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Unraveling the Stages and Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency on Mental Health

Unraveling the Stages and Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency on Mental Health
Picture of Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Vitamin B6 supports your child's mental health behind the scenes. This vitamin is responsible for numerous bodily functions and is critical to your child's well-being. Recognizing the signs of its deficiency is crucial in unleashing your child's full potential. 

Parents should stay vigilant for deficiencies in B Vitamins, especially for red flags such as increased stress levels, disturbances in brain function, and mood disorders. Knowing the symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency could save you and your kid a lot of trouble and heartache. 

Knowing More About Vitamin B6
Knowing More About Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin, plays an important role in various bodily functions, mainly supporting brain development, regulating mood, and producing vital neurotransmitters. One positive effect of Vitamin B6 is increasing the levels of GABA,  which is a key player in regulating mood, emotions, and overall mental health.

Our children's growing bodies and minds rely on Vitamin B6 for optimal functioning. This nutrient supports the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

Vitamin B6 can contribute to one's emotional well-being by influencing the production of these neurotransmitters. Adequate levels of Vitamin B6 can help prevent imbalances, reducing the risk of depression and other mood disorders while enhancing overall emotional stability. Vitamin B6's influence on these neurotransmitters can also help improve focus and attention span.

Vitamin B6 is also involved in producing red blood cells, energy production, and the proper functioning of the nervous system. One study has shed light on the crucial role Vitamin B6 plays in keeping the balance and optimal functioning of the brain (Kirksey et al., 1990).

The Impact of Vitamin B6 Deficiency on Mental Health

A new study conducted by experts in clinical language sciences has revealed a clear link between low levels of Vitamin B6 and neuropsychiatric conditions (Rizzo et al., 2022). Insufficient Vitamin B6 can disrupt the delicate balance of excitatory neurons. The disturbance of this balance leads to runaway activity that triggers anxiety disorder or similar mental illness. 

Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in supporting the growth and functioning of the brain. During the early stages of development, this vitamin helps form crucial neural connections and produces neurotransmitters. Ensuring an adequate intake of Vitamin B6 can help lay a solid foundation for our children's cognitive abilities and overall mental well-being.

Stress and anxiety can be formidable foes, and Vitamin B6 deficiency has been found to play a significant role in anxiety disorders. This vitamin produces adrenal hormones that help our bodies respond to stress effectively. Conquer stress and anxiety and reclaim your child's strength through a combination of nutrition-based interventions, such as incorporating Vitamin B6-rich foods into your child's diet and other natural solutions.

I remember treating a child named Emily, who struggled with anxiety symptoms due to a Vitamin B6 deficiency. As a result, she felt tired, restless, and unmotivated to face the day. However, with the support of her mom, who incorporated Vitamin B6-rich and amino acid-rich foods into her diet, Emily's anxiety symptoms gradually faded. Today, she soars through life with newfound confidence, proving that natural solutions can unlock extraordinary potential!

Stages of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency comes in different stages, usually mild to worse. By understanding these stages, we can equip ourselves with the knowledge needed to intervene and provide our kids with the support they need.

Stage 1: Subtle Signs
Vitamin B6 deficiency, subtle signs may appear

In the early stage of Vitamin B6 deficiency, subtle signs may appear. These can include fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Pick up on the subtle shifts in your children's behavior. Trust your instincts and closely monitor any changes indicating Vitamin B6 deficiency.

Stage 2: Heightened Symptoms

Vitamin B6 deficiency can progress if left unaddressed, leading to more pronounced symptoms. Your child may experience increased fatigue, irritability, frequent mood swings, and memory or learning difficulties. These warning signs should prompt parents to act and give their children the necessary nutrients.

Stage 3: Impact on Mental Health

The impact on mental health becomes more evident in the advanced stages of Vitamin B6 deficiency. Your child may experience depressive symptoms, feelings of anxiety, and even sleep disruption. Address these challenges head-on by exploring natural solutions to restore their mental well-being.

Common Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Common Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Mood Swings
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Problems
  • Weakened Immunity
  • Growth and Development Challenges
  • Anemia


Causes of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Understanding the causes of Vitamin B6 deficiency can help us navigate the path toward prevention and intervention. Here are some potential factors that contribute to deficiency:

1. Inadequate Diet

A diet lacking in Vitamin B6-rich foods can increase the likelihood of deficiency. Encourage your child to consume food rich in Vitamin B6, such as bananas, chickpeas, salmon, and fortified cereals.

2. Absorption Issues

Certain medical conditions can impair the absorption of Vitamin B6. If your child has underlying health conditions, consult a healthcare professional to ensure optimal absorption.

