Pyridoxine is a vitamin that is used in a number of different chemical reactions in the body. It is important for the formation of hemoglobin and also plays an important role in metabolizing carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids. While it is effective for treating vitamin B6 deficiency and related problems, there is not enough evidence to suggest that it works for most other claimed uses.
What Is Pyridoxine?
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for many different chemical reactions in the body. It is claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses (although some uses are more credible than others).
The main role of pyridoxine in the body is to work as a coenzyme in numerous different chemical reactions. This means that pyridoxine helps enzymes to work properly. It is important for a wide variety of different chemical reactions, including the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.
Pyridoxine is important for the formation of hemoglobin, an important part of red blood cells. This is why low pyridoxine can lead to anemia.
Low pyridoxine can increase levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can cause problems if it builds up to high levels. In particular, it is thought that high homocysteine may contribute to problems such as cardiovascular disease or blood clots. Pyridoxine decreases homocysteine levels after meals (but does not really affect fasting homocysteine levels). Low levels of pyridoxine may also increase levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory molecule that may be related to heart disease and several other medical conditions.
Pyridoxine may also have antioxidant properties. It may also decrease kidney stone formation by decreasing the amount of oxalate (a component of some types of kidney stones) excreted in the urine. It is also thought that pyridoxine may increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is why some people think it may be useful for treating depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed October 13, 2008.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheet: vitamin B6 (8/24/2007). NIH Web site. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb6.asp. Accessed October 13, 2008.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline (2000). Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. Available at: http://books.nap.edu/books/0309065542/html/. Accessed October 13, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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