Vitamin B6 and its association with depression

19 May 2011

Research has identified an association with deficiency in vitamin B6 and depression. Hayley Macfarlane, Accredited Practising Dietitian for Nutrition Australia, NSW Division says ‘Some studies have been conducted to identify the effects of vitamin B6 supplementation on cognitive function in the elderly, although these are still inconclusive and require further research.’

‘Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin requiring regular consumption to maintain sufficient levels within our bodies,’ says Mrs Macfarlane.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends Australian adults consume 1.3mg per day. Animal products such as fish, beef, chicken and fortified cereal products are rich sources, whilst plant based products such as potato, green leafy vegetables, avocado’s and bananas also contain vitamin B6. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Australians over the age of 50 increases by 20% for both men and women. Older Australian’s have higher recommendations as a result of limited food variety in their diet.

Deficiency of this vitamin is rare on its own. Deficiency has been associated with depression, anaemia, dermatitis glossitis (sore tongue) and convulsions. According to Mrs Macfarlane, ‘consumption of a healthy diet such as the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides adequate intake of vitamin B6, reducing the need for supplementation.’

For more information or to arrange an interview with Hayley Macfarlane please contact Nutrition Australia, NSW Division on 02 4257 9011


1) Wardlaw, G.M., (2003): Contemporary Nutrition: Issues and Insights, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill.

2) National Institutes of Health, (2007): Vitamin B6, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements,, accessed: 18 May 2011.

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