Vitamin B6 and magnesium are two essential nutrients that play a role in several physiological functions. Whether you want to boost cognitive health, regulate blood sugar, or reduce PMS symptoms, combining magnesium with B6 might be smart—but those aren’t the only benefits!
For anyone looking to optimize their health, vitamin and mineral supplements are a must to fill in gaps within the diet.
But while there are pure supplements available for most nutrients, you often see many combined to elicit synergistic effects.
If you’re curious why it’s recommended to supplement with magnesium and vitamin B6, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll dive into the details of both nutrients and the top 7 benefits of combining this duo.
Ready to get started?
What Is Magnesium?
You may have heard about magnesium before—a super mineral and the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. But despite being a co-factor for over 300 enzymatic reactions, most people don’t consume enough magnesium through diet 1.
Some evidence suggests that up to 50% of people in Europe and North America aren’t meeting the daily intake requirements for magnesium, and a deficiency has been linked to several chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and ADHD 2, 3.
But while magnesium is needed for many functions in the body, perhaps its most important role is in ATP metabolism; ATP is required for virtually all biological processes, including:
- DNA and RNA synthesis
- Protein synthesis
- Muscular contraction
- Blood pressure
- Insulin metabolism
- Cardiac excitability
- Vasomotor tone
- Nerve transmission
- Neuromuscular conduction
A lack of magnesium can have serious consequences, which is why meeting your needs through dietary sources of supplementation is critical.
Want a bit more? Here are a few other reasons why we love magnesium:
- Muscle relaxation: Magnesium is a calcium antagonist that competes for binding sites in muscle to induce relaxation 1. A magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of muscle cramps and spasms.
- Electrolytes: Most people think about sodium and potassium as the significant electrolytes, but magnesium is essential for various electrolyte functions, including neurotransmission, muscle function, pH and fluid balance, and more.
- Sleep: Magnesium plays a vital role in helping bind and stimulate GABA receptors in the brain, which applies the brakes on brain activity and helps support relaxation and sleep 4.
What is Vitamin B6?
The other half of the equation is vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine. The B vitamins, as a whole, are an essential group of nutrients that are heavily involved in energy metabolism. But vitamin B6, specifically, plays a critical role in keeping your brain and nervous system functioning optimally.
It is a water-soluble vitamin with many benefits for cognitive function, energy metabolism, mood, stress, sleep, and more 5.
In its phosphorylated and most active form, pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP), vitamin B6 also plays a central role as a cofactor for several enzymes, especially those involved in amino acid and fatty acid metabolism.
But it doesn’t stop there. Vitamin B6 is also needed for 5, 6:
- Degradation of storage carbohydrates (mainly glycogen)
- Hemoglobin synthesis
- Protective agent against reactive oxygen species (free radicals)
- Neurotransmitter synthesis (serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and GABA)
- Immune function
But because your body cannot produce vitamin B6, the bulk of it should come from diet or through supplementation.
7 Health Benefits Of Taking Magnesium And B6 Together
While they’re often touted as a solid sleep duo, there’s much more to this synergistic pair!
Looking at a list of magnesium and B6 functions, you’ll see many overlap, so taking them together can double up their effects.
But B6 is also needed to bring magnesium into cells, ensuring you get the full benefit of taking magnesium.
1. Supports mood and mental health
A fair bit of information is available about the link between B6 deficiency and mood disorders like depression. Studies find that low B6 levels double the risk of depression, while another study confirmed that a higher B6 intake reduces the risk of repression 7, 8.
Why such a strong link? Vitamin B6 is involved in producing neurotransmitters essential for mood regulation—GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline 9–and people with depression are often deficient in B6.
Magnesium is also essential in synthesizing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and GABA, which are involved in the pathogenesis of mood disorders like anxiety and depression 4.
Studies show that supplementing with magnesium can improve symptoms of both to the same (or a higher) degree as some antidepressants 10.
While both supplements effectively alleviate mood symptoms, studies show that combining them is significantly more effective than using one alone 11.
How many people actually get the sleep they need? Whether from stress, work, family, or what have you, getting good quality sleep nightly is difficult for most people to achieve. But supplementing with B6 and magnesium could be gold if you struggle to sleep well.
