Feeling tired, tearful and tetchy, with tender breasts? The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can feel overwhelming, but vitamin B6 may offer some relief.
What is vitamin B6?
A member of the B vitamin family, B6 helps your body transform food into fuel, plus it helps keep your nervous system working efficiently. Other vitamin B6 benefits include maintaining the health of your skin, hair and eyes.
Good vitamin B6 foods include1:
• brown rice
• wheat germ
• sunflower seeds
• fortified cereals
Choose B6 to fight PMS
A classic study published in the British Medical Journal in 1999 found that taking 50mg of vitamin B6 once or twice a day could help soothe PMS symptoms and also improve the low mood that’s often linked with premenstrual syndrome.2
Another study of 126 women by Iranian researchers in 2016 confirmed that taking B6 could relieve symptoms of PMS including water retention, food cravings, anxiety, back pain and low mood.3
Scientists think this may be because B6 plays a vital role in creating neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that carry information between your brain cells, including mood-regulating serotonin.4
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B6 could slash homocysteine
Vitamin B6 is not just useful for tackling PMS; it can help support your heart health too.
Homocysteine is an amino acid produced naturally by the body when it breaks down proteins in our food. If homocysteine builds up in the body, this can be dangerous as high levels have been linked to heart disease and stroke.5
But vitamin B6, along with folic acid and vitamin B12, have been shown to help reduce homocysteine levels.6
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How vitamin B6 can help ageing eyes
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK.7 But experts know getting the right nutrients goes a long way in supporting eye health, and vitamin B6 is one of the must-haves.
In 2009, researchers from Harvard Medical School found that women taking 50mg of B6, plus 1,000 mcg of B12 and 2,500 mcg of folic acid every day, cut their risk of developing ARMD.8
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. University of Maryland Medical Center. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). Available from: https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b6-pyridoxine
2. Wyatt KM, et al. Efficacy of vitamin B-6 in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: systematic review. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10334745
3. Ebrahimi E, et al. Effects of Magnesium and Vitamin B6 on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161081/
4. As Source 1
5. Harvard TH Chan. The nutrition source: three of the B vitamins: folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b/
6. Medline Plus. Vitamin B6. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/934.html
7. NHS Choices. Macular degeneration. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/macular-degeneration/
8. Christen WG, et al. Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 in Combination and Age-related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Women. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2648137/