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Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Our bodies use three forms of vitamin B6: pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxal (PL), and pyridoxamine (PM). Most of the time you will hear vitamin B6 referred to as pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 performs several functions in our body, including breaking down carbohydrates for energy production, and forming hemoglobin and other substances that our bodies need to perform properly.
The uses of vitamin B6 include the following:
Chicken, fish, kidney, liver, eggs, and pork are excellent sources of vitamin B6. The following are also good sources of vitamin B6: yeast, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, beans, potatoes, bananas, and oatmeal.Vitamin B6 can be lost from food that's frozen or processed (example: luncheon meats).
Vitamin B6 is available in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride. It is available as tablets in multivitamin form (including children's chewable), B-complex form, or by itself in dosages ranging from 1 mg to 150 mg. Vitamin B6 is also found in children's multivitamin liquid drops.
How to Take It
To avoid vitamin B6 deficiency, men should get 2.0 mg and women 1.5 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Pregnant women need 2.2 mg of vitamin B6 daily, and women who are breast-feeding need 2.1 mg daily. People who eat a balanced diet containing the sources of vitamin B6 listed above should be able to meet the daily requirement without taking a supplement. Consult your health care provider if you have questions about your daily requirement of vitamin B6. When taking a vitamin supplement, always take it with water, preferably after a meal. As with all medications and supplements, check with a health care provider before giving vitamin B6 supplements to a child.
Vitamin B6 can cause neurological disorders when taken in high doses (200 mg per day or greater) over a long period of time. Discontinuing high doses usually leads to a complete recovery.
Anti-tuberculosis medications such as isoniazid (INH) and cycloserine (used for resistant forms of tuberculosis) reduce the levels of vitamin B6 in the blood. For this reason, it is recommended that you take vitamin B6 if you are taking these medications and that your doctor closely monitor you for signs of vitamin B6 deficiency.
Additionally, vitamin B6 reduces the therapeutic effect of levodopa, a medication used to treat Parkinson's disease.
Penicillamine (used in the treatment of Wilson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis) decreases levels of vitamin B6 and may render this vitamin ineffective.
Long-term use of birth control medications may decrease blood levels of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 diminishes the effectiveness of hydralazine, a medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, medications such as phenelzine and tranylcypromine that are used to treat depression, may reduce blood levels of vitamin B6.
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