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Vitamin B6

General Information

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be stored in the body. Excess vitamin B6 passes out of the body through the urine. Vitamin B6 is available as a supplement, and it can be found in foods such as cereal grains, eggs, nuts, meat, fish, potatoes, other starchy vegetables, fruits, and beans. Vitamin B6 is often used in combination with other B vitamins in a vitamin B complex formulation.

Common Name(s)

vitamin B6, pyridoxine

Scientific Name(s)

vitamin B6

Scientific Name(s)

Vitamin B6 supplements are usually taken by mouth. They are available in different forms, including chewable tablets and gummies, capsules, tablets, powders, strips, drops, and liquids.

Table 1 lists the usual dose range and the recommended dietary allowance (DRA) for vitamin B6 for different age groups. People with vitamin B6 deficiency might need doses at or above the RDA.

Table 1. Usual daily dose range and RDA for vitamin B6 for different age groups

Age groups

Vitamin B6 (mg/day)

RDA

Usual daily dose

Children

1–3 years

0.5

0.05–30

4–8 years

0.6

0.05–40

Adolescent males

9–13 years

1.0

0.05–60

14–18 years

1.3

0.1–80

Adult males

19–30 years

1.3

0.1–100

31–50 years

1.3

0.1–100

51–70 years

1.7

0.1–100

>70 years

1.7

0.1–100

Adolescent females

9–13 years

1.0

0.05–60

14–18 years

1.2

0.1–80

Adult females

19–30 years

1.3

0.1–100

31–50 years

1.3

0.1–100

51–70 years

1.5

0.1–100

>70 years

1.5

0.1–100

Pregnancy

14–50 years

1.9

0.1–100

Breast-feeding

14–50 years

2.0

0.1–100

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Vitamin B6 is important in maintaining overall good health. It helps the body metabolize fats and break down carbohydrates and proteins, and it is involved in the formation of tissues. At doses at or above the RDA, vitamin B6 supplementation is highly effective in treating vitamin B6 deficiency.

Vitamin B6 is well studied for the treatment of sideroblastic anemia (a condition where the body does not make enough healthy red blood cells) and vitamin-B6-dependent seizures in newborns. It

 has also been studied to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. It may be beneficial in improving PMS-related discomfort (breast pain, anxiety, depression), but more research is needed in this area. Research into the short-term use of vitamin B6 for treating pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting has also come up with conflicting results.

Vitamin B6 has also been studied together with folic acid and vitamin B12 as a prevention for recurrent strokes. However, research has shown that this combination of supplements did not lower the risk of strokes.

Vitamin B6 may be used treat ADHD, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, prevent heart disease, prevent certain types of cancer, improve restlessness, and manage diabetes. However, there is not enough reliable evidence for the use of vitamin B6 in these conditions; further studies are required to confirm its benefits.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Vitamin B6 is likely safe when taken in recommended daily amounts. When taken in large amounts over a long period of time, vitamin B6 can cause nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, tiredness, abnormal heart rhythms, decreased muscle tone, movement incoordination, painful skin patches, drowsiness, sedation, sensitivity to the sun, and a burning, prickling, or tingling sensation in the arms and legs.

Vitamin B6 supplementation is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women when taken in daily recommended doses under the supervision of a health care professional.

Vitamin B6 can interact with certain medications, including levodopa (used in Parkinson's disease), estrogen, amiodarone, cycloserine, theophyllin, phenobarbital, and anti-seizure medications (e.g. phenytoin). Consult your health care provider if you have any concerns.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Skokovic-Sunjic D. Vitamins and the role of the pharmacy technician. Pharmacy Practice: Tech Talk May/June CE 2004. http://www.pharmacygateway.ca/tech_ce/pdfs/TT_CEMayEng.pdf
  2. Pyridoxine [vitamin B6] (monograph). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (accessed 4 July 2012)
  3. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Vitamin B6. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=180&lang=eng (Accessed 3 July 2014)
  4. Repchinsky C. Compendium of pharmaceuticals and specialties. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Pharmacists Association, 2008.
  5. Dietary supplement fact sheet: vitamin B6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6_pf.asp, accessed 4 July 2012
  6. HOPE 2 Investigators. Homocysteine lowering with folic acid and B vitamins in vascular disease. NEJM 2006;354:1567-77.
  7. Vitamin B monograph. Natural Standard. Accessed 4 July 2012.
  8. Vitamin B6. National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-QuickFacts/, accessed 3 July 2014
  9. Vitamin B6. MedlinePlus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002402.htm, accessed 3 July 2014
  10. Vitamin B6. Natural Standards – The Authority on Integrative Medicine. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases.aspx (subscription required), accessed 3 July 2014

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