Both magnesium and vitamin B6 are essential nutrients for proper body function. Each nutrient plays a role in different body processes. Their chemical differences determine how each will be used by the body. According to the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, up to 25 percent of American adults may be deficient in vitamin B6, possibly impacting overall fitness.
Magnesium and vitamin B6 differ at the most basic level with magnesium being a mineral rather than a vitamin. Chemically, vitamins are organic compounds, meaning they contain carbon. Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic, pure substances. This difference in structure means that both of these nutrients will react differently in chemical reactions, hence their different physiological roles.
Benefits of Magnesium
Over half of your body's magnesium is found in your skeletal system, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. This nutrient participates in more than 300 metabolic processes, making it essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It may also play a role in insulin resistance. A 2010 study published in "Diabetes Care" found direct evidence of a link between deficient magnesium intake and diabetes in young adults.
Benefits of Vitamin B6
Like magnesium, vitamin B6 also is essential for metabolism, focusing primarily on proteins. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that there is a one-on-one relationship between protein intake and vitamin B6 needs. You will need more vitamin B6 if your diet includes more protein. Vitamin B6 will also support your immune system function through the production of antibodies. Antibodies are the first line of defense against disease-causing bacteria and other micro-organisms.
Vitamin B6-Magnesium Connection
Supplementation of vitamin B6 and magnesium has shown some promise in improvement of behavioral disorders in children with autism. A 2006 study in "Magnesium Research" found that these supplements, when given together, improved social interaction and communication in autistic children. The study also found that when supplementation was stopped, the behavioral problems returned. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects communication and social interaction skills.
Guidelines for Use
As with any dietary supplement, there are specific guidelines for the use of magnesium and vitamin B6 regarding dosage and possible drug interactions. The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium is 420 mg daily for men and 320 mg for women, advises the Linus Pauling Institute. For vitamin B6, women and men should get 1.3 mg per day. Magnesium can affect certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline. You should not take the two at the same time. Several medications can affect vitamin B6 metabolism, including oral contraceptives and furosemide, requiring you to take a supplement.