The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)  
 
Search treatments and conditions

 

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is involved in more bodily functions than almost any other single nutrient. It affects both physical and mental health, and is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein. Pyridoxine also aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance and promotes red blood cell formation. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, for the synthesis of RNA and DNA, which contain the genetic instructions for the reproduction of all cells and for normal cellular growth. It activates many enzymes and aids in the absorption of vitamin B12, in immune system function, and in antibody production. Vitamin B6 is easily destroyed by the heavy use of alcohol, drugs or refined sugars. It is normally found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, meat, legumes and whole grains. Supplementing with the more active form (pyridoxal-5'-phosphate) may improve the response some individuals experience. Some supplements come with both forms of the vitamin included.

The best food sources are pork, organ meats, wheat bran, meat in general, poultry, fish, corn, legumes, seeds, grains, wheat, potatoes, bananas, green leafy vegetables, green beans, brewer's yeast, avocados, wheat germ, soybeans, walnuts, blackstrap molasses, cantaloupe, cabbage, milk, egg yolks, green peppers, carrots, peanuts and pecans. Cooking and food processing destroys vitamin B6. Even the best sources generally have less than 1mg per serving.

The RDA for adult females is 1.4 to 1.6mg daily, and for adult males is 1.7 to 2mg daily. This dose is considered by many to be less than that required for optimal health.
 

 
 

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Parkinson's Disease / Risk
 In a Russian trial, 60 patients with Parkinsonism of various causes with pronounced tremor were effectively treated with intramuscular doses of vitamin B6. Single doses were as high as 400mg; the total doses were from 3000 to 6000mg. Changes in laboratory findings (EMG, tremorographic and myotonometric) correlated with the clinical picture. Vitamin B6 is recommended irrespective of the cause of the disease and of the patient's age, and can be given either alone or in combination with anti-Parkinsonian drugs aside from DOPA. High doses of B6 are not recommended, however, for patients with angina or coronary insufficiency. [Sov Med (7): 14- 9, 1979 (in Russian)]

Allergy

  Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
 One older study reported that L-tyrosine (200mg), vitamin B6 (2.5mg) and niacinamide (10mg) when given in combination for the treatment of hay fever, hives, allergic headaches and poison oak dermatitis produced significant symptomatic relief when 1-3 tablets were taken four times/day in milder cases and up to 6 tablets 4-6 times/day in more severe cases. In some cases characterized by more chronic disorders, such as chronic sinusitis, a worsening of symptoms often occurred during the first few days of treatment. This study found that treatment with each the nutrients individually, or with any two in combination, was ineffective. (Widmann RR, Keye JD Epinephrine precursors an control of allergy. Northwest Med 1952:51:588-590.)

Autoimmune

  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Please also see the article about the approach that Fred Klenner, MD used with MS.

  Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis) / Risk
 Vitamin B6 at a dosage of 500mg tid causes some patients to feel better. Side effects such as pain, numbness and weakness in the limbs are a possibility at this dose. If found to be beneficial, supplementation may need to be long term or permanent.

Circulation

  Atherosclerosis
  Increased Risk of Stroke
 Vitamin B6 at 150-200mg daily reduces platelet aggregation, and thus may help prevent ischemic (clotting type) strokes.

  Anemia (Uncommon Nutritional)
  Anemia, Sideroblastic
 Treatment with oral pyridoxine usually benefits patients whose sideroblastic anemia was present at birth. This treatment improves the condition of some patients but does not cure the anemia.

Environment / Toxicity

  Copper Toxicity
 Carl Pfeiffer, M.D. also suggests using vitamin B6 at 50mg daily without supplemental copper to increase copper excretion.

