Vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine, is a member of the water-soluble family of vitamins. Your body needs vitamin B-6 for regular nervous system function, production of normal red blood cells and for protein metabolism.
People with vitamin B-6 deficiency could possibly suffer from inflammation of the skin, a sore tongue, depression, cognitive problems and eventually convulsions. Because it's needed for normal red blood cells, a deficiency could also cause anemia.
Causes of Deficiency
A true vitamin B-6 deficiency is rare, but people who eat nutrient-poor diets may have an mild insufficiency.
Alcohol speeds up the loss of vitamin B-6 in the body, so alcoholics may be prone to vitamin B-6 deficiency symptoms. Older adults whose diets have little variety for long periods of time may also become deficient in vitamin B-6.
Sources and Recommendations
Adults need 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams (mg) daily to meet their requirements. To give you an idea of how you'd get that amount, you could eat one banana, one baked potato, one-half of a chicken breast and one ounce of nuts through out the course of the day.
Use caution with vitamin B-6 supplements and follow label directions. Taking too much vitamin B-6 can, over time, cause a vitamin B-6 toxicity.
Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B6." Accessed October 19, 2010. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb6/.