Pyridoxine, or Vitamin B6, is a member of the vitamin B complex, serves as a coenzyme important in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, in the manufacture of amino acids, antibodies, and red blood cells, in the functioning of the digestive and nervous systems, and in the maintenance of healthy skin. Pyridoxine is a derivative of pyridine and is found in lean meats (notably liver, chicken, and pork), fish, egg yolk, milk, bananas, whole grains, wheat germ, potatoes, and dried beans. Pyridoxine is also produced in small amounts by intestinal bacteria.
A deficiency can lead to anemia. It may also cause weakness, irritability, depression, skin disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, cracked lips, and, in infants, seizures. Excessive intake – 100 times or more above the normal daily intake – has been reported to cause neuritis.
Groups susceptible to deficiency include elderly people on a poor diet, and people with a malabsorption disorder or severe alcohol dependence.
According to some studies, pyridoxine may help in alleviating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Doses of 50 to 100 milligrams per day are said to be helpful in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome but the results are not clear.