Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Vitamin B6


Definition:

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water so the body cannot store them. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a regular supply of these vitamins in your diet.

Alternative Names:

Pyridoxal; Pyridoxine; Pyridoxamine

Function:

Vitamin B6 helps the body to:

  • Make antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases.
  • Maintain normal nerve function.
  • Make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues. A vitamin B6 deficiency can cause a form of anemia.
  • Break down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.
  • Keep blood sugar (glucose) in normal ranges.
Food Sources:

Vitamin B6 is found in:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Legumes (dried beans)
  • Beef and pork
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Whole grains and fortified cereals
  • Corn

Fortified breads and cereals may also contain vitamin B6. Fortified means that a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food.

Side Effects:

Large doses of vitamin B6 can cause:

  • Difficulty coordinating movement
  • Numbness
  • Sensory changes

Deficiency of this vitamin can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mouth and tongue sores also known as glossitis
  • Peripheral neuropathy

(Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States.)

Recommendations:

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin people should receive on a daily basis. The RDA for vitamins may be used to help create goals for each person.

How much of each vitamin is needed depends on a person's age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and illnesses, are also important. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin B6:

Infants

  • 0 to 6 months: 0.1* milligrams per day (mg/day)
  • 7 to 12 months: 0.3* mg/day

*Adequate intake (AI)

Children

  • 1 to 3 years: 0.5 mg/day
  • 4 to 8 years: 0.6 mg/day
  • 9 to 13 years: 1.0 mg/day

Adolescents and Adults

  • Males age 14 to 50 years: 1.3 mg/day
  • Males over 50 years: 1.7 mg/day
  • Females age 14 to 18 years: 1.2 mg/day
  • Females age 19 to 50 years: 1.3 mg/day
  • Females over 50 years: 1.5 mg/day
  • Females of all ages 1.9 mg/day during pregnancy and 2.0 mg/day during lactation

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

References:

Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998. PMID: 23193625 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23193625.

Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 225.

Salwen MJ. Vitamins and trace elements. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 26.


Review Date: 2/2/2015
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Vitamin B6

Related Links
Request an Appointment Online or call
1-800-789-PENN (7366)
Antibody
Protein in diet
   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2016, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania