Pyridoxine, vitamin B6, is a water-soluble vitamin that was first isolated in 1930s. It is found naturally in many foods. The term vitamin B6 refers to six common forms. 

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Vitamin B6 is water soluble

Sources of vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 is predominantly found in plant foods. The best sources of vitamin B6 are avocados, potatoes, spinach, plums and hazelnuts, but salmon and poultry are also good sources. It is found in other fish, meats, nuts, whole grains, legumes, bananas and is added to certain foods such as fortified cereals.


Cooking, food processing and storage can reduce vitamin B6 availability by 10 to 50 percent.


Our bodies need vitamin B6 to break down protein and build red blood cells. Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in the function of over 100 enzymes, mostly involved in protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy, as well as the immune function. Together with vitamin B9 and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 can effectively reduce homocysteine levels, but subjects’ cardiovascular events—high levels associated with an increase risk of cardiovascular disease—do not reduce.

Recent clinical research supports the use of vitamin B6 to treat morning sickness and suggests a possible benefit in the management of premenstrual syndrome.


Vitamin B6 deficiency:

Cases of severe deficiency of vitamin B6 are rare. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin B6. People with many inflammations due to chronic diseases may have impaired vitamin B6 metabolism, such as people with autoimmune disorders and people with alcohol dependence. Also, many people over 60 do not meet their recommended daily amount. Older adults are recommended to take a multivitamin supplement which provides at least 2.0 mg of vitamin B6 daily.

Neurological symptoms observed in severe vitamin B6 deficiency include irritability, depression and confusion. Other symptoms include inflammation of the tongue, and sores or ulcers of the mouth.

Those who follow a very restricted vegetarian diet might need to increase their vitamin B6 intake by eating food fortified with vitamin B6 or by taking a supplement.


Long term supplementation with very high doses of pyridoxine may result in painful neurological symptoms. The recommended upper daily intake level is 100 mg.


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