Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): Sources, Deficiency & Toxicity

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, like other B vitamins is a water-soluble nutrient, found in variety of plants and animal products.

Through the help of pyridoxine our body stores and uses energy from the carbohydrate and protein rich foods we eat, and it also forms haemoglobin (the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body).

As a drug, it is used for treating and preventing pyridoxine  (vitamin B6) deficiency. Pyridoxine aids a number of functions in the body and helps prevent disease processes involving the heart, blood vessels and the brain. It also helps prevent microcytic anaemia.



Some great sources of vitamin B6 include;

  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Pork
  • Chicken 
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Oatmeal
  • Bread 
  • Vegetables
  • Soya beans
  • Potatoes
  • Banana




Vitamin B6 is abundant in the foods we eat, which means the deficiency is rare. However, certain medications can affect vitamin B6 metabolism and may lead to deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency are mainly associated with;


The following conditions increases the risk of vitamin B6 deficiency;

  • The elderly 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Chronic alcoholics
  • Liver disease 
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease 
  • Dialysis patients 
  • Women with type 1 diabetes 
  • HIV
  • Inflammation bowel syndrome 
  • Crohns disease 
  • Celiac disease 





Pyridoxine is in moderate amounts in plants and animal foods. It is also available as a tablet or injection supplements.

According to the World Health Organisation, Adults and children requires 10 mg daily for prophylaxis, but patients with evidence of vitamin B6 deficiency may require up to 50 mg daily.




Vitamin B6 is safe for everyone, although it has a few side effects including headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and tingling.

Supplementing on vitamin B6 for a long time can lead to peripheral neuropathy (loss of sensation in the arms and legs).

The condition can be reversed when you stop taking the supplement. But in some cases, taking the supplements daily for more than 12 months may cause permanent damage.










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