Do you lie in bed most of the night trying to go to sleep or go back to sleep after waking up? Are you tired of staring at the ceiling, hearing every little noise in the middle of the night, and getting up in the morning feeling completely unrested? These are common issues for many women in perimenopause and menopause, and one natural tool to help may be vitamin B6.
What is vitamin B6?
This member of the vitamin B family is also known as pyridoxine, and it’s involved in many bodily functions. In addition to supporting immune function, helping with cognitive function and development, aiding the nervous system, and having a role in energy production (it works closely with vitamin B12 in this endeavor), it is active in more than 100 enzyme reactions, most of which involve protein metabolism. It also aids sleep and has an impact on dreams.
Most people get enough vitamin B6 through their diet. Good sources of this vitamin include fish, turkey, tuna, salmon, bananas, potatoes, fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, oranges, carrots, spinach, whole grains, cantaloupe, and chickpeas. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B6 is 1.3 milligrams for adults 50 and younger, and 1.5 mg for women older than 50. However, a vitamin B6 supplement can be helpful in menopause.
How does vitamin B6 help with sleep in menopause?
Vitamin B6 aids in the production of the hormones serotonin and melatonin, both of which are important to sound, restful sleep, and also to mood. In fact, sleep problems and depression are closely linked. People who suffer from insomnia may have up to a ten times greater risk of developing depression than individuals who get adequate sleep. Among people with depression, 75 percent experience trouble with sleep.
Low levels of vitamin B6 have been associated with insomnia and depression. Since levels of both serotonin and melatonin decline with age, taking a vitamin B6 supplement can be helpful.
Another way vitamin B6 is involved in sleep is its relationship with tryptophan and dopamine. Tryptophan helps regulate mood and improve sleep quality because it plays a role in the production of serotonin and melatonin. Vitamin B6 converts tryptophan to niacin and serotonin. If you don’t get enough vitamin B6 in your diet, your tryptophan metabolism may be disrupted, which in turn can limit the amount of serotonin in your body and lead to disturbed sleep and insomnia.
By failing to obtain an adequate amount of dietary vitamin B6, the body’s metabolism of tryptophan may be disturbed. This may limit the amount of serotonin in the body, potentially leading to disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia.
Using vitamin B6 supplements
Vitamin B6 can be taken as an individual supplement, as part of a multivitamin or vitamin B complex, or as a component of natural sleep supplements. Take according to package directions. If you take excessive amounts of vitamin B6, it may cause insomnia. The recommended dose for adults is 1.3 milligrams daily.