Three forms of vitamin B6 are found in food: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. Vitamin B6 is water soluble, and so cannot be stored in body fat. It is absorbed through the intestines. Much of the body’s vitamin B6 is stored in its muscles.
What does vitamin B6 do?
Vitamin B6 plays a role in:
A form of vitamin B6 is used to treat symptoms for a number of health issues, such as gestational diabetes, premenstrual syndrome, depression, and asthma.
Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin B6:
Source: DRI, Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements 2006, p.182.
The best source of vitamin B6 is enriched, ready-to-serve cereals. Balanced meals composed mainly of meat, fish, or poultry; white potatoes and other starchy vegetables; and fruit (except citrus) also contain vitamin B6. Beef liver and offal and highly enriched soy-based meat substitutes are also excellent sources of this vitamin.
Source: Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File, versions 2001b and 2005; United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
Minor vitamin B6 deficiency is relatively common. It appears in newborns whose diets lack the vitamin. It is also found in some women who take oral contraceptives, alcoholics, and smokers. Deficiency is not observed unless daily intake is 0.5 mg/day or less.
Some illnesses may reduce the amount of vitamin B6 found in the blood, such as:
Signs of vitamin B6 deficiency:
No harmful effects have been tied to excessive vitamin B6 intake from food sources. However, excessive intake of more than 200 mg/day resulting from a pyridoxine supplement used to treat a number of complaints such as carpal tunnel syndrome, painful neuropathy, premenstrual syndrome, asthma, sickle-cell anemia, and epileptic seizures may trigger certain symptoms.
Signs of excess vitamin B6:
Natural health products or vitamin supplements:
Drugs that may result in vitamin B6 deficiency:
Speak with your pharmacist if you plan to take vitamin B6 supplements. Your pharmacist can help you choose the solution that’s best for you based on your health and any drugs you take.
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxamine