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The most common supplemental intake is 10–25 mg per day. However, high amounts (100–200 mg per day or even more) may be recommended for certain conditions.
Vitamin B6 deficiencies are thought to be very rare. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause impaired immunity, skin lesions, and mental confusion. A marginal deficiency sometimes occurs in alcoholics, patients with kidney failure, and women using oral contraceptives. Some doctors believe that most diets do not provide optimal amounts of this vitamin. People with kidney failure have an increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.1 Vitamin B6 has also been reported to be deficient in some people with chronic fatigue syndrome.2
Vitamin B6 occurs naturally in three forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxine and the phosphate ester of pyridoxal (pyridoxal 5’-phosphate, abbreviated PLP) are the most commonly used supplement forms of vitamin B6. Because nearly all studies showing a beneficial effect of vitamin B6 have used pyridoxine, it is generally preferred over PLP, even though PLP is the major biologically active form of vitamin B6. However, there may be some cases where PLP is more effective than pyridoxine, such as in cases of vitamin B6-responsive anemia, vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy, infantile spams, autism, and carpal tunnel syndrome.3
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.