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Can Vitamin B-6 Help You Lose Weight?

author image Lynne Sheldon
Lynne Sheldon has over 12 years of dance experience, both in studios and performance groups. She is an avid runner and has studied several types of yoga. Sheldon now works as a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Boston University and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University.
Can Vitamin B-6 Help You Lose Weight?
Getting your vitamins through healthy foods is better for weight-loss than taking supplements. Photo Credit stir fry image by pncphotos from Fotolia.com

When losing weight, it is essential to eat a balanced diet and ensure that you are getting the proper amount of various vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin B-6 plays a key role in your metabolism, and a deficiency can lead to many symptoms that may make losing weight difficult. However, exceeding the RDA of B-6 is not likely to help you lose weight. Talk with your doctor before adding this or any vitamins to your diet.

Importance of B-6

Vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine, is one of eight members of the B vitamin complex. These convert the nutrients you consume into useable energy, and they are essential for the proper functioning of your metabolism. Vitamin B-6 in particular creates the chemicals that your nerve cells use to communicate with one another. It also contributes to proper brain function and creates the hormones that regulate your mood and internal body clock. An insufficient metabolism, mood swings and poor sleep cycle can all inhibit your ability to stick to your diet and exercise routine, and therefore, make it difficult to lose weight.

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Symptoms of Deficiency

A severe deficiency of B-6 is rare, but a mild deficiency is not uncommon. Children and the elderly are especially prone to a deficiency, as are those who take certain medications that can lower the body’s B-6 levels. If you have a serious deficiency of this vitamin, you may experience muscle weakness, depression, memory loss, difficulty concentrating and nervousness, all of which can harm your health, as well as make weight-loss challenging.

Sources and RDA

Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 need 1.3 mg of vitamin B-6 daily, while males over the age of 51 need 1.7 mg, and females over this age need 1.5 mg. If you eat a balanced diet, you should be able to meet the RDA without taking supplements. Good food sources of B-6 include poultry, tuna, shrimp, dairy products, lentils, beans, wheat germ, carrots and sunflower seeds. If you choose to take a supplement, check with your doctor first, and be advised that consuming more than 200 mg of B-6 a day can lead to neurological disorders such as imbalance and a loss of sensation in the legs, as well as nausea and a poor appetite.

Bottom Line

While meeting the RDA of vitamins is essential, the best way to do this is through a healthy, balanced diet. According to Donald Hensrud, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, little to no evidence exists that any kind of vitamin supplement will help you lose weight. Dropping pounds requires you to burn more calories than you consume, and eating a diet rich in vitamins and other nutrients will help ensure that you remain healthy while doing so.

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