Serotonin is an essential neurotransmitter that supports healthy sleep patterns, and vitamin B6 is necessary for the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin, which is then converted into the sleep hormone melatonin 12, 13.
But magnesium and B6 are also involved with the neurotransmitter GABA, the relaxing hormone that offers sleep-inducing effects.
Vitamin B6 is needed for GABA synthesis, while magnesium binds to and stimulates GABA receptors to induce relaxation and ease anxiety and stress 9, 14.
Studies show that low B6 can lead to insomnia and depression, and supplementing with a magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex can treat insomnia 15.
3. Brain health
There is no shortage of nootropic supplements designed to boost cognitive function, but something as simple as magnesium and B6 can go a long way.
Where magnesium is concerned, magnesium L-threonate has shown much promise for supporting brain health because of its ability to readily cross the blood-brain barrier, leading to higher magnesium concentrations in the brain.
More specifically, magnesium can increase the concentration of stem cells in the hippocampus—a brain region involved in learning and memory—which may improve these functions 16, 17.
Another study found that supplementing with magnesium L-threonate significantly enhanced visual attention, task switching, processing speed, and executive function but also reversed brain aging in people with cognitive decline 18.
To add to that, we throw in vitamin B6, which converts homocysteine—a byproduct of amino acid metabolism—to less toxic compounds.
High levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and supplementing with B6 might offer a form of prevention 19, 20.
4. Heart health
Did you know that a vitamin B6 deficiency can double the risk of developing heart disease 21? While most people don’t associate B6 with heart health, it’s needed to convert homocysteine, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis and arterial blockages 22, 23. And with magnesium, there are plenty of benefits for your cardiovascular system, including 24-26:
- Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reducing blood pressure
- Increasing HDL cholesterol and lowering LDL and triglycerides
- Protecting cardiac tissue
5. Glucose regulation
Although the exact mechanism behind the benefits of B6 on blood sugar isn’t clear, animal studies suggest that a B6 deficiency disrupts the function of the pancreatic cells that produce insulin and interferes with the activity of insulin 27, 28.
But as you might have guessed, supplementing with B6 can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance 29.
Magnesium is also crucial for insulin function and glucose regulation. Normal serum magnesium levels can reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 47%, thanks to its positive effect on regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity 30-32.
6. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
For women struggling with serious PMS, vitamin B6 and magnesium might be what you need. PMS isn’t pleasant and can leave you bloated, achy, moody, exhausted, and downright irritated in the coming weeks before your period—but studies show that B6 and magnesium could take the edge off.
Low magnesium levels have been linked to PMS, and supplementation might help to relieve mood swings, depressive symptoms and reduce fluid retention 33, 34.
One study even found that a daily B6 supplement improved PMS-related depression symptoms, irritability, and tiredness by a whopping 69% 35. But it might be more effective with combined with magnesium 36.
7. Eye health
It’s not just vitamin A and antioxidants that support vision—vitamin B6 and magnesium may, too. Again, we go back to high levels of homocysteine, which are linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration 37.
And because B6 is needed for converting homocysteine to methionine, supplementing with it (and other B vitamins) can reduce the risk by as much as 40% 38.
Taking a magnesium supplement can also support eye health, as it’s been shown to improve blood flow to the eyes, protect against oxidative stress and cell damage, and maintain the health of the ocular nerves 39.
Stock Up on Magnesium and Vitamin B6
If you’re looking to leverage the benefits of magnesium and vitamin B6, taking a look at your diet is a good place to start.
But for times when you might need a bit more, there’s a stack we want you to know about: Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi + Sleep.
NutriGenesis Multi is a state-of-the-art multivitamin featuring NutriGenesis technology—bio-identical vitamins and minerals engineered for maximum absorption and bioactivities.
Complete with 100% RDA of 17+ essential nutrients, Multi restores vitamins and minerals that may be missing from the diet to ensure optimal body-wide performance. Combine that with Performance Lab Sleep, and you have the ultimate duo.
Featuring natural melatonin from Montmorency tart cherries, L-tryptophan, and three forms of magnesium, Sleep is a fast-acting, non-drowsy sleep supplement that enhances sleep to help you perform like a superhuman without the next-day side effects associated with conventional sleep supplements.
So, if you’re ready to take your performance to the next level, you’ll want to get your hands on these.
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