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Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine

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Vitamin B6

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Also indexed as: B6 Vitamin, Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate (Vitamin B6), Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6: Main Image

Vitamin B6 is the master vitamin for processing amino acids—the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Vitamin B6 helps to make and take apart many amino acids and is also needed to make the hormones, serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

Vitamin B6 has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Anemia and Genetic Vitamin B6-Responsive Anemia
50 to 200 mg per day 3 stars[3 stars] Taking vitamin B6 may partially correct sideroblastic anemia, although they must be taken for life.
Anemia and Vitamin B6 Deficiency
2.5 to 25 mg daily for three weeks, then 1.5 to 2.5 mg per day as maintenance therapy 3 stars[3 stars] Vitamin B6 deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this vitamin may restore levels and improve symptoms.
Autism
30 mg daily per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight; doctor's supervision recommended  3 stars[3 stars] Research shows that vitamin B6 can be helpful for autistic children.
Depression and Vitamin B6 Deficiency
20 mg twice daily3 stars[3 stars] Oral contraceptives can deplete the body of vitamin B6, a nutrient needed for normal mental functioning. In such cases, vitamin B6 supplementation may improve mood.
High Homocysteine
(Folic Acid, Vitamin B12)
400 to 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily, 10 to 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily, and 50 to 300 mcg of vitamin B12 daily3 stars[3 stars] Vitamin B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12 all play a role in converting homocysteine to other substances within the body and have consistently lowered homocysteine levels in trials.
Morning Sickness
10 to 25 mg three times daily3 stars[3 stars] In two double-blind trials, supplementation with vitamin B6 significantly reduced the severity of morning sickness.
Premenstrual Syndrome
100 to 200 mg per day on a regular basis3 stars[3 stars] Many clinical trials show that taking vitamin B6 helps relieve PMS symptoms.
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
20 mg daily2 stars[2 stars] There is evidence that supplementing with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may improve memory performance, especially in people who are deficient.
Asthma
100 to 200 mg daily2 stars[2 stars] Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in asthmatics. Supplementing with the vitamin may decrease the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
100 to 300 mg daily for no more than three months; 50 to 100 mg daily after that 2 stars[2 stars] Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in people with carpal tunnel syndrome, supplementing with the vitamin has reportedly relieved symptoms.
Celiac Disease
(Vitamin B12, Folic Acid)
3 mg vitamin B6, 0.8 mg folic acid, and 0.5 mg vitamin B12 2 stars[2 stars] Daily supplementation with a combination of vitamin B6 (3 mg), folic acid (0.8 mg), and vitamin B12 (0.5 mg) have been shown to help relieve depression in people with celiac disease.
Depression and Premenstrual Syndrome
Take under medical supervision: 100 to 300 mg daily 2 stars[2 stars] Several studies indicate that supplementing with vitamin B6 helps alleviate depression, including depression associated with PMS.
Intermittent Claudication
(Alpha-Linolenic Acid, Fish Oil, Folic Acid, Oleic Acid, Vitamin E)
200 mg of EPA and 130 mg of DHA daily, plus small amounts of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid2 stars[2 stars] In one study, men with intermittent claudication who drank a milk product fortified with fish oil, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid could walk further without pain than those who drank regular milk.
Low Back Pain
(Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12)
Take under medical supervision: 50 to 100 mg each of vitamins B1 and B6, and 250 to 500 mcg of vitamin B12, all taken three times per day2 stars[2 stars] A combination of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 may prevent a common type of back pain linked to vertebral syndromes and may reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medications.
Macular Degeneration
(Folic Acid, Vitamin B12)
2.5 mg folic acid, 50 mg vitamin B6, and 1 mg vitamin B12 2 stars[2 stars] In a double-blind study of female health professionals who had cardiovascular disease or risk factors, daily supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 significantly decreased age-related macular degeneration.
MSG Sensitivity
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars] In one study, eight out of nine people stopped reacting to MSG when given vitamin B6. Many doctors suggest that people having MSG-sensitivity symptoms try supplementing with vitamin B6 for three months as a trial.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support and High Homocysteine
750 mg daily taken under the supervision of a doctor2 stars[2 stars] Women who habitually miscarry have been found to have high homocysteine levels. Vitamin B6 may reduce these levels and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Schizophrenia
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars] Vitamin B6 has been used in combination with niacin in the treatment of schizophrenia with some reported benefits.
Schizophrenia and High Homocysteine
(Folic Acid, Vitamin B12)
Take folic acid (2 mg), vitamin B6 (25 mg), and vitamin B12 (400 mcg) daily2 stars[2 stars] People with schizophrenia who have high homocysteine levels may improve symptoms by supplementing with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Tooth Decay
For adults: 20 mg per day in capsules or lozenges; for children: 9 mg daily2 stars[2 stars] Vitamin B6 appears to increase growth of beneficial mouth bacteria and decrease growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
Type 1 Diabetes
1,800 mg daily of of pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate or 50 mg daily pyridoxine2 stars[2 stars] People with diabetes often have low vitamin B6 levels. Supplementing with the vitamin may restore levels and improve glucose tolerance.
Type 2 Diabetes
1,800 mg pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate daily or 50 mg daily pyridoxine daily2 stars[2 stars] People with diabetes often have low vitamin B6 levels. Supplementing with the vitamin may restore levels and improve glucose tolerance.
Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy
(Vitamin B1)
25 mg daily, with 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily2 stars[2 stars] Taking vitamin B1 combined with vitamin B6 may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Vertigo
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars] Studies have shown vitamin B6 to be effective at reducing symptoms.
Acne Vulgaris
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] While not proven in research, some reports suggest that it may alleviate adolescent and premenstrual acne, however, another report has suggested that it might make acne worse.
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
(Folic Acid, Vitamin B12)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]

