Vitamin B6 and Fat Loss Benefits

B6 AND FAT LOSS

Can we Reduce Fat with B6?

LAST UPDATED: October 2018

Author: Ben has worked in corporate institutions with a number of management and director roles working with professional bodies such as lawyers, government authorities and reporting to the board upon graduating from university.

Ben became interested in understanding how supplements can benefit the user when used to improve body composition and fitness.

This article is supported by cited references found at the end of the main body of text.

B6 and Fat Mass

Vitamin B6 is found in many fat burner supplements. 

The theory behind the inclusion of this vitamin is that it can help you shred that unwanted fat to help you get in to shape and reach your summer cut.

But how do you know where to find the relevant and trusted information to make the right choice when you’re looking at supplements to buy?

That’s where we come in. We look at all of the relevant and reliable studies from reputable sources then offer you a concise and easy to understand summary so you know whether vitamin B6 can help you lose weight.

Read on to find out more.

We will cover the following aspects to help you get a greater understanding of B6’s role:

  • What B6 is
  • Benefits
  • Fat Loss
  • Side effects
  • Sources 

What is vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is a water soluble vitamin which means that it cannot be stored in the body, and quite a lot passes through the body and is excreted as urine.

As a result vitamin B6 must be taken daily.

It is important to know that vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine, so always remember that when you are looking on the ingredients of any products you may buy.

The primary role of vitamin B6 is to produce haemoglobin in the red blood cells. This haemoglobin carries the oxygen your muscles and organs needs from the blood stream. [1]

Vitamin B6 also processes the energy from carbohydrates and proteins that are found in food sources.

B6 SOURCES

Benefits of Vitamin B6

B6 is a vital vitamin and adults need around 1-2mg per day.

Without doing so you risk of being deficient in B6.

If you are deficient in vitamin B6 you can run the risk of suffering from a number of issues that can be avoided.

See below the list of health benefits that B6 brings:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

There are ongoing trials to establish whether vitamin B6 can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is thought that Vitamin B6 along with folic and B12 can potentially lower the levels of homocysteine.

If you are not aware what homocysteine is, we’ll quickly run through it.

Homocysteine is a type of amino acid that is produced by the body.

So it all seems safe. Well, high levels of homocysteine can cause problems with the lining of the arteries and cause blood clots which can block the arteries.

This can then cause strokes, heart attacks ad coronary heart disease. [2]

While past studies have not been entirely conclusive, a large scale research project which included 5,500 adults with cardiovascular disease over 5 years saw that supplementation of B6, B12 and folic acid did reduce levels of homocysteine which saw a decreased risk of stroke by about 25%. [3]

Cancer Prevention

There are some positive signs that a high intake of B6 supplementation can help lower the risk of some forms of cancer.

Scientific research in to the subject has discovered that those who have the highest intake of B6 had a 20% lower chance of colorectal cancer compared to people who have the lowest intake of B6. [4]

Cognitive Health

There’s a link between B6 and memory test scores.

As we face a growing ageing population throughout the world, some older people suffer from cognitive decline.

As a result there’s numerous research trials taking place to help combat this health issues.

There’s currently several studies which find a positive correlation between higher levels of B6 intake and improved memory test scores. [5]

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

In the weeks leading to a woman’s menstrual period there may be a number of symptoms that can affect her.

These could include:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability or anxious feelings
  • Tender breats
  • Bloating
  • Changes to libido

Obviously this can affect different people differently. However, there’s some positive signs of relief from vitamin B6.

It has been concluded over nine studies involving over 1000 women that vitamin B6 is an effective way of treating PMS than a placebo. [6]

Morning Sickness

There’s statistics available that show over half of pregnant women experience some form of sickness or feelings of nausea.

This condition can be extremely intrusive of every day life such as employment and social function.

As a result, studies are pointing towards the effectiveness of vitamin B6 to help treat and alleviate morning sickness symptoms. [7]

The positive results have triggered a recommendation by the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology for pregnant women to supplement with vitamin B6 three to four times daily.

Vitamin B6 & Fat Loss

So, as we can see vitamin B6 has some important benefits for our wider health.

And, it has been discovered that people who are overweight and obese have lower levels of B6, as a result, it is important to see how B6 effects weight management and fat mass. [8]

How can B6 help with fat loss?

Since the year 2000 the global population has consisted of more adults who were overweight than underweight. This was the first instance in the evolution of humans. [9]

Since then obesity and adults being overweight is now one of the leading health threats for many countries across the world.

Obesity also brings with it other health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes (type 2) and high blood pressure.

