Vitamin B6 supplements

Vitamin B6 is available as pyridoxine hydrochloride and pyridoxal-5-phosphate. The latter is the more active form and may be best for those with liver disease who cannot convert pyridoxine to pyridoxal-5-phosphate. Anyone at risk of deficiency or who is suffering from a condition possibly linked to vitamin B6 deficiency is likely to benefit from supplements.

Therapeutic uses of supplements

Vitamin B6 supplements are used to treat deficiency symptoms. They have also been widely used in the treatment of a number of other health conditions.


Limited research suggests that some children with asthma have a partial defect in tryptophan metabolism. An increased intake of vitamin B6 may reduce the symptoms of asthma in these patients. A study done in the 1970s looked at the effect of five months of pyridoxine therapy (200 mg daily) in asthmatic children and found significant improvement in symptoms and decreased need for anti- asthma medications. Researchers involved in a 1985 study found a dramatic decrease in frequency and severity of wheezing or asthmatic attacks in those taking vitamin B6 supplements. However, not all studies have found beneficial effects.

Vitamin B6 supplementsLong-term therapy with theophylline, a drug often given to asthmatic patients, lowers vitamin B6 levels. Vitamin B6 supplements may be useful in preventing the side effects of the drug which include headaches, nausea, sleep disorders and convulsions.

Cardiovascular disease

Low vitamin B6 levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and there is some evidence that supplements may be beneficial in preventing this. The results of the 1998 Harvard Study showed that risk of coronary heart disease was reduced among women who regularly used multiple vitamins, the major source of folate and vitamin B6.

In a study done in 1993, South African researchers measured vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid levels in a group of healthy men with moderately high homocysteine levels. They found these levels to be low. In a placebo- controlled follow-up study, they found that a daily vitamin supplement containing 10 mg vitamin B6,1.0 mg folic acid and 0.4 mg of vitamin B12 normalized elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations within six weeks.

In a study published in 1998 Irish researchers screened a group of clinically healthy working men aged 30 to 49 years and selected 132 with mildly raised homocysteine concentrations. They then assessed the effects of eight weeks of supplementation with B group vitamins and antioxidant vitamins on homocysteine concentrations. The men were randomly assigned to one of four groups: supplementation with B group vitamins alone (1 mg folic acid, 7.2 mg pyridoxine, and 0.02 mg vitamin B12), antioxidant vitamins alone, B-group vitamins with antioxidant vitamins, or placebo. The results showed significant decreases in both groups receiving B group vitamins either with or without antioxidants. The effect of the B group vitamins alone was a reduction in homocysteine concentrations of almost 30 per cent.

Vitamin B6 may also exert beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system by protecting against the aggregation of blood platelets. This prolongs clotting time and helps to reduce atherosclerotic plaque build-up.Vitamin B6 has also been shown to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. In a Swedish study published in 1990, researchers assessed the effect of 120 mg a day of vitamin B6 on seventeen 88 year old men with low vitamin B6 levels. After supplementation for eight weeks, the average plasma total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations were decreased by 10 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Mood disorders

Vitamin B6 deficiency is often found in depressed people and some studies have shown that supplements can improve mood. Vitamin B6 is involved in the metabolism of serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is involved in the regulation of mood. Vitamin B6 is also used to treat stress conditions.

In a randomized placebo-controlled study published in 1992, researchers at Harvard Medical School assessed the effects of 10 mg each of vitamins B1, B2, and B6 in 14 geriatric inpatients with depression who were taking antidepressant drugs. The results showed that those patients taking the vitamins showed greater improvement in scores on ratings of depression and cognitive function when compared with placebo-treated patients.

Premenstrual syndrome and estrogen therapy

Vitamin B6 has also been used in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome symptoms including water retention, acne and mood changes. Many experts recommend doses of 50 mg to 150 mg per day started on day ten of the menstrual cycle and continued until day three of the next cycle.

Researchers in Oxford, UK conducted a double-blind trial to study the effects of 50 mg of vitamin B6 per day on premenstrual syndrome symptoms. The trial involved 63 women aged 18 to 49 years old who had noticed moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms during the previous year. Thirty-two women completed the full seven months of the study and the results showed a significant beneficial effect of vitamin B6 on emotional-type symptoms such as depression, irritability and tiredness.

As estrogen may suppress vitamin B6 metabolism, supplements maybe beneficial for pregnant women, those on the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) who suffer from mood swings and depression. Vitamin B6 is sometimes known as the women's vitamin.

Vitamin B6 supplementsNausea of pregnancy

Vitamin B6 has been shown to provide relief from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Researchers at the University of Iowa studied the effects of vitamin B6 in doses of 25 mg every eight hours in a randomized, double-blind placebo- controlled study. Thirty-one patients received vitamin B6 for 72 hours, and 28 patients received placebo. At the completion of therapy, only eight of 31 patients in the vitamin B6 group had any vomiting, compared with 15 of 28 patients in the placebo group.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Vitamin B6 has been used to treat nerve compression including that seen in carpal tunnel syndrome. Some research suggests that treatment with supplements in doses of around 50 mg to 200 mg can improve symptoms. However not all studies have reported positive results. In a 1996 study of 125 randomly selected industrial plant workers, researchers did not find a link between vitamin B6 and carpal tunnel syndrome. Vitamin B6 has been shown to change pain thresholds in clinical and laboratory studies which may explain studies which have shown significant improvements in pain scores when nerve conduction test results showed only mild improvements. A 1998 study suggests that a high ratio of vitamin C to vitamin B6 may worsen the symptoms of the disorder.

Vitamin B6 supplements may be useful in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome but intake should not exceed 100 mg per day as large doses can cause nerve damage. Higher doses should only be used under supervision. Some experts believe that a therapeutic effect may take at least three months to become apparent.


Some babies are born with a metabolic defect which means that they are unable to metabolize pyridoxine efficiently. This results in convulsions which must be treated with large doses of pyridoxine in order to avoid mental retardation.

Immune system

Vitamin B6 supplementation may boost the immune system in older people, thus reducing the risk of infection and possibly even cancer. Recent research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that vitamin B supplements may help H I V-positive people live longer. In an eight-year study of 281 HIV-positive, people vitamin B6 supplementation at twice the RDA was shown to be particularly effective in prolonging survival time.

Other uses

Vitamin B6 has been used to treat kidney stones; muscle pain; skin problems such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis; migraines; fatigue; prostatitis; headaches; nerve disorders such as diabetic neuropathy; and low blood sugar. Vitamin B6 is also reputed to stimulate dream activity.

Search over 10,000 Natural Remedies and Alternative Medicine Articles

Vitamin B6 Categories:

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 health
Vitamin B6 absorption
Vitamin B6 deficiency
Vitamin B6 sources
Vitamin B6 recommended daily
Vitamin B6 overdose
Vitamin B6 supplements
Vitamin B6 interactions
Vitamin B6 dangerous



Other Vitamins:

Vitamin A
Beta carotene
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic acid
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K