Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy.
Food sources of vitamin B-6 include poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas and bananas. Vitamin B-6 can also be taken as a supplement, typically as an oral capsule, tablet or liquid.
People who have kidney disease or conditions that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes) are more likely to be vitamin B-6 deficient. Certain genetic diseases and some epilepsy medications also can lead to deficiency. This can cause a condition in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues (anemia), confusion, depression and a weakened immune system.
A vitamin B-6 deficiency is usually coupled with deficiency in other B vitamins, such as folate (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12.