Vitamin B6


There are 3 forms of Vitamin B6: pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.  Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B Vitamin Complex.  It can be found in certain foods such as cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs, and can also be found as a man-made supplement.

One of the roles B6 has in the body is its function in the production of a number of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine.  As a result, pyridoxine is very important for the health of the nervous system.  Pyridoxine is also important for:

  • synthesis of the components of DNA
  • metabolizing carbohydrates and sulfur-containing compounds
  • controlling inflammation

Healthy adults need 1 – 2 mg per day.  Children need 0.1 to 1.3 mg per day, depending on their age.   People who may be at risk for Vitamin B6 deficiency include those with certain blood conditions (sideroblastic anemia and hyperhomocysteinemia).

Vitamin B6 is known to interact with some medications and drugs including:

  • amiodarone
  • levadopa
  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital
  • cycloserine
  • hydralazine
  • isoniazid
  • penacillamine
  • theophylline

Vitamin B6 is not known to have any significant interactions with herbal supplements or food. 

Consult an MD, ND or pharmacist for more information before using vitamin B6 as a supplement if you are on one of these medications.

Some of the best sources of B6 are spinach, bell peppers and tuna.  Turkey, bananas and broccoli are also very good sources.