[The importance of vitamin B 6 for development of the infant. Human medical and animal experiment studies]

Z Ernahrungswiss. 1996 Dec;35(4):309-17. doi: 10.1007/BF01610548.
[Article in German]


Vitamin B-6 is an important coenzyme in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters GABA, dopamine and serotonin and is therefore required for the normal perinatal development of the central nervous system. In rat studies, biochemical and morphological abnormalities (decreased dendritic arborization and reduced numbers of myelinated axons and synapses) in the brains of pups from vitamin B-6 deficient dams were associated with behavioral changes such as epileptiform seizures and movement disorders. In severely vitamin B-6 deficient human infants, similar behavioral abnormalities have been described. Marginally deficient neonates were found to have a lower birthweight and to display less mature reactive and adaptive behavior in the Brazleton Neonatal Assessment Scale than well-fed infants. While it is not yet possible to define the exact amount of vitamin B-6 required to support optimal brain development, pregnant and lactating women should be encouraged to consume a diet that is rich in vitamin B-6.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / embryology*
  • Dopamine / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Behavior / physiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / embryology*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Pregnancy
  • Pyridoxine / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis*
  • Spasms, Infantile / embryology
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / embryology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / biosynthesis*


  • Serotonin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Pyridoxine
  • Dopamine