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Vitamin B6


Alternative names

Pyridoxine; Deficiency - vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Definition

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex.

Function

Vitamin B6 plays a role in the synthesis of antibodies by the immune system, which are needed to fight many diseases. It helps maintain normal nerve function and also acts in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is also required for the chemical reactions needed to digest proteins . The higher the protein intake, the more the need for vitamin B6.

Food Sources

Vitamin B6 is found in beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals.

Side Effects

Large doses of vitamin B6 can cause neurological disorders and numbness . Deficiency of this vitamin can cause mouth and tongue sores, irritability, confusion, and depression. (Vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in the United States.)

Recommendations

The average diet supplies adequate quantities of vitamin B6.

Update Date: 1/18/2003

Steven Angelo, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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