Vitamin B6 Deficiency

General text about the lack of vitamins can be found here.


Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. It is a substance that our body can not produce and therefore we rely on its dietary intake. Pyridoxine is a part of enzymes that are important for proper metabolism of amino acids and proteins. Like other B vitamins, pyridoxine is richly present in yeast, eggs, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, bananas, nuts and cereals.


The cause may be an insufficient dietary intake of pyridoxine. In developed and civilized countries, it is usually the case of elderly people, chronic alcoholics and gravely ill patients. Pyridoxine deficiency has been also reported in many diseases of the digestive tract that are associated with impaired nutrient absorption and with liver damage.


Pyridoxine deficiency may cause a skin rash, sore mouth corners and tongue pain. The tongue becomes abnormally smooth, it burns and sometimes it can even ulcerate. In addition, the victim may suffer from disorders of the central nervous system with mood swings, fatigue and confusion. The damage of peripheral nerves may cause signs of polyneuropathy with unpleasant tingling sensations and numbness of limbs.


The combination of symptoms with the presence of any of the risk factors is highly suspicious of the vitamin B6 deficiency and it is the right reason to start the supplementation.


In addition to diet, pyridoxine can be administered in tablet form as a dietary supplement. It should be emphasized that very high doses of vitamin B6 can cause an overdose. When receiving daily doses higher than 500 to 1,000 milligrams, the person can start to suffer from polyneuropathy similar as in pyridoxine deficiency.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources