Pyridoxine, P5P, Vitamin B6 – these names all refer to the same thing. Vitamin B6 is one of the water-soluble vitamins grouped together as vitamin B complex. Pyridoxine is used throughout the body, but it sometimes happens that people don’t get enough from their diet. That’s why vitamin B6 supplements are available to pick up the slack when people don’t get enough vitamin B6 from foods. We’ll cover the basics of B6 supplementation and its natural food sources below.
What Foods Contain Vitamin B6?
Many, many foods contain vitamin B6. The question is, do you eat enough of these foods in a single day to meet your daily recommended dose? For many people the answer may be “no”. However, becoming aware of the foods that naturally contain pyridoxine sometimes makes it easier for people to include these foods in their daily diets. Here are some of the best sources of vitamin B6 that are available at the nearest grocery store or farmer’s market. (note: all examples are referenced in the link above)
Tuna and Salmon – Tuna and salmon are the most common sources of vitamin B6, and they have a large quantity of this vitamin by weight. Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need about 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 every day. A serving of fresh tuna, yellowfin, and other similar fish can get you .78-.84 mg of that dose in a single meal. Canned tuna contains about ¼ of the vitamin B6 found in fresh. Farmed salmon contains slightly less pyridoxine than wild caught salmon. Other commonly available fish like herring, mackerel, bluefish, halibut, trout, and snapper contain various amounts of vitamin B6, but not as much as tuna and salmon.
Animal Livers and Organ Meats – Most people don’t eat organ meats very often in the modern western world, but organ meats used to be a staple food for Americans. Today liver and kidneys are very affordable precisely because most people pass them buy in the grocery. Chicken livers have about 0.6 mg of vitamin B6 per serving. Beef and turkey livers have even more at 0.66 to 0.76. Kidneys are also rich in P5P. With a little practice, organs can be cooked to delectable perfection – a healthful item to stock in your refrigerator.
Everything Else – P5P is available in smaller doses in many seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and meat products. Many of these items are already in your home. As always, a diet healthy in natural whole foods will likely supply a great deal of vital vitamins and minerals, so learn where the vitamins you need can most reliably be found.
Of course, you would be forgiven if you didn’t eat turkey liver every day. Even for the healthiest eaters, a complete daily portion of P5P is sometimes unachieved. That’s why P5P supplements are available for purchase.
Some vitamin B6 supplements are synthesized. As is usually the case, these sometimes fall on the more affordable end of the spectrum. Other B6 vitamins will be derived from whole food sources. Some people believe these to be more readily absorbed in the body. Both forms will include vitamin B6 in multivitamin products.
Wherever you get your vitamin B6, the most important thing is that you get your recommended daily doses! Through some combination of diet and vitamin B6 supplement, you will be able to ingest enough without difficulty. Be careful not to exceed recommended doses. Consumed as directed, you’ll likely find that vitamin B6 is one of your favorite nutrients.