Episode 36: Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also known as Pyridoxine is the B vitamin that is increasingly becoming more important in nutrition, due to the ever-increasing build-up of hydrazine and hydrazide chemicals in our environment. These compounds find use in aviation fuels, anti-toxicants in the petrochemical industry, electroplating and anti-tarnishing in metals and as ripening agents for fruits and vegetables. They are also present in cigarette smoke and the food dye tartrazine (aka: FD&C yellow#5).

In addition to being a co-factor in over 50 different enzymes, it is useful in treating a wide variety of disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, morning sickness, heart disease, dermatitis and depression, among many others. Although it is naturally found in potatoes, bananas, meat, poultry, fish and whole grains, when it is deficient, a supplement is more efficient. That brings us to the intervention.

With B6, too much is actually just as bad as not enough. If taken in excess of 200mg/day in pyridoxine form, warning signs of unsteadiness as well as hand and foot numbness can result. Taking B6 in it’s metabolically active form pyridoxal-5-phosphate or P-5-P allows for a much smaller dose of 20-50mg to be effective without these side effects. Due to the stimulatory nature of Vitamin B6, taking 2-400mg of magnesium concurrently is also a good idea. Any dosage of B6 higher than the ones mentioned above would require medical monitoring.

Join us next week when we’ll talk about the Chinese Herbal Treatment of menstrual pain.

Be Well and Be Zen


R. Gaby., Vitamin B6., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., ps.80-87., Ch. 18., ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.

Buffoni F., Carpi C., Soldaini G.B., Raimondi L., 3-Hydrazinopyridazine derivatives as inhibitors of pyridoxal-phosphate dependent enzymes., Farmaco 1980;35:848-855.

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