3. Medications

Some medications, including oral contraceptives, can interfere with Vitamin B6 levels. Discuss with your child's healthcare provider if any prescribed medications may affect their body's Vitamin B6 status.

4. Increased Requirements

During growth spurts, your child's Vitamin B6 needs may increase. So ensure their bodies get the nutrients necessary to support their rapid development.

Can Vitamin B6 Deficiency Have Serious Consequences?

Rest assured that vitamin B6 deficiency alone is highly unlikely to be life-threatening. However, it's important to understand that deficiencies can have a cascading effect on overall health if left unaddressed. While Vitamin B6 deficiency may not be fatal, it can contribute to various health issues and compromise your child's well-being.

The good news is Vitamin B6 deficiency is not caused by parental neglect or failure. Various factors, including dietary choices and underlying medical conditions, can contribute to this deficiency. 

To conquer this challenge, identifying the underlying causes of deficiency is a crucial step toward helping your child. Start by providing your child with adequate Vitamin B6-rich foods and folic acid to avert the development of other medical conditions possibly. 

Treatment and Prevention of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Treating and preventing Vitamin B6 deficiency is one way to ensure that your child's mental health thrives. The journey towards optimal well-being begins with a wholesome diet rich in Vitamin B6 sources such as poultry, fish, bananas, and whole grains. Incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your child's daily meals will fuel them.

Vitamin supplements may be viable in some cases, but it's essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your child. Remember, natural solutions should always be the first line of defense!

Furthermore, engaging in activities that promote cognitive function, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and regular exercise, can profoundly impact your child's overall well-being. It's all about striking that balance and providing the best support for your child's mental health journey.

Vitamin B6-Rich Food Sources
Vitamin B6-Rich Food Sources

The power of a healthy diet nourishes our children's minds and bodies. Here are some food sources that can help ensure that they have enough Vitamin B in their bodies:

1. Poultry

Turkey and chicken are excellent sources of Vitamin B6. Incorporate grilled chicken breast or roasted turkey into their meals to provide a tasty and nutritious boost.

2. Fish

Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids and pack a punch of Vitamin B6. Consider adding grilled salmon or tuna salad to their menu.

3. Legumes

Beans, chickpeas, and lentils are rich in fiber and plant-based protein and contain Vitamin B6. Whip a batch of homemade hummus or add beans to soups and stews for a nutrient-packed dish.

4. Whole Grains

Choose whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa, which provide complex carbohydrates and contain Vitamin B6. Swap refined grains with whole grains in their breakfast cereals or make a delicious quinoa salad for a nutritious lunch.

5. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds are excellent sources of Vitamin B6. Add a sprinkle of nuts and seeds to their smoothies, yogurt bowls, or salads for a crunchy and nutrient-rich twist.

6. Fruits

Bananas, avocados, and prunes are fruits that provide natural sweetness and contain Vitamin B6. Blend bananas into smoothies, slice avocados for sandwiches, or enjoy prunes for a delightful Vitamin B6 boost.

7. Vegetables

Incorporate Vitamin B6-rich vegetables like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers into their meals. Sauté spinach as a side dish, roast Brussels sprouts, or add colorful bell peppers to stir-fries for flavor and nutrients.

Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for our children's mental health. Knowing the stages and signs of its deficiency is one way to ensure our kids thrive. Parents should learn from Emily's puzzling symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and focus problems that affect her daily life. She and her mother went to various healthcare practitioners seeking answers and relief, but her Vitamin B6 deficiency remained undiagnosed. 

Aside from the use of supplements, we did neurofeedback and PEMF on Emily, and her symptoms began to dissipate. Her mood swings became less frequent, and her energy levels soared. Emily regained her ability to concentrate and focus on her schoolwork and creative endeavors. Because of the significant improvement in her health, she radiated happiness and vitality once again. 


Kirksey, A., Morre, D. M., & Wasynczuk, A. Z. (1990). Neuronal Development in Vitamin B6Deficiency. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 585(1 Vitamin B6), 202–218.

Parra, M., Stahl, S., & Hellmann, H. (2018). Vitamin B6 and Its Role in Cell Metabolism and Physiology. Cells, 7(7), 84.

Rizzo, R., Prato, A., Scerbo, M., Saia, F., Barone, R., & Curatolo, P. (2022). Use of Nutritional Supplements Based on L-Theanine and Vitamin B6 in Children with Tourette Syndrome, with Anxiety Disorders: A Pilot Study. Nutrients, 14(4), 852.

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

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You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

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Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

Dr. Roseann - Brain Behavior Reset Parent Toolkit

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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