There are many reasons behind obesity, but historically increased calorie intake was required for nations to become industrialized and develop economic devlopment. [10]

One way to do this was by increasing the intake of calories from sugar and fats as these were low cost sources of foods that encouraged physical human growth, this also worked towards reducing levels of malnutrition. [11]

However, even as early as the 1930’s companies that offered life insurance were using body weight to determined the cost of your premium.

This was because they had seen a trend between body weight and expected death.

That said, it was not until the 1950’s whereby there was a suggested, scientific link between increasing levels of obesity and cardiovascular disease. [12]

What is the link of obesity and B6?

Vitamin B6 alone is not going to resolve the complete issue of obesity in the modern world.

However, take note of the fact that cheap fats and sugars were produced and consumed to increase calorie intake required for rapid physical human growth.

Fats are devoid of vitamins. While fats are a requirement to carry fat soluble vitamins such as A,D, E and K, fat contains no vitamins. [13]

Sugar is much the same story as fat, it contains no vitamins but provide lots of energy, especially compared to fiber and proteins .

So, it does not seem out of context that people who are obese, who consume a diet that is high in fats and sugars to be low on vital vitamins.

B6 & Obesity Study

It was interesting to find this study involving almost 50 women who were all classified as clinically obese.

The patients were all fed a diet with fewer calories, those who were fed a diet of fortified vitamins with increases of vitamin B6 saw a greater reduction of fat free mass through their weight loss period. [14]

Serotonin Link

The study does not explain why those who consumed a higher amount of B6 compared to other patients who were fed an alternative low calorie diet lost a higher amount of fat mass.

This could be due to the relationship between vitamin B6 and serotonin.

Studies have demonstrated that a deficiency of vitamin B6 has a negative effect on the formation of neurotransmitters which is related to a reduction of serotonin production. [15]

Serotonin is dependent on Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP), this is the active form of vitamin B6.

A reduction of serotonin can lead to depression and weight gain, particularly by the increased consumption of foods and a reduction in physical activity.

Serotonin has an important role in the management of food intake. [16]

slim woman measuring waist

B6 Side Effects

It is clear that vitamin B6 has an important role to play regarding our health.

But are there any unwanted side effects that we should be aware of?

On the whole you should be fine. A adult male needs less than 2 mg of B6 per day.

There’s only been adverse side effects recorded when daily supplementation of 1,000mg for a period of over a year and up to 3 years was reached. [17]

To put this in to perspective, a 3 ounce chicken breast only contains 0.5mg of B6.

However, do check what medications you are on and check how this may affect B6 levels or how increasing your intake of B6 may affect your response.

Vitamin B6 Sources

We have established that vitamin B6 is a low risk, but has a high level of positive impact that can affect our weight. mood, cognitive health, has potential cancer preventative effects as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

We have also discovered that for the global population to industrialize and prosper they was a requirement to increase our dietary energy intake to encourage physical growth.

However, the food sources for this rapid growth were centered around fats and sugars.

This has lead to the global population being more overweight than underweight.

However these food sources are low if not void of vitamins such as B6.

As a result it will come as no surprise to find out that the best sources of vitamin B6 are foods that are low in unhealthy fats or sugars.

Here are the best sources of vitamin B6:

  1. Chickpeas
  2. Beef liver
  3. Tuna
  4. Salmon
  5. Fortified breakfast cereal 
  6. Banana
  7. Potatoes 
  8. Nuts
  9. Spinach
  10. Bulgar

Bare in mind that a cup of chickpeas offers the highest amount of B6 at 1.1mg. Yet spinach only offers 0.1mg of B6.

This does mean that it can be difficult to consume the daily requirement of B6 for optimal health and even fat loss.

You may wish to use a supplement which is combined with other vitamins and minerals for full health support.

We have picked out the best one’s here.

On the whole, it is advised that individuals follow a healthy eating plan to maximize the amounts of vitamin B6 intake, plus other vital and required vitamins and minerals.

So, while it can be hard to eat 6 ounces of beef liver, a diet consisting of varying food sources will collectively contribute to hitting the recommended daily intake.

Therefore, ensure that your diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk, lean meats, seas foods, eggs, beans plus nuts and seeds.

Are you at risk of B6 deficiency?

As you can see , from those foods it is quite difficult to get the recommended amounts every day unless you abide by a strict nutritional plan.

Even with the best intentions it can be hard to stick to meals everyday that consist of beef liver, chicken breast, spinach and bulgar wheat.

As we have touched upon, a supplement is probably the best and most cost effective way of ensuring you hit your daily target.

However, supplements aside, it can be very easy to fall in to vitamin B6 deficiency.

So, who are those at the most risk of being deficient in B6 and thus more susceptible to ill health?

