Pyridoxal; Pyridoxine; Pyridoxamine
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. Although the body maintains a small pool of water-soluble vitamins, they have to be taken regularly.
Lack of Vitamin B6 in the body is uncommon. It can occur in people with kidney failure, liver disease, or alcohol dependence.
Vitamin B6 helps the body to:
Vitamin B6 is found in:
Fortified breads and cereals may also contain vitamin B6. Fortified means that a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food.
Large doses of vitamin B6 can cause:
Deficiency of this vitamin can cause:
(Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States.)
Recommendations for vitamin B6, as well as other nutrients, are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine. DRI is a term for a set of reference intakes that are used to plan and assess the nutrient intakes of healthy people. These values, which vary by age and sex, include:
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The average daily level of intake that is enough to meet the nutrient needs of nearly all (97% to 98%) healthy people. An RDA is an intake level based on scientific research evidence.
Adequate Intake (AI): This level is established when there is not enough scientific research evidence to develop an RDA. It is set at a level that is thought to ensure enough nutrition.
Dietary reference intakes for vitamin B6:
Adolescents and adults (RDA)
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
Litwack G. Vitamins and nutrition. In: Litwack G, ed. Human Biochemistry. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 20.
Mason JB, Booth SL. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 205.
Markell M, Siddiqi HA. Vitamins and trace elements. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 27.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 3/11/2021
Reviewed By: Meagan Bridges, RD, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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