Why Your Vitamin B6 Level Is Important

Vitamin B6 is a cluster of compounds (not just one)  that is a co-factor in over 100 biochemical reactions in the body which is why your Vitamin B6 level is important.

Here are just a few of the things that studies show that it does for you:

    • Increases diamine oxidase plasma levels.
    • Degrading glutamates and MSG.
    • Metabolises proteins.
    • Reduces oxalate levels
    • Inhibits the degranulation of mast-cells.
    • Moderates cortisol levels.
    • Regulates blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance.
    • Converts ALA to DHA.
    • Acts as a potent anti-oxidant.
    • Synthesises neurotransmitters; serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, and norepinephrine.
    • Relieves PMS, dermatitis, mosquito bites, irritability, depression, and short-term memory issues.

First and foremost, if a vitamin B6 deficiency, is being driven by a viral of fungal infection, including candida which completes with the Vitamin B 6, then that should be treated. That alone is typically enough to explain the deficiency.

If the Vitamin B6 deficiency, is not being driven by a viral or fungal infection, then supplementation is important.

Whilst I am all for getting our nutritional needs through diet, it is very hard to address Vitamin B6 issues, through a balanced diet. This is because eating foods rich in vitamin B6 does not necessarily increase vitamin B6 levels.

Vitamin B6 is needed to degrade the protein in the food we eat. For example, there is not enough Vitamin B6 in a wide variety of foods, to degrade the protein in that food itself, let alone raise overall Vitamin B6 levels.

Therefore it is the protein to Vitamin B6 level which is important. It is just too difficult to eat a balanced diet (with all the nutrients, not just one) so supplementation in this case, is the most practical solution.

Vitamin B6 is also not stored in the body. That means you need a continuous daily supply in your diet. It is also heat sensitive such that cooking food destroys much of it.


    • A blood test for plasma Pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is considered the single best indicator of Vitamin B6 status.
    • Levels of 20nmol/L are generally considered adequate.
    • Zinc levels should also be checked (along with viral or fungal infections).
    • Blood tests can be difficult to interpret, as they can be affected by a range of factors, and should be done by a qualified practitioner.
    • The combination of Vitamin B6 and its bio-available form PLP appear to be the most effective.
    • Dosage is usually 0.25mg – 0.5mg Vitamin B6, and 0.25mg – 0.5mg P5p.
    • Too high levels result in neuropathy and intense or vivid dreams. This is resolved by dropping back the dosage.

Supplementation should only be implemented under the supervision of a qualified practitioner but is often an important part of any treatment for histamine intolerance.

Additional Reading:

Martner-Hewes, P. M., Hunt, I. F., Murphy, N. J., Swendseid, M. E., & Settlage, R. H. (1986). Vitamin B-6 nutriture and plasma diamine oxidase activity in pregnant Hispanic teenagers. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 44(6), 907-913.

Jarisch, R, Editor (2015). Histamine Intolerance: Histamine and Seasickness.

Ricardo Gonzalez Alvarez, Milagros Garcia Mesa, Ascorbic acid and pyridoxine in experimental anaphylaxis, Agents and Actions, April 1981, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, pp 89-93.

William J Walsh, PhD, (2012) Nutrient Power “Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain”.

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  • Kelly

    It’s my understanding that riboflavin helps convert B6 to p5p — is that correct?

    I ask, because I’ve not been able to tolerate b6 for years, and have found a list online of hundreds of people having this same issue, even with small doses.

    It would give me instant ‘stocking and glove’ neuropathy, but am finding I can take a tiny amount if I take larger amounts of B2 with it.

    • I suspect it is the form of B6. Kelly were you taking P5P? Do you have a B6 deficiency? Have you had a blood or urine based test (not just 23andMe) to determine which of your methylation profile are actively being expressed?

      • Kelly

        It wasn’t P5P, although I think I tried that a couple of years ago. Maybe didn’t give it enough of a chance. I did do the Yasko panel about a month before the 23&me went on sale, and had that analyzed, but there was no mention of B6. So very complicated isn’t it?

  • evie

    Could you recommend a good B6 supplement available in Australia?

    • my preference is to obtain one from a compounding pharmacy so it is clean (without fillers) and a mix of P5P and B6. There are a series of excellent pharmacies that do this depending on your location

      • evie

        thanks for getting back to me. I am located in Point Lonsdale, Vic

  • Philip Clax

    Hi Alison, I got my 23andme results and I have two gene defects for MAO-A. Do you know how this might relate to histamine intolerance and which supplements are suitable? I have heard that B6 may be problematic for MAOA and b12 may be more suitable. I’m a bit puzzled as there’s little info online.

    • Phillip the best thing to do (so it is personalised to your situation) is run it through nutrahacker. They have a significantly free potion now. MAO regulates the amine based neurotransmitters (which includes histamine, dopamine, seratonin, and adrenaline). Histamine as a neurotransmitter controls many of the body’s functions (appetite, sleep, adrenals, etc). Hope that helps.

      • Philip Clax

        Thanks Alison, I hadn’t heard of nutrahacker. I have used other apps like livwello and genetic genie but am not sure what to do with the results. I’m interested in recommendations based on my results although cannot afford to see anyone.

        Thanks again for your help!

        • My pleasure.

          • Shelley

            I have run my through, but it is confusing. It says avoid methyl B12, and take methyl B12. It says avoid folate and take 5-methyl folate. How do we resolve this? Thank you!

          • Shelley you will need to consult a functional specialist on your specific circumstances. I will shortly be offering such a service.

  • Shelley

    Wow, hard to find a P5P that low. The Thorne product says Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate) 33.8 mg. So that would be to much? Thank you!

    • just break the capsule open.

      • Shauna

        That dose is below the RDA of 1.3mg/day. Maybe you meant .25-.5mg per pound of body weight? That would make more sense.

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  • Janice Taylor

    Have you heard of Moringa Oleifera from Certified Organic Moringa Source? It is great for everything. Your input?

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  • Guest

    B6 helps convert histidine into histamine. Not good for histamine intolerance, or I should say ‘excess’ isn’t good.

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  • Linda Simon

    I take activated B6 by Research Nutrition. It contains 50mg of P5P which is equal to 34.2mg of Pyrodoxine.

  • There is new research on this so I will shortly write a blog post on this – so stay tuned.

  • Charlotte Geniez

    Alison, what can one do if one reacts to the supplements?