Lately a lot has been said and written about vitamin B6. Opinions tumble over each other, but what exactly is it? Time for fact finding. These are the five most important questions and answers about vitamin B6, thanks to Prof. Renger Witkamp, member of the scientific advisory board of the Vitamin Information Office.
Do we need B6?
Certainly. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine is a very important vitamin. It is involved in resistance and digestion. In addition, it plays a role in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 also ensures energy supply and proper functioning of the nervous system. A versatile vitamin!
How much do we need?
The recommended daily allowance, the RDA, is set at 1.5 milligrams per day for adults. This corresponds, for example, to six wholemeal sandwiches.
Who is at risk of a shortage?
Those who eat enough and varied, get enough B6. Only we know from research, this year by the Vitamin Information Office, that not everyone succeeds. The best advice is of course to eat healthy and varied. A multivitamin can offer extra security that you get enough.
When is B6 harmful?
As is often the case: only at very high doses and very long-term daily use. You can then suffer from, for example, tingling hands and feet.
The safe upper limit is 25 milligrams per day and you can not reach that limit via food. That is the amount that you get when you eat 10 kilos of potatoes or 65 bananas. A banana is healthy, but 65 bananas are not. This is also the case with vitamin B6.
You can buy supplements with 100 mg in the Netherlands, so four times as much as the safe upper limit. How is that possible?
The safe upper limit in the Dutch Commodities Act has not yet led to a maximum amount for vitamin B6 in supplements. This is mainly due to the discussion about the available scientific research. In the US, that research is interpreted differently and the upper limit is, for example, 100 mg. And other factors can also play a role. The scientific advisory board of the Vitamin Information Bureau collected vitamin B6 data from hundreds of patients at the AMC in Amsterdam and the UMCG in Groningen. Symptoms that seem to indicate an excess of vitamin B6 can possibly arise from the simultaneous use of vitamin B6 with multiple medications. It could also be that a high intake of vitamin B6 strengthens an existing vitamin B12 deficiency. In short: it is difficult to determine to what extent complaints really have to do with the long-term use of freely available, high-dose supplements with vitamin B6.
What should I look for in a supplement?
The label of a vitamin supplement states how much vitamins and minerals are contained, plus the percentage of the recommended daily amount. Is there between 100 and 300% ADH, then it is a supplement with a low dose and the use is completely safe. Because the ADH is 1.5 milligrams a day and with 300% of that you stay very far below the safe upper limit.
Do you doubt the amount of vitamins and minerals in your vitamin supplement? Take a photo of the label and send it and place it on the VIB Facebook page.