Vitamin B6 – The Multi-Compound Water Soluble Molecule

Vitamin B6 is the generic name for six compounds, pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyrisoxamine, and the forms to which a phosphate group has been added, PLP, PMP, and PNP, which are the forms of the vitamin found in foods; however during digestion the phosphate group is removed and the resulting compounds that travels to the liver are converted to PLP which is pyridoxal phosphate, the primary active coenzyme of the vitamin.

Three of Vitamin B6's Three Compouns

Three of Vitamin B6's Three Forms

The PLP coenzyme is responsible for supporting over 100 different enzymes, and these enzymes support carbohydrate metabolism, protein metabolism, blood cell synthesis, and neurotransmitter synthesis.

Dietary Recommendations

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6 for men and women aged 19-50 is 1.3 milligrams/day; for men 51 years and older, the RDA is 1.7 milligrams/day; and for women 51 years and older, the RDA is 1.5 milligrams/day.

Vitamin Sources

The vitamin is found in avocado, bananas, dried beans, fish, meat, nuts, potatoes, poultry, sunflower seeds, and whole grains. The primary source of the vitamin is in the form of fortified, ready to eat cereals.

The vitamin is unstable and easily destroyed by heat.

Vitamin B6 Foods

Vitamin Deficiency

Deficiency of the vitamin is rare. When deficiency does occur some symptoms may be depression, confusion, and convulsions. Alcoholism can also increase the risk of deficiency, and since cirrhosis and hepatitis which damage liver tissue occur in alcoholism, the liver may be prevented from metabolizing the vitamin to its coenzyme form.

Vitamin Toxicity

Toxicity when it does occur is at megadose levels of 2,000 milligrams/day or more and can cause irreversible nerve damage resulting in the inability to walk and numbness to the extremities.

For more information about Vitamin B6 click on the link to

For other information on nutrition, and vitamins in particular some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

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