Hormones

  Histapenia (Histamine Low)
  Histadelia (Histamine High)
  Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

Infections

  Sinusitis
 One older study reported that L-tyrosine (200mg), vitamin B6 (2.5mg) and niacinamide (10mg) when given in combination for the treatment of hay fever, hives, allergic headaches and poison oak dermatitis produced significant symptomatic relief when 1-3 tablets were taken four times/day in milder cases and up to 6 tablets 4-6 times/day in more severe cases. In some cases characterized by more chronic disorders, such as chronic sinusitis, a worsening of symptoms often occurred during the first few days of treatment. This study found that treatment with each the nutrients individually, or with any two in combination, was ineffective. (Widmann RR, Keye JD Epinephrine precursors an control of allergy. Northwest Med 1952:51:588-590.)

Lab Values

  Elevated Homocysteine Levels

Mental

  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
 A study found plasma pyridoxal-5-phosphate (active vitamin B6) levels were about 48% lower in depressed patients than in controls, a statistically significant finding. 57% of depressed patients, but none of the controls, were B6-deficient. When B6 nutriture was evaluated by enzyme stimulation testing (a more sensitive method), all the depressed patients and none of the controls were deficient. [Russ CS et al. Vitamin B6 status of depressed and obsessive-compulsive patients. Nutr Rep Int 27( 4): pp.867-73, 1983]

  Anxiety
 A deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) causes extreme anxiety, nervousness, confusion, and melancholy. Vitamin B6 is easily destroyed by heavy use of alcohol, drugs and refined sugars.

  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD)

Metabolic

  Pyroluria
 Pyrolurics commonly respond within a few months to B6, zinc and manganese. The nutrient dosage usually must be increased when the pyroluric patient is under increased stress.

  Histamine Intolerance
 Findings suggest that plasma diamine oxidase (DAO) activity is influenced by vitamin B-6 status. DAO is a vitamin B-6 dependent enzyme. [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1986 Vol 44, 907-913]

  Methylation, Insufficient
  Metabolic Diet Type
  Meniere's Disease
 B6 supplementation may be effective in vertigo, including Meniere’s syndrome. One study found that 15 of 47 patients with Meniere’s disease who had failed to respond to previous treatments improved with B6 (pyridoxine). Three patients failed to improve and others gradually improved but it was uncertain whether pyridoxine supplementation was responsible. Furthermore, 23 patients with vertigo due to unknown causes received pyridoxine and many of them responded. Intravenous administration relieved symptoms more rapidly than oral administration [Lewy A., Fox N. Clinical notes; New instruments and techniques: pyridoxine (B6) used in the treatment of vertigo. Arch Otolaryngol November, 1947, pp.681- 3]

  MSG Intolerance
  Bulimic Tendency
  Headaches, Migraine/Tension
 One older study reported that L-tyrosine (200mg), vitamin B6 (2.5mg) and niacinamide (10mg) when given in combination for the treatment of hay fever, hives, allergic headaches and poison oak dermatitis produced significant symptomatic relief when 1-3 tablets were taken four times/day in milder cases and up to 6 tablets 4-6 times/day in more severe cases. In some cases characterized by more chronic disorders, such as chronic sinusitis, a worsening of symptoms often occurred during the first few days of treatment. This study found that treatment with each the nutrients individually, or with any two in combination, was ineffective. (Widmann RR, Keye JD Epinephrine precursors an control of allergy. Northwest Med 1952:51:588-590.)

Musculo-Skeletal

  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
 Vitamin B6 100mg tid has been shown to offer relief of pain and other symptoms. If a lower dose is effective, this is probably the best approach, as high levels of B6 supplementation can cause nerve damage. [Neurology 1985;35: pp.1466-68] In most people, supplementation of up to 500mg of B6 daily is safe.

  Heberden's Nodes
 In Heberdens nodes and index finger, doses of B6 at 100-150mg per day may not work unless you eat one handful of raw pecans a day (I.e. you need both) says Dr. Goodheart. Nodes may not go away but pain and mobility may be much better over several weeks.

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 When nodules (Heberden's nodes) are present, vitamin B6 at 100-150mg per day may help. One doctor reports seeing even better results if one handful of raw pecans is eaten every day. The nodes may not go away but pain and mobility are better over several weeks.

  Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  Susceptibility To Cavities

Nervous System

  Tardive Dyskinesia
 See the link between Tardive Dyskinesia and Melatonin.

  Neuritis/Neuropathy
 The medical literature contains reports of neuritis or nerve damage caused by using large amounts of vitamin B6 (1000-6000mg per day) for long periods. Lower doses have been helpful in treating neuritis. Some susceptible people may develop neuritis from as little as 300-400mg a day when the other B vitamins are not taken along with the B6. Examine your vitamin and supplement combinations to ensure that you are not taking excessive doses, but getting enough to learn if you are helped by it.

However, there has been an association with B6 supplementation at lower doses and neuropathic damage and so caution is advised.

Characteristics of pyridoxine overdose neuropathy syndrome.

A neurotoxic syndrome due to pyridoxine (B6) overdose is described. It is the largest series of B6 intoxication hitherto reported. A raised serum B6 level was present in 172 women of whom 60% had neurological symptoms, which disappeared when B6 was withdrawn and reappeared in 4 cases when B6 was restarted. The mean dose of B6 in the 103 women with neurological symptoms was 117 +/- 92 mgs, compared with 116.2 +/- 66 mgs in the control group. There was a significant difference (P less than 0.01) in the average duration of ingestion of B6 in the neurotoxic group of 2.9 +/- 1.9 years compared with 1.6 +/- 2.1 years in controls. The symptoms were paraesthesia, hyperaesthesia, bone pains, muscle weakness, numbness and fasciculation, most marked on the extremities and predominantly bilateral unless there was a history of previous trauma to the limb. These women were taking a lower dose of B6 than previously described (1,2), which may account for the complete recovery within 6 months of stopping B6. [Acta Neurol Scand. 1987 Jul;76(1): pp.8-11]

Nutrients

  Vitamin B6 Requirement

Organ Health

  Kidney Stones (Urolithiasis)
 Vitamin B6 deficiency leads to an increase in kidney stones as a result of elevated urinary oxalate levels. Vitamin B6 supplementation inhibits the production of oxalate in the body and can reduce elevated urinary oxalate in some stone formers who are not necessarily B6 deficient.

Respiratory

  Asthma
 Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in asthmatics. [Ann Allergy 1975;35: pp.153-8] This deficiency may relate to the asthma itself or to certain asthma drugs (such as theophylline and aminophylline) that deplete vitamin B6. [Ann Allergy 1990;65: pp.59-62] In a double-blind trial, 200mg per day of vitamin B6 for two months reduced the severity of asthma in children and reduced the amount of asthma medication they needed. [Ann Allergy 1975;35: pp.93-7] In another trial, asthmatic adults experienced a dramatic decrease in the frequency and severity of asthma attacks while taking 50mg of vitamin B6 twice per day. [Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41: pp.684-8] Nonetheless, the research remains somewhat inconsistent, and one double-blind trial found that high amounts of B6 supplements did not help asthmatics who required the use of steroid drugs. [Ann Allergy 1993;70: pp.141-52]

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Hives
 Should be taken in combination with Tyrosine. See Hives/Tyrosine note.

  Adult Acne
 Women with premenstrual aggravation of acne are often responsive to vitamin B6 supplementation, reflecting its role in the normal metabolism of steroid hormones. Vitamin B6 can be used during the flair or continuously at 50 to 200mg per day.

