I think of vitamin B6 and thyroid health as a balancing vitamin that is needed for several functions: balancing mood, energy, staying strong, liver detox, and working in concert with other B vitamins and minerals.
For the thyroid, vitamin B6 is crucial for working with iodine and helping to make thyroid hormone. In Graves’ and Hashimoto’s, the body relies even more on B6 since there may be times of hyperthyroidism. The body works hard to make more thyroid hormone during the bouts of hyperthyroidism and draws on suppy of vitamin B6. In the event of deficiency, muscle weakness can occur. Lastly, if you supplement with thiamine (B1), it may lower your B6 levels.
This shows more and more reason to not supplement with only one B vitamin, but to make sure you eat a balanced diet rich in B vitamins and possibly supplement with a quality multi or B complex.
B6 is often better absorbed in the “P-5-P” form also known as pyridoxal 5 phosphate. Occaisonally, I find when not supplemented in this form, B6 may build up in excess and cause unwanted symptoms.
*Please review all new supplements with your doctor.
Factoid: Those who take oral contraceptives may be low in B6! And, those who suffer from mood disorders like depression may see benefit from increased B6 intake.
There is thought that the current DRI for vitamin B6 may not be high enough and we may actually need more than is recommended every day. Who knows! We will wait for more encouraging research…
Foods Rich in Vitamin B6
- turkey, chicken
- sweet potato
- sunflower seeds (I recommend sprouted seeds)
- pinto beans
- winter squash
Do you have a favorite B6-rich food that you enjoy?