Pyridoxine, also known as vitamin B6, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps keep nerve tissue healthy and functioning well. It also plays a role in keeping skin and red blood cells healthy, and assists in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It has been linked to cardiovascular health because it decreases the formation of homocysteine along with vitamin B12 and folate. Some studies have shown pyridoxine can help reduce nausea during pregnancy, but you should always speak to a registered dietitian nutritionist or your doctor before supplementing in pregnancy beyond a prenatal vitamin.

Pyridoxine deficiency is not common in the US, however alcoholics are at risk of deficiency due to lower dietary intakes and impaired metabolism of this important vitamin. In the early 1950s, seizures were observed in formula fed infants because not enough pyridoxine was provided in infant formulas. Formulas now contains this important vitamin. Deficiency symptoms can also include abnormal electroencephalogram (EKG) patterns, irritability, depression, confusion, skin problems, inflammation of the tongue, mouth ulcers and sores at the corners of the mouth.

Good sources of pyridoxine are lean meats, liver, cereals, vegetables and milk. Animal sources are more easily absorbed than plant sources. Eating a diet with a variety of food is the best way to ensure sufficient amounts; however, alcoholics and those following a very restricted vegetarian diet may need to increase their pyridoxine intake by eating foods fortified with this vitamin or by taking a supplement.

To see if supplements are right for you, schedule your personal nutrition consultation today and start getting sound nutritional advice.