(11):1374. doi: 10.3390/cells8111374. PMID: 31683926; PMCID: PMC6912200.