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Pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6)

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. It helps make energy in your body. B-6 was isolated in 1938. It’s needed for more than 60 enzymes to work in the body. It’s also needed to make non-essential amino acids.

Pyridoxine is needed to help make neurotransmitters. These include gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also needed to make dopamine and serotonin. This vitamin is needed to help convert stored energy (glycogen) to blood sugar (glucose). Low levels of pyridoxine can lead to numbness or tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). It can also lead to seizures. This vitamin is needed for red blood cells to form. It’s needed for iron to convert into hemoglobin. Low levels of pyridoxine can cause anemia and many other health problems.

Medically valid uses

Pyridoxine is used to treat:

  • Drug-induced or diet-related deficiency

  • Metabolic and or genetic problems, such as pyridoxine-dependent convulsions and pyridoxine-responsive anemia

  • Some genetic problems of metabolism

  • Nausea and vomiting from pregnancy

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that haven't been proven yet through research.

Pyridoxine may treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It may 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 also may help to prevent hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), carpal tunnel syndrome, and migraines.

Recommended intake

Pyridoxine is measured in milligrams (mg). It comes as an oral tablet. Doses range from 25 mg to 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 to 6 months)

0.1 mg


Infants (7 to 12 months)

0.3 mg


Children (1 to 3 years)

0.5 mg

30 mg

Children (4 to 8 years)

0.6 mg

40 mg

Children (9 to 13 years)

1 mg

60 mg

Males (14 to 18 years)

1.3 mg

80 mg

Females (14 to 18 years)

1.2 mg

80 mg

Males (19 to 50 years)

1.3 mg

100 mg

Females (19 to 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 people

1.9 mg

100 mg

Lactating people

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 more than half of the pyridoxine. This is due to the heating process. Freezing vegetables may destroy up to 1/3 of it.

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 may need more pyridoxine if you have any of these:

  • A high-protein diet

  • Asthma

  • Breast cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Sickle cell anemia

You may also need more if:

  • You drink moderate to large amounts of alcohol

  • You smoke

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

There are 4 problems linked with pyridoxine deficiency. These include:

  • Seizures in babies

  • Dermatitis

  • Anemia (microcytic and hypochromic)

  • Peripheral neuropathy

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 supplements can cause numbness or tingling loss of control of body movements. 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 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 antiepileptic medicines work. This includes medicines such as valproic acid, phenobarbital, primidone, and phenytoin. But this effect isn't certain.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Brittany Poulson MDA RDN CD CDE
  • Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
  • Rita Sather RN