High-dose pyridoxine as an 'anti-stress' strategy

Med Hypotheses. 2000 May;54(5):803-7. doi: 10.1054/mehy.1999.0955.


Pyridoxine nutritional status has a significant and selective modulatory impact on central production of both serotonin and GABA - neurotransmitters which control depression, pain perception, and anxiety - owing to the fact that the decarboxylases which produce these neurotransmitters have a relatively low affinity for pyridoxal phosphate (PLP). Pyridoxine deficiency leads to increased sympathetic outflow and hypertension in rodents, possibly reflecting decreased central production of these neurotransmitters; conversely, supplemental pyridoxine lowers blood pressure in many animal models of hypertension, and there is preliminary evidence for antihypertensive activity in humans as well. Additionally, physiological levels of PLP interact with glucocorticoid receptors to down-regulate their activity. Thus, high-dose pyridoxine, by amplifying tissue levels of PLP, may be expected to have a favorable impact on certain dysphoric mental states, while diminishing sympathetic output and acting peripherally to blunt the physiological impact of corticosteroids. In light of growing evidence that chronic dysphoria, particularly when accompanied by hopelessness or cynicism, has a major negative impact on morbidity and mortality from a wide range of disorders, high intakes of pyridoxine may have the potential to improve prognosis in many individuals. With respect to cardiovascular health, reduction of homocysteine levels should contribute to this benefit. These predictions are consistent with recent epidemiology correlating plasma PLP levels with risk for vascular events and overall survival.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Pyridoxine / administration & dosage
  • Pyridoxine / therapeutic use*
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / drug therapy
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / biosynthesis


  • Serotonin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Pyridoxine