Vitamin B6, also referred to as pyridoxine, is an essential component for your health. This vitamin aids in the conversion of food into energy, maintains healthy hair, skin and eyes, and cleanses the liver. It is also responsible for normal brain function and development, as well as the production of red blood cells. In developed countries, vitamin B6 deficiency is rare, as it is abundant in all types of foods. Instead, overconsuming vitamin B6 is more likely. Nonetheless, you should always consult your physician before reducing your intake of any vitamins.
Stop taking any vitamin B6 supplements, including multivitamins, tablets, soft gels and lozenges. Typical names used in place of this vitamin include pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine hydrochloride and pyridoxal-5-phosphate.
Limit your intake of foods rich in vitamin B6, such as fortified cereal, bananas, salmon, turkey, chicken, potatoes, spinach and hazelnuts. For example, 1 cup of fortified cereal can contain up to 2.5 mg of pyridoxine, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Drink water to help flush excess vitamin B6 from the body. Since this compound is water-soluble, urine is the primary means of excretion, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Typically, it takes the body between 15 and 25 days to eliminate unused pyridoxine. Drink eight, 8-oz. glasses of water per day as part of a healthy diet.
Since vitamin B6 is water-soluble, slightly exceeding the daily recommended amount is unlikely to cause harm as the body flushes out the excess through the urine. Nonetheless, you should always follow the dietary instructions set forth by your doctor.
Avoid exceeding 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 a day for an adult; 3 mg a day if you’re preventing heart disease or lowering homocysteine levels; or more than 100 mg a day unless under the supervision of a physician.
Avoid drinking energy drinks, which tend to contain high amounts of vitamin B6. Instead, opt for water or tea.
Due to the importance of vitamin B6 in your diet, you should never act to reduce your intake unless recommended by your physician. In some cases, an excess of vitamin B6 in the body may indicate an underlying health issue that requires diagnosis.
Read the label of any multivitamin you continue to take to ensure vitamin B6 is not present. Consuming more than 200 mg of pyridoxine a day can cause neurological disorders, including the loss of sensation in your legs and imbalance. If this occurs, it usually takes six months to recover completely.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B6; Steven D. Ehrlich; June 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute; Micronutrient Information Center -- Vitamin B6; Victoria J. Drake; November 2007
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B6
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Vitamin B6
- MayoClinic.com: Water -- How Much Should You Drink Everyday?