Alcoholics

Those who are alcoholic dependent or drink high levels of alcohol are most likely not to have adequate amounts of vitamin B6.

This is due to acetaldehyde which is created when alcohol is broken down in the liver. This organic chemical compound decreases Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP), the active form of vitamin B6. [18]

Thus leading to an inadequacy of B6.

As a result, alcoholics need to supplement their intake with B6.

Inflammation

Those who suffer from inflammatory related health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease all expereince low levels of B6.

This can be down to low absorption, inflammation response to the diseases and then in turn produce more inflammation. [19]

Kidney Failure

People with kidney failure and have received a kidney transplant or undergoing dialysis treatment all show signs of low and inadequate levels of vitamin B6. [20]

While there are theories behind the low levels of B6 there’s no exact conclusions behind the reason why.

Exercise

Prolonged bouts of exercise can cause stress which can then affect your levels of nutrients. If you are unable to eat a balanced and varied diet you can suffer from a B6 deficiency. [21]

Video Summary

Conclusion

It is fair to say that vitamin B6 has a far greater impact on our health that we initially considered.

It has a positive effect on the prevention of some cancers plus cardiovascular diseases.

B6 has shown to be beneficial at treating and alleviating the symptoms of PMS and morning sickness for those women who are pregnant.

However, treatment is in doses higher than what would be traditionally gained from foods, as a result supplements are required.

Furthermore, we have also established those groups of people who are at a higher risk of B6 deficiency. They are those who suffer from inflammatory related diseases, kidney failure and alcohol dependency, notwithstanding people suffering from obesity.

Studying the link between obesity and B6 has unearthed scientific evidence that states that those on a lower calorie diet rich in B6 lose more fat mass than a comparative low calorie diet with less B6.

This is most likely due to the effects that B6 has on serotonin production and that a B6 deficiency is related to a negative effect on the development of neurotransmitters.

Serotonin can control mood, depression and food intake while having an effect on physical exercise encouragement.

Therefore, in order to effectively control body weight and help lose fat mass, vitamin B6 should be included in your diet.


References

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/#vitamin-b6

[2] https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=homocysteine

[3] Homocysteine-lowering therapy and stroke risk, severity, and disability: additional findings from the HOPE 2 trial. Saposnik G, Ray JG, Sheridan P, McQueen M, Lonn E; Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation 2 Investigators. Stroke. 2009 Apr;40(4):1365-72. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.529503. Epub 2009 Feb 19. PMID: 19228852

[4] Vitamin B6 and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. JAMA. 2010 Mar 17;303(11):1077-83. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.263. Review. PMID: 20233826

[5] Relations of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, folate, and homocysteine to cognitive performance in the Normative Aging Study. Riggs KM, Spiro A 3rd, Tucker K, Rush D. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Mar;63(3):306-14. PMID: 8602585

[6] Efficacy of vitamin B-6 in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: systematic review. Wyatt KM, Dimmock PW, Jones PW, Shaughn O’Brien PM. BMJ. 1999 May 22;318(7195):1375-81. Review. PMID:10334745

[7] Vitamin B6 is effective therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Sahakian V, Rouse D, Sipes S, Rose N, Niebyl J. Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Jul;78(1):33-6. PMID: 2047064

[8] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/2/362/4633366

[9] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308961078_Food_Habits_and_Risk_Factors_Associated_with_Obesity_in_Adolescents_of_District_Anantnag_of_Kashmir_Valley

[10] https://link.springer.com/article/10.2307/2061659

[11] http://archive.wphna.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/13-06_WN4_As_I_see_it_OK_pdf.pdf

[12] https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.42.9.1116

[13] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/fat.html?limitstart=0

[14] Vitamin B6 status improves in overweight/obese women following a hypocaloric diet rich in breakfast cereals, and may help in maintaining fat-free mass. Rodríguez-Rodríguez E, López-Sobaler AM, Navarro AR, Bermejo LM, Ortega RM, Andrés P. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Oct;32(10):1552-8. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.131. Epub 2008 Aug 5. PMID: 18679411

[15] http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/138216/1/download7.pdf

[16] Depression and weight gain: the serotonin connection. Wurtman JJ

[17] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/#en7

[18] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1526924817715465

[19] Pyridoxine supplementation corrects vitamin B6 deficiency but does not improve inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Chiang EP, Selhub J, Bagley PJ, Dallal G, Roubenoff R. Arthritis Res Ther. 2005;7(6):R1404-11. Epub 2005 Oct 14. PMID: 16277693 

[20] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.541.1600&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[21] https://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/10.1123/ijsn.4.2.154

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