With so many vitamins out there for kids these days, it can be hard to understand which vitamins are really necessary for your child. If you visit the vitamin section at your local drugstore, you will find that the amount of supplements to choose from for children is overwhelming! There is literally a vitamin supplement for everything, and this can be overwhelming to parents who may buy nutritional supplements that their child doesn’t even need.
As your child continues to grow, their nutritional needs will change. But it is important to understand that a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to get your kids what they need. However, all kids are unique, and sometimes there are cases where your child may require supplementation, especially if they are suffering from certain health conditions or vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin B6 is a common supplement that has been showing up on the shelves lately, and in this blog we dive into what this important B vitamin is all about!
What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine and makes up part of the B vitamin family. B6 is water-soluble and dissolves easily into the body. B6 helps to support your child’s adrenal function and are key for metabolic processes, which include breaking down and oxidizing food molecules such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. B6 also helps to calm and maintain a healthy nervous system by producing neurotransmitters - the chemicals that allow the brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another.
Does my child need Vitamin B6?
Every child needs Vitamin B6 in their diet, but supplementation is typically only needed if they are deficient. B6 addresses a variety of conditions and help to improve the symptoms of arthritis, depression, asthma attacks and ADHD in children. Children who have been diagnosed with Autism are often given additional B6 as an alternative therapy. It has also been shown to help young children who experience seizures.
According to the National Institution of Health, children between the ages of 1 and 3 years old need to get .5 mg in their diet per day. Older children from ages 4 to 8 years old will need about .9 mg per day and then ages 9 to 13 will need about 1 mg. Some children’s multivitamins already include B6, so always read the label and make sure your child is getting the right amount.
How can I tell if my child is Vitamin B6 deficient?
Fortunately, Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States, but there are some cases of children not getting enough B6 in their diet. A vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to nerve damage in the hands and feet. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Tingling or burning sensation in their arms, legs, and fingers
- Low muscle tone
- Delayed physical growth
- Delayed developmental growth or regression
- Weakness and fatigue
- General irritability
Can my child get too much B6?
Yes, your child can get too much Vitamin B6. Always consult with your pediatrician first before adding B6 supplements to your child’s diet. Giving your child too much B6 causes issues for them over time and can actually be toxic. Too much B6 in the diet can lead to nerve damage or numbness in the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet) that can be irreversible. If your child develops any type of unusual tingling in these areas after taking B6 you should discontinue use immediately. B6 can in some cases also cause oversensitivity to sunlight and upset stomach when not taken with a meal, so make sure your child doesn’t digest B6 supplements on an empty stomach.
What foods naturally contain B6?
The best way to get Vitamin B6 is from food. Fortunately for us parents, there are many kid-friendly foods that contain B6! Bananas, particularly red bananas, contain high levels of B6. Other great foods to try are cereal grains, potatoes, legumes, eggs, fish, sunflower seed and vegetables such as carrots, spinach and peas.
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