Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 comprises 3 forms (vitamers): pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine, and has a central role in the metabolism of amino acids. It is involved in breaking down glycogen and has a role in the modification of steroid hormone action. It is also essential for the formation of red blood cells and the metabolism and transport of iron. Together with folate and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 is required for maintenance of normal blood homocysteine levels. Raised homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare because it is widely distributed in foods and is synthesised by the body’s gut flora. Deficiency may only occur as a complication of disease or prolonged administration of certain drugs.

Toxicity

Long-term intake of high dose vitamin B6 from supplements (typically >200mg/day) has been reported to result in sensory nerve damage.

Food sources

Poultry, white fish, milk, eggs, whole grains, soya beans, peanuts and some vegetables are sources of vitamin B6.

 

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