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VITAMINS: Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)

Overview of Vitamins | Vitamin A (and Beta Carotene) | Biotin (Vitamin H) | Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin) | Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) | Vitamin B-3 (Niacin or Nicotinic Acid) | Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid) | Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) | Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) | Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) | Vitamin D | Vitamin E | Folate (Folic Acid) | Inositol | Choline


Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)

Functions of Vitamin B-6

  • Necessary for the synthesis & breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
  • Aids in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Aids in the formation of antibodies.
  • Maintains the central nervous system.
  • Aids in the removal of excess fluid of premenstrual women.
  • Promotes healthy skin.
  • Reduces muscle spasms, leg cramps, hand numbness, nausea & stiffness of hands.
  • Helps maintain a proper balance of sodium & phosphorous in the body.

Deficiency of Vitamin B-6

  • Alterations in the function of the nervous system evidenced by electroencephalography are among the earliest symptoms of vitamin B-6 deficiency.
  • Severe deficiency may produce seizures, dermatitis, glossitis, cheilosis, angular stomatitis and anemia.
  • deficiencies are rare, but subclinical deficiencies may exist, especially in women and the elderly.

People with an increased risk of Vitamin B-6 deficiency

  • Drinkers
  • Smokers
  • Heavy meat-eaters
  • Women on the pill

Recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin B-6

See Recommended dietary allowances for vitamins.

Food sources of Vitamin B-6

White meats (poultry, fish, pork), bananas and whole grains are good sources of vitamin B6.

Clinical uses of Vitamin B-6

  • Pyridoxine-dependent seizures.
  • Some types of sideroblastic anemias.
  • Vitamin B6 in conjunction with folate and vitamin B12 helps to lower plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Vitamin B6 supplements may be required in conjunction with a number of drugs, which have the side-effect of altering vitamin B6 metabolism.
  • Increased concentrations of pyridoxal phosphate in plasma are used as one of the criteria for diagnosing hypophosphatasia.
  • Because vitamin B6 metabolism is altered in a variety of disease states, there have been suggestions that vitamin B6 supplements may be beneficial in many other conditions. However, convincing scientific support is not currently available.