Vitamin B6, Magnesium and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Key Features

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts to work properly. They are found in many foods but can also be taken as supplements which come in a variety of forms, such as tablets and drops.

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is one of the B vitamins that is part of the vitamin B complex. It is found in most foods including beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals.

Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods, such as leafy vegetables, grains and nuts, as well as meats and dairy products.  It activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels, as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body. 

Some people have suggested that when individuals on the autism spectrum do not have enough vitamin B6 they should take very substantial doses of vitamin B6 supplements. Magnesium supplements are sometimes taken at the same time as the vitamin B6 supplements to counteract the side effects of the vitamin B6. Those side effects may include nausea and cramping.

However, The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) in the UK and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in the USA both advise caution and have published guidance for the consumption of vitamin B6 and magnesium. For example, the COT made the following recommendations in 2003,

“Recommended intakes of pyridoxine are based on protein intake. In the UK, the RNI [Reference Nutrient Intake] is set at 15 g/g protein for adults. This is equivalent to approximately 1.4 and 1.2 mg/day in the UK for males and females respectively. In the US, the Recommended Daily Allowance is set at 1.3 mg/day, and it is approximately 1.6 mg/day in Australia. Pregnant and lactating women and older people, who have low vitamin B6 levels, can usually increase their intake through a high-protein diet.”

For the latest information on their recommendations please see The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment website at https://cot.food.gov.uk/ and the Office of Dietary Supplements website at https://ods.od.nih.gov/ 


21 Dec 2018
Last Review
01 Dec 2018
Next Review
01 Dec 2021