Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Description Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. It is a water soluble vitamin and member of the B-vitamins group.
Function/ Used for Vitamin B6 is important in the functioning of more than 60 enzymes including those responsible for energy production; protein metabolism; RNA and DNA synthesis and the production of red blood cells and antibodies which fight infections.

It also supports healthy skin and is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system.

It may also be helpful in reducing the severity of pre-menstrual syndrome.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 1.4mg


UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Wholemeal bread, meat (especially liver and pork), fish, bananas, wheat bran and fortified breakfast cereals.
Deficiency Vitamin B6 deficiency is unusual. Symptoms include anaemia; cracks in the corners of the mouth; red and inflamed tongue; sensation of burning skin and poor blood sugar balance.

Advanced deficiency may produce weakness, irritability, depression, dizziness, peripheral neuropathy and seizures. Diarrhoea, anaemia and seizures are particular characteristics of deficiency in infants and children.2

Precautions and contraindications Safe Upper Level: 10mg/day3
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy with normal intakes.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Oral contraceptives may increase requirement for vitamin B6.4
Deficiency of vitamin B6 may lead to vitamin C deficiency.
All B vitamins act synergistically and excess levels of one may lead to imbalance or deficiency in others.  It is advisable to take B vitamins as a complex rather than as single substance supplements.
Adverse effects Adverse effects usually occur with large doses only.  Taking more than 200mg a day for a long time can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy), unsteady gait, numbness and tingling in feet and hands, loss of limb reflexes, impaired or absent tendon reflexes, photosensitivity on exposure to sun, dizziness, nausea, breast tenderness, and exacerbation of acne.2
References 1

2 Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3 Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4 Gaby A.R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. Health Notes. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006