Vitamin B6 is present in multiple everyday foods. It has dozens of health benefits such as metabolism, immune system and cognitive development. Not everyone gets the share of vitamin B6 from food alone. Hence the availability of vitamin B6 supplements. It is also a popular ingredient in different types of supplements — from fat burners to testosterone boosters.
As with any supplement, the risk of adverse effects is an important conversation. So examining whether vitamin B6 can cause high blood pressure (also called hypertension) is crucial. We take a look at the research to see what it says.
What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 (also referred to as pyridoxine), is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin the body requires for multiple functions. These include:
The body does not make its own vitamin B6 so you have to get it from food. Foods rich in vitamin B6 are:
In certain cases, the quantities in available food may not be adequate to meet the person’s needs. This could be for various reasons such as pregnancy, medical conditions and food availability. In this case, supplementation may be necessary.
Scientific Studies on Vitamin B6 Causing High Blood Pressure
Multiple animal and human studies have explored the effect of vitamin B6 on high blood pressure. And the conclusions seem to be fairly consistent.
This review is perhaps the most significant given its scale and is as good evidence as you can find on how vitamin B6 affects blood pressure. However, given it examined the effects of three B-complex vitamins, one might question whether perhaps the effect could be attributed to B9 and B12 as opposed to B6.
Fortunately, another large study covering thousands of Chinese adults and published in the Archives of Medical Research journal in 2017 provides an even clearer picture. It found that high intake of B6 came with a lower risk of high blood pressure. The study could not draw a similar connection for vitamin B9 and B12 even though deficiency in the two was common among subjects with high blood pressure.
So, it is safe to say vitamin B6 does not cause high blood pressure. The evidence is compelling that it in fact lowers/normalizes blood pressure.
Safety Considerations and Recommended Dosage
Vitamin B6 is present in many foods. This alone is proof that the risk of side effects is very low as long as it is taken within the recommended safe dosage.
Depending on age and gender, this ranges from 1.3 mg to 1.7 mg per day. Among pregnant and breastfeeding women, the ideal intake is 1.9 mg to 2.0 mg daily.
Vitamin B6 in extremely high doses (1,000 mg) comes with a risk of acne numbness, pain and nerve damage in the hands and feet. There have been no adverse effects at doses of 200 mg daily. The tolerable upper band of safety is no more than 100 mg per day.
Current studies show vitamin B6 does not cause high blood pressure. Instead, vitamin B6 deficiency is closely linked to hypertension. Still, it is important to stay within recommended dosage guidelines to maximize the benefits.
Ideally, you should get the vitamin B6 you need from your meals. This is not always possible though so vitamin B6 supplements may be necessary. Whereas vitamin B6 supplements are available over the counter, talk to your doctor beforehand. Stop using it immediately if you experience any adverse effects.