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, 41).

Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed and revised by  Angelika Friedel on 14.06.2017

Health functions

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) normal function of the nervous system, red blood cell formation, the immune system, and psychological functions.

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

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6 (pantothenic acid) is dependent on age, gender, and other factors.

  • 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

    Severe vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency is uncommon. Symptoms include irritability, depression, confusion, tongue inflammation and open mouth sores.

  • Sources

    Foods rich in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal) include potatoes, spinach, bananas, as well as chicken, turkey, and salmon.

  • 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.