Pyridoxine supplementation corrects vitamin B6 deficiency but does not improve inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Res Ther. 2005;7(6):R1404-11. doi: 10.1186/ar1839. Epub 2005 Oct 14.


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have subnormal vitamin B6 status, both quantitatively and functionally. Abnormal vitamin B6 status in rheumatoid arthritis has been associated with spontaneous tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production and markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Impaired vitamin B6 status could be a result of inflammation, and these patients may have higher demand for vitamin B6. The aim of this study was to determine if daily supplementation with 50 mg of pyridoxine for 30 days can correct the static and/or the functional abnormalities of vitamin B6 status seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and further investigate if pyridoxine supplementation has any effects on the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha or IL-6 production of arthritis. This was a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study involving patients with rheumatoid arthritis with plasma pyridoxal 5'-phosphate below the 25th percentile of the Framingham Heart Cohort Study. Vitamin B6 status was assessed via plasma and erythrocyte pyridoxal 5'-phosphate concentrations, the erythrocyte aspartate aminotransferase activity coefficient (alphaEAST), net homocysteine increase in response to a methionine load test (DeltatHcy), and 24 h urinary xanthurenic acid (XA) excretion in response to a tryptophan load test. Urinary 4-pyridoxic acid (4-PA) was measured to examine the impact of pyridoxine treatment on vitamin B6 excretion in these patients. Pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-alpha and IL-6) production, C-reactive protein levels and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate before and after supplementation were also examined. Pyridoxine supplementation significantly improved plasma and erythrocyte pyridoxal 5'-phosphate concentrations, erythrocyte alphaEAST, urinary 4-PA, and XA excretion. These improvements were apparent regardless of baseline B6 levels. Pyridoxine supplementation also showed a trend (p < 0.09) towards a reduction in post-methionine load DeltatHcy. Supplementation did not affect pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Although pyridoxine supplementation did not suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine production in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the suboptimal vitamin B6 status seen in rheumatoid arthritis can be corrected by 50 mg pyridoxine supplementation for 30 days. Data from the present study suggest that patients with rheumatoid arthritis may have higher requirements for vitamin B6 than those in a normal healthy population.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridoxine / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / drug therapy*


  • Pyridoxine