Close this search box.

The promising role of vitamin B6 and flavonoids in brain health


A recent study has shed light on a potential breakthrough in cognitive health, focusing on the role of vitamin B6 and a specific flavonoid in preserving brain function. This research, primarily conducted on mice, reveals that the naturally occurring flavonoid, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, may significantly slow down the degradation of vitamin B6 in the brain, thus supporting cognitive functions.

The link between vitamin B6 and cognitive health

Vitamin B6 is crucial for creating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which influence mood and cognitive functions. However, its deficiency has been commonly associated with cognitive impairments, particularly affecting the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in memory and learning.

Study insights: Flavonoids as cognitive protectors

The study conducted by Antje Gohla’s team at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Universitet Würzburg, Germany, highlights that 7,8-dihydroxyflavone can inhibit the enzyme pyridoxal phosphatase (PDXP), which breaks down vitamin B6. By blocking this enzyme, the flavonoid helps maintain higher levels of B6 in the brain.

Previous research by the same team demonstrated that mice with deactivated PDXP showed improved spatial learning and memory. These findings suggest that combining vitamin B6 supplementation with PDXP inhibitors could be a more effective strategy for boosting brain health than B6 supplementation alone.

Future directions and human applications

While the results are promising, the translation of these findings from mice to humans remains to be seen. Factors like diet, lifestyle, and individual health conditions play a significant role in the effectiveness of such treatments. Further research is needed to explore the potential cognitive benefits of this combination therapy in humans, particularly in the context of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

Experts like Jacqueline Becker, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, emphasize the importance of a holistic approach to cognitive health, which includes maintaining adequate levels of essential nutrients like B6, alongside a healthy lifestyle.