Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. There are three different natural forms of vitamin B6, namely pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal, all of which are normally present in foods. For human metabolism the active derivative of the vitamin, pyridoxal 5`-phosphate (PLP), is of major importance as the metabolically active coenzyme form (1, 2, 3).

Health functions

The active form of vitamin B6, pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), plays a vital role in the function of approximately 100 enzymes that increase the speed of (‘catalyze’) essential chemical reactions in the human body (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Disease risk reduction

During protein digestion, amino acids including ‘methionine’, and homocysteine, an intermediate in the methionine metabolism, are released.

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Things to know about Vitamin B6

  • Other Applications

    Vitamin B6 supplements at doses much larger than those needed to prevent deficiency (see Intake Recommendations) have been used in an attempt to treat a wide variety of conditions.

  • Intake Recommendations

    Among several factors likely to affect an individual's requirement for vitamin B6, protein intake has been the most studied.

  • Supply Situation

    National nutrition surveys for some European countries have shown estimated mean dietary vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) intakes for adults of 3 mg/day, with a range of 1.6–3.6 mg/day (38).

  • Deficiency

    In some studies of vitamin B6 deficiency, neurological symptoms, such as irritability, depression, and confusion have been noted.

  • Sources

    Vitamin B6 must be obtained from the diet because humans cannot synthesize it.

  • Safety

    Although vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is excreted in the urine, long-term supplementation with very high doses (excess of 1,000 mg per day) of pyridoxine may result in sensory neuropathy.

  • References

    Consult the full list of scientific references.