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Other name(s):

vitamin B-6, pyridoxal phosphate, pyridoxamine, pyridoxol, pyridoxyl-5-phosphate

General description

Pyridoxine is also known as vitamin B-6. It’s a water-soluble vitamin. Like the other B vitamins, it plays a role in energy production. B-6 was isolated in 1939. It’s needed for more than 60 enzymes to work in the body. It’s crucial in the synthesis of non-essential amino acids.

Pyridoxine is needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. These include gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. This vitamin is needed in the conversion of stored energy (glycogen) to blood sugar (glucose). Deficiencies can lead to numbness or tingling in the extremities (peripheral neuropathy) and seizures. This vitamin is needed for red blood cells to form. It’s needed for iron to convert into hemoglobin. Being deficient in pyridoxine can cause anemia.

Medically valid uses

Pyridoxine is used to treat drug-induced or diet-related deficiency. It’s also used to treat metabolic problems. These include B-6-dependent convulsions, B-6-responsive anemia, and some inborn errors of metabolism (genetic issues). It’s also used to treat nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through studies.

Pyridoxine can treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can also help prevent water retention. It acts as a diuretic, especially in PMS. It may also slow the aging process. It may also lower cholesterol levels. It’s also said to prevent hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), carpal tunnel syndrome, and migraines.

Recommended intake

Pyridoxine is measured in milligrams. It comes as an oral tablet. Strengths range from 25–100 mg. It also comes as an oral timed-release tablet. The RDA is the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Age group


Maximum daily intake

Infants (0–6 months)

0.1 mg


Infants (7–12 months)

0.3 mg


Children (1–3 years)

0.5 mg

30 mg

Children (4–8 years)

0.6 mg

40 mg

Children (9–13 years)

1 mg

60 mg

Males (14–18 years)

1.3 mg

80 mg

Females (14–18 years)

1.2 mg

80 mg

Males (19–50 years)

1.3 mg

100 mg

Females (19–50 years)

1.3 mg

100 mg

Males (51 years and older)

1.7 mg

100 mg

Females (51 years and older)

1.5 mg

100 mg

Pregnant women

1.9 mg

100 mg

Lactating women

2 mg

100 mg


Food source

Nutrient content per 100 grams

Brewer's yeast

3.78 mg


3.59 mg

Sunflower seeds

3.59 mg


2.0 mg


1.69 mg


0.97 mg


0.89 mg


0.85 mg


0.65 mg


0.6 mg

Canning vegetables may destroy over half of the pyridoxine. This is due to the heating process. Freezing vegetables may destroy up to one-third of the B-6.

The vitamin doesn’t need to be refrigerated. But it’s unstable in light, especially in ultraviolet light. It’s best to store it at room temperature. Keep it in light-resistant containers. Don’t freeze it.

You need more pyridoxine if you have a high-protein diet. You also need more if you have certain health issues. These include asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia.

If you consume moderate to large amounts of alcohol, you may need more of the vitamin. You may also need more if you smoke.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to take supplements. But you should talk to your healthcare provider before doing so.

There are four problems linked with pyridoxine deficiency. These include the following:

  • Seizures in infants

  • Dermatitis

  • Anemia (microcytic and hypochromic)

  • Peripheral neuropathy

If you take pyridoxine during pregnancy for nausea and vomiting, your infant may be deficient in it. This can cause seizures in your infant. The seizures may start within a few hours to months after birth. They can be treated with pyridoxine.

If you get anemia from a deficiency, you’ll have smaller than normal red blood cell with less than normal amounts of hemoglobin. In this type of anemia, your iron levels are normal or high. This means that iron isn’t being made into hemoglobin.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

High doses of pyridoxine can cause numbness or tingling. This is called sensory neuropathy. This may lead to changes in your gait.

Pyridoxine keeps levodopa from working as well as it should. This is a medicine used to treat Parkinson’s disease.  It makes your body break down the medicine more quickly. This may not happen if you’re taking both levodopa and carbidopa.

Some other medicines get in the way of pyridoxine. You may need supplements if you’re taking isoniazid, cycloserine, or penicillamine.

Some studies say that high doses of the vitamin decrease how well phenobarbital, primidone, and phenytoin work. But this isn’t an established interaction.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Poulson, Brittany, RD, CDE
  • Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.