Pyridoxine Deficiency

A lack of pyridoxine can have serious consequences for the metabolism. In most cases, a pyridoxine deficiency is caused by a lack of vitamin B6 in the diet. Treatment and prevention options include taking food supplements and eating foods containing vitamin B6.

Pyridoxine Deficiency

What is pyridoxine deficiency?

A pyridoxine deficiency is a vitamin B6 deficiency, also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 belongs to the group of water-soluble vitamins of the B complex. It regulates the amino acid metabolism and is therefore essential for protein, fat and carbohydrate utilization, the formation of red blood cells, heart, muscle and circulatory activity. In addition, vitamin B6 strengthens nerves and eyesight, the balance of sodium and potassium, blood sugar levels, water balance, hair growth and the immune system. It also regulates important nerve and brain functions. See sportingology for Meaning of Hepatosis in English.

If the body lacks vitamin B6, these functions are impaired. Amino acids cannot be processed further and protein deficiency occurs. Children with pyridoxine deficiency mainly suffer from growth disorders, since the metabolism is slowed down and inhibited. An acute pyridoxine deficiency can not only have physical effects such as growth disorders and eczema.

The nervous system and brain function can also be affected. Although pyridoxine deficiency is most commonly diagnosed in infants and young children, vitamin B6 deficiency can also affect adults and the elderly.


The main cause of pyridoxine deficiency is a lack of vitamin B6 in the diet. Taking the tuberculosis drug isoniazid is less common. Normally, humans need two to three milligrams of pyridoxine per day. In times of stress, before menstruation, during pregnancy, with heart problems or illnesses in old age, with low blood sugar levels or when taking birth control pills, the body needs considerably more vitamin B6.

People on protein-rich diets and women using oral contraceptives are at risk of developing pyridoxine deficiency. Children who have been fed with heavily heated milk powder also suffer from deficiency symptoms. Likewise, children with leukemia, people with chronic uremia, and the elderly who are financially and health-challenged have significantly lower levels of pyridoxine.

All of these people belong to risk groups for vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms. This should be covered by a balanced diet containing vitamin B6, even before the first deficiency symptoms appear.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The most common symptoms of pyridoxine deficiency are stunted growth, acrodynia, microcytic hypochromic anemia (lack of blood) and hand, foot and arm numbness, dandruff and eczema. Anomalies in the mucous membranes and in the blood, nerve problems and skin diseases such as the skin disease seborrhea are also common. Dry injuries occur here, which are arranged in flakes around the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth and in the area of ​​the eyes.

Serious vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to severe seizures. A deficiency can also impair nerve and brain performance, have a negative effect on mood, cause depression, trigger confusion and insomnia or promote fatigue . Increased tremors can also be a symptom of pyridoxine deficiency.

Diagnosis & course of disease

A pyrodoxine deficiency in infants can already be recognized in the first twelve months. He is characterized here by poor growth, growth retardation and poor healing. To analyze the rate of growth, height, weight and head circumference are compared with average values ​​for normal growth.

If growth abnormalities are found in infants and young children, these must be clarified by a doctor. Adults should also consult a doctor if the symptoms mentioned under point 4 occur, before the symptoms intensify or further deficiency symptoms can occur.


A pyridoxine deficiency usually has a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life and can significantly reduce it. The patients suffer from growth disorders and developmental disorders, which can lead to complaints and complications in adulthood, especially in children. However, the complications usually only occur if the pyridoxine deficiency prevails over a longer period of time.

Anemia can also be caused by the pyridoxine deficiency. The skin of those affected is affected by dandruff and there are sometimes various disorders of sensitivity or numbness of the fingers and feet. It can also have a negative effect on the mental state of the person concerned, so that most patients also suffer from confusion or inner restlessness.