Uro-Genital

  Premenstrual Syndrome / PMDD
 Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of vitamin B6 supplementation in treating PMS. In one double blind crossover trial, 84% of the subjects had a lower symptomatology score during the B6 treatment period. Although PMS is of multifactorial origin, B6 supplementation alone appears to benefit most patients. In another study, premenstrual acne flare-up was reduced in 72% of 106 affected young women taking 50mg of pyridoxine daily for one week prior and during the menstrual period. Pyridoxine acts as a mild diuretic, reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

  Premenstrual Syndrome PMS A (Anxiety)
 In one study, women received 50mg per day of vitamin B6 or a placebo for 3 months. Symptoms amongst these women included depression, irritability, tiredness, headache, breast tenderness and swollen abdomen/hands. At this dose depression, irritability and tiredness were the only symptoms to respond and they were reduced by 50%. [Gynecol Obstet Invest 1997;43(2): 120-124]

  Dysmenorrhea, Painful Menstruation
  Premenstrual Syndrome PMS D (Depression)
 In one study, women received 50mg per day of vitamin B6 or a placebo for 3 months. Symptoms amongst these women included depression, irritability, tiredness, headache, breast tenderness and swollen abdomen/hands. At this dose depression, irritability and tiredness were the only symptoms to respond and they were reduced by 50%. [Gynecol Obstet Invest 1997;43(2): 120-124]

  Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues
 Vitamin B6 is necessary for optimal brain development and is an essential coenzyme for neurotransmitter synthesis. [Gerster II. Z. Ernahrungswiss 1996;35(4): pp.309­17] One animal study found that vitamin B6 helped prevent the formation of cleft palates. [Jacobsson C, Granstrom G. Cleft Palate Craniofacial J 1997;34(2):95­100] Like magnesium, vitamin B6, together with vitamin B1, may also ease pregnancy-related leg cramps. [Avsar AF, et al. Am J of Obst & Gyn 1996;175(1):233­4]

The U.S. RDA is 2.2mg.

  Fibrocystic Breasts
 Some, but not all, studies find that B6 reduces symptoms. Women with premenstrual syndrome in addition to breast tenderness should discuss the use of vitamin B6 with their nutritionally oriented doctor.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
 
Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. ~Mary C. Crowley






GLOSSARY

AIDS:  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. An immune system deficiency disorder that suddenly alters the body's ability to defend itself. The AIDS virus invades the T4 helper/inducer lymphocytes and multiplies, causing a breakdown in the body's immune system, eventually leading to overwhelming infection and/or cancer, with ultimate death.

Antibody:  A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.

Cobalamin:  Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).

DNA:  Deoxyribonucleic acid, the large molecule that is the main carrier of genetic information in cells. DNA is found mainly in the chromosomes of cells.

Enzymes:  Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Hydrochloric Acid:  (HCl): An inorganic acidic compound, excreted by the stomach, that aids in digestion.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Nervous System:  A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.

Potassium:  A mineral that serves as an electrolyte and is involved in the balance of fluid within the body. Our bodies contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium (typically 9oz versus 4oz). About 98% of total body potassium is inside our cells. Potassium is the principal cation (positive ion) of the fluid within cells and is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system and just about every cell in the body. Potassium regulates the water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues. Evidence is showing that potassium is also involved in bone calcification. Potassium is a cofactor in many reactions, especially those involving energy production and muscle building.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Pyridoxine:  (Vitamin B-6): A B-complex vitamin that plays a role as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It facilitates the release of glycogen for energy from the liver and muscles. It also participates in the utilization of energy in the brain and nervous tissue and is essential for the regulation of the central nervous system.

RDA:  Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins or other nutrients as determined by the FDA. U.S. RDAs are more widely used than RDAs, and focus on 3 age groups: Infants of 0-12 months; Children of 1-4 years; Adults and children of more than 4 years.

Red Blood Cell:  Any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and are responsible for the red color of blood.

Refined Sugar:  The term 'refined sugar' includes not only the “sugar” listed in ingredient listings, but also brown sugar, glucose, fructose and dextrose. Obvious sources include jams and jellies; hidden sources are often mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and other condiments.

RNA:  A ribonucleic acid found in plant and animal cells; a complex protein chemical. Important in the coding of genetic information with DNA carrying information from the nucleus of the cell into the cytoplasm.

Sodium:  An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.

Vitamin B6:  Influences many body functions including regulating blood glucose levels, manufacturing hemoglobin and aiding the utilization of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also aids in the function of the nervous system.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.