Vitamin B6

Alternative names
Pyridoxine; Deficiency - vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex.


Vitamin B-6 plays a role in the synthesis of antibodies by the immune system. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. Vitamin B-6 helps maintain normal nerve function and also acts in the formation of red blood cells. It is also required for the chemical reactions needed to digest proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more the need for vitamin B-6.

Food Sources
Vitamin B-6 is found in beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals.

Side Effects
Large doses of vitamin B-6 can cause neurological disorders and numbness. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause mouth and tongue sores, irritability, confusion, and depression. (Vitamin B-6 deficiency is not common in the United States.)

The average diet supplies adequate vitamin B-6.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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