Difficulty sleeping, permanent tiredness and tremors can also be associated with the disease. It is not uncommon for those affected to develop depression or other mental disorders. The pyridoxine deficiency can be limited very well with the help of supplements. There are no complications either. Possible psychological complaints must then be treated by a psychologist. The life expectancy of the patient is not reduced by the pyridoxine deficiency.

When should you go to the doctor?

A pyridoxine deficiency should always be treated by a doctor. This disease does not heal itself and the symptoms usually worsen significantly if no treatment is initiated. The sooner the diagnosis and treatment of pyridoxine deficiency occurs, the higher the chance of a complete cure. A doctor should be consulted for pyridoxine deficiency if there are abnormalities in the blood or mucous membranes of the person concerned. It is very easy to cause severe injuries, with the mucous membranes in the area of ​​the nose or eyes being particularly affected. In some cases, the deficiency can also lead to severe cramps.

A seizure should be treated by an emergency doctor, who can also go directly to the hospital. Severe tremors in the affected person also indicate a lack of pyridoxine and should be examined by a doctor. Not infrequently, those affected are also confused and suffer from severe insomnia. Pyridoxine deficiency can be diagnosed and treated by the general practitioner.

Treatment & Therapy

One of the most effective treatments for pyridoxine deficiency is vitamin B6 supplementation. The amount varies and is between 100 and 300 mg per day. The daily dose to be administered depends on the bioavailability of pyridoxine, which varies from person to person, and on the degree of the deficiency. There are special preparations for this, such as vitamin B6 ratiopharm. The vitamin B6 level must be checked regularly by a doctor while taking food supplements.

There is also vitamin B6 in multivitamin preparations, as a vitamin B complex and vitamin B6 supplements in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride. Pyridoxine supplementation supports glucose tolerance and blood sugar lowering and immune system function, prevents seizures, improves lymphocyte and monocyte blood levels, and relieves depression. Psychosis and seizures caused by the tuberculosis drug isoniazid can also be prevented.


To counteract an acute pyridoxine deficiency, 2 mg of vitamin B6 should be taken daily. Choosing foods that contain enough vitamin B6 can often prevent and prevent an acute deficiency. In order to ensure an adequate supply of vitamin B6, it is recommended to consume different types of fruit and vegetables, whole grain products and low-fat milk and milk products as well as low-fat meat, poultry, beans, eggs and nuts.

Saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugars should be avoided and the diet should be kept within the individual daily calorie requirement. Foods that are particularly rich in vitamin B6 include fish such as salmon, sardines, halibut, herring, cod and plaice, poultry such as chicken and goose, and fruit and vegetables such as bananas, avocados, soybeans, walnuts and cashews, potatoes, peppers, kale, broccoli and cauliflower, spinach and leek.


After a successfully treated pyridoxine deficiency, intensive follow-up treatment should be carried out in order to avoid another pyridoxine deficiency. The follow-up care consists primarily of regular checks of the vitamin B6 values ​​in the blood, which can be carried out by the family doctor. As a result, a renewed pyridoxine deficiency can be recognized and treated in good time.

Since anemia can occur as a result of a pyridoxine deficiency, the iron and hemoglobin levels in the blood should also be checked. If a deficiency is found here, iron should be taken immediately as a dietary supplement. In addition, vitamin B6 should also be administered in the form of dietary supplements to avoid a renewed pyridoxine deficiency.

If pyridoxine deficiency already existed, certain tuberculosis drugs (isoniazid) should be avoided if possible. If therapy with such drugs is absolutely necessary, very high doses of vitamin B6 must also be taken in order to absolutely avoid a renewed pyridoxine deficiency.

If necessary, infusions with a solution containing vitamin B6 are also necessary. In such a case, the blood values ​​should also be monitored very regularly (every 14 days). In addition, anyone who has had a pyridoxine deficiency should pay attention to a diet rich in vitamin B6 and iron. This consists of a lot of meat and fish, especially poultry, beef and salmon. Vegetarian or vegan diets should be avoided.