In a study of women with cardiovascular disease or related risk factors, supplementing daily with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 appeared to prevent age-related cognitive decline in those with low dietary intake.

Alcohol Withdrawal
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Alcohol-related anxiety may be improved by a combination of vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin E, though the high amounts of niacin and vitamin B6 used in the study need a doctor’s supervision.
Alzheimer’s Disease
(Coenzyme Q10, Iron)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] A combination of coenzyme Q10, iron (sodium ferrous citrate), and vitamin B6 may improve mental status in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Amenorrhea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Preliminary evidence found that vitamin B6 restored menstruation and normalized hormone levels in three women with amenorrhea who had high prolactin levels.
Atherosclerosis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine have been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease in most research. Taking vitamin B6 may help lower homocysteine levels.
Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In one study, high amounts of vitamin B6 was more effective than methylphenidate (Ritalin). A healthcare practitioner knowledgeable in nutrition must be consulted when using high amounts of this vitamin.
Bulimia
(L-Tryptophan)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6, when taken with L-tryptophan, has been shown to improve eating behavior, feelings about eating, and mood among women with bulimia.
Celiac Disease
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] For people with celiac disease who experience depression even after following a gluten-free diet, supplementing with vitamin B6 may be beneficial.
Epilepsy
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 has helped children with seizures related to a genetic enzyme defect. However, it is not known whether supplementation would benefit people with epilepsy.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Some studies have found that supplementing with vitamin B6 reduces FBD symptoms.
Heart Attack
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Taking vitamin B6 may reduce blood levels of homocysteine. High homocysteine levels have been linked to an increased heart attack risk.
HIV and AIDS Support
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 deficiency was found in more than one-third of HIV-positive men, deficiency was associated with decreased immune function in this group. Supplementing with the vitamin may improve survival rate.
Hypoglycemia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics, and since there are similarities in the way the body regulates high and low blood sugar levels, it might be helpful for hypoglycemia as well.
Kidney Stones
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Taking vitamin B6 with magnesium can inhibit oxalate stone formation.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease
(Manganese, Zinc)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Some doctors have reported good results using a combination of zinc, manganese, and vitamin B6 for people with Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Osteoporosis and High Homocysteine
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Homocystinuria, a condition associated with high homocysteine levels, frequently causes osteoporosis. By lowering homocysteine levels, vitamin B6 may help prevent osteoporosis.
Parkinson’s Disease
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 has been reported to improve Parkinson’s symptoms. It can be used in conjunction with L-dopa plus carbidopa (Sinemet) or selegiline (Eldepryl, Atapryl), rather than with L-dopa alone.
Photosensitivity
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 has been used to successfully reduce reactions to sunlight.
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In one trial, a combination of vitamins B1, B6, and B12 before and after surgery prevented post-surgical reductions in immune activity.
Preeclampsia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Supplementing with vitamin B6 and folic acid may lower homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine damages the lining of blood vessels and can lead to the preeclamptic symptoms.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Vitamin B6 has been shown to have anti-sickling effects on the red blood cells. It can also correct vitamin B6 deficiency, which is common in people with sickle cell anemia.
Stroke and High Homocysteine
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Elevated blood levels of homocysteine have been linked to stroke risk in most studies. Supplementing with vitamin B6 may lower homocysteine levels and reduce stroke risk.
Tardive Dyskinesia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In some studies, taking vitamin B6 along with other nutrients appeared to prevent the development of tardive dyskinesia.
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Copyright © 2011 Aisle7.

The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.

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