Vitamin B6, sometimes known as pyridoxine, actually refers to a group of interchangeable molecules found in the body. The active form of vitamin B6 is known as pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP) and is involved in more than 100 chemical reactions. It controls the turnover of every major source of energy in the body, from proteins, to sugars, to fats. PLP plays a role in producing hemoglobin (the iron-containing protein in red blood cells), neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) and nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA).
Vitamin B6 is found in high quantities in fortified cereals, beans, chickpeas, fish, beef liver, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits.
A genetic variant in the NBPF3 gene increases the rate of clearance of vitamin B6 from the body and is associated with an increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.