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Pyridoxine deficiency is when there are inadequate amounts of the nutrient vitamin B6 in a person's system. Most people tend to refer to the condition simply as a vitamin B6 deficiency. Some sources of information on vitamins and minerals state that a daily intake of 2.2 milligrams of vitamin B6 is sufficient to prevent pyridoxine deficiency in males and that 2.0 milligrams is sufficient for females who are not pregnant, lactating or taking oral contraceptives. The recommended daily amounts to prevent pyridoxine deficiency are higher for females who are pregnant, lactating or taking oral contraceptives. People who consume alcohol on a daily basis and those who are of advanced age also are advised to slightly increase those amounts to help prevent vitamin B6 deficiency.
Many people who are nutritionists and proponents of all-natural medicine believe that the generally accepted recommended daily allowances for the prevention of pyridoxine deficiency are too low. A good number of them believe that a deficiency can be mild or severe, which would explain why many people in the United States who are deficient do not experience symptoms that are readily associated with a deficiency of vitamin B6 or any other nutrient. It is believed, therefore, that some health problems that are caused or aggravated by a deficiency of this nutrient would disappear if intake of this vitamin was increased. The signs and symptoms of a pyridoxine deficiency might be absent in some people. This does not mean, however, that those individuals are not deficient in the nutrient.
Anemia, the development of kidney stones, retarded growth, depression and confusion are among the signs and symptoms of a pyridoxine deficiency. Although a person who experiences any of these signs and symptoms should not automatically assume that he or she is deficient in the nutrient, it is advisable to at least suspect such a possibility. It also should be remembered that a deficiency of vitamin B6 or of practically any other nutrient can have more than one cause, so simply taking a vitamin supplement will not necessarily resolve the problem. For example, certain prescription medications, particularly antibiotics and drugs used in the United States to treat rheumatoid arthritis, are known to deplete the reserves of vitamin B6 in the body.
Among the factors one must keep in mind even when a pyridoxine deficiency has been confirmed is the fact that the "family" of B vitamins, known as the vitamin B complex, works closely together. A deficiency in one often results in a deficiency in another. One of the most effective ways to prevent a deficiency of this vitamin is to eat foods that are rich in it. The best sources include whole heirloom grains such as spelt and kamut, nuts, legumes, green vegetables, yellow corn and seeds.