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Vitamin B6 Toxicity User Group
Causing More Pain
About This Group:

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that can result in nerve damage when too much is taken in the form of supplements. B6 is found naturally in most grains such as flax and wheat. Many vitamin supplements and diet pills also contain more than the daily requirements of vitamin B6. B6 toxicity, also known as B6 overdose, is rare and most doctors are unfamiliar with it. It's becoming more common as manufacturers are adding B6 supplements to many vitamins and fortifying cereals. Symptoms commonly include a feeling of pins and needles, like nails being driven into you, generally in your hands and feet or anywhere else in your body where you've sustained nerve damage in the past. However, instead of pain, symptoms may include numbness. Either is refered to as neuropathy. Anytime you eat foods with certain forms of vitamin B in them (B1, B3, B6), your symptoms worsen for many hours. B6 toxicity is usually reversible by avoiding foods with vitamin B in them for 6 months to 3 years.

Founded by Meganamy on July 27, 2010
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Causing More Pain

Taking B6 supplements makes the pain worse, of course. Eating foods that contain B6 and other B vitamins also cause the pain to get worse.

Please, list the things you avoid doing or eating.
16 Comments
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These foods cause me more pain:
• potatoes
• soy lecithin and soy
• banana
• flax seeds
• pepperoni
• sausages
• tuna
• watermelon
• flour
• enriched cereals
• nuts
• chicken
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Activities which cause my pain to get worse:
• Vibrations, running or too much jumpy movement.
• Sitting in one position for long periods of time
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To be honest, taking more B6 never caused my pain to increase. In fact, it was almost the opposite - it caused numbness and insensitivity to increase. Red meat and garbanzo beans were the main culprits. And of course any vitamin pill with even the tiniest bit of B6.

I never had excruciating pain with B6, as you've stated in the intro. I am concerned that some people may see that, not have excruciating pain, and then decide on that basis that they don't have B6 toxicity. Symptoms could just as easily be numbness, which is what I had.
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Let me modify the intro, if I can.
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Thanks for starting this B6 toxicity forum.  I look forward to hearing from others and sharing our experiences.
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I am curious what your current symptoms are.  Do you have peripheral neuropathy?  My diagnosis was pyridoxine toxicity with an underlying peripheral neuropathy of unknown origin, probably hereditary neuropathy.  Once I stopped taking the B6 my symptoms improved over time.  But I still have mild neuropathy.  I had genetic testing for CMT with no definitive result.

One of my neurologists told me B6 toxicity only comes from taking supplements, not food, so I haven't monitored any potential food related symptoms.  I am surprised watermellon causes problems.  I eat a lot of fruit, including watermellon, but haven't noticed any changes from that.  Something does trigger neuropathy symptoms to worsen from time to time.  I don't know if it's food or something else.

I hope all is well.  Your may already know this but my name is Jon.  That's the name I prefer rather than my user name.  Take care.  Hope to hear more soon.

Jon
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My current symptoms are that the fingertips in my left hand always tingle mildly, my feet tingly very very mildly, and the region behind the areolas of my breasts tingle. And if I eat foods with B6, the tingling gets worse in all of those places, but sometimes it's so bad that it feels like someone's driving nails into my breasts with a nail gun. They're also super sensitive so movement causes my breasts to really feel sensitive because just the T-shirt moving brushes past and causes discomfort. I wear two tight bras at all times because the compression seems to lessen the tingling and the extra fabric prevents me from feeling every movement of my arms or my T-shirts. I generally keep my arms folded as well. It ends up making me look like I'm cold or unfriendly, but it's better than being in pain.
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Meganamy,

The tingling sensation sounds like what I have experienced as neuropathy.  Have you had a nerve conduction test?  I know we talked before about B6 testing.  I seem to recall you saying the doctors said the test was unreliable or there was no good test for B6?  The other sensations where you have sensitive areas could be a different kind of (small fiber sensory) neuropathy.  Have your doctors been any help in figuring that out?  I don't think the nerve conduction test tests for small fiber neuropathy.

One test my neurologist did was place a metal object against the top of my foot to see if I could feel a cool sensation.  Or, he would use his hand to see if I felt a warm sensation.  Not very scientific but, in any case I couldn't tell the difference which apparently indicated small fiber nerve loss.

I don't know if you've seen this site before but it gives nutrition info, including B6 content,  for a number of different foods.  
http://nutritiondata.self.com/.
I did look up watermelon, for example, and found that 1 cup contains .3 mg B6 which is 3% of the Daily Value.  It doesn't sound like much but I might eat a whole mini watermelon in a day so that is something to think about.

I also wanted to ask in all of your inquiries about B6, has the topic ever come up about why this toxic reaction happens?  Is it a metabolic problem?  Is our body unable to convert the B6 we take in to some usable form?  Finally, would you say your symptoms are improving?  I hope so.  
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When did you first notice a problem with B6 and how was it diagnosed?
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I had an EMG (Electromyogram) test done about a year and a half ago and the neurologist said that the nerve signals were getting to their destinations but he wanted to send me in for an MRI to see why my hands were tingling. He didn't know why I had so much breast pain so he just disregarded that and wanted to focus on my hands. My breast pain was so so so much more annoying and disruptive than my tingling hands and feet so I didn't have the MRI done because too much of my free time was already being spent going to Dr after Dr to find out how to stop the breast pain.

None of the Drs were helpful. They didn't know what it was but they all just told me what it was not and that it was not something they specialized in. An endocrinologist did a blood test to test for B6, on my suggestion, and said that the result was "46." I don't remember the units and they never told me what a normal range was, only that they weren't alarmed by the number but that my symptoms were definitely neurological. I have a friend who is a nurse and she said that a blood test would probably not be reliable anyway because she said the B6 would be in the nerves or stored in fat cells, not the blood. The endocrinologist was who referred me to the first neurologist who wanted to waste my time fixing things that I wasn't as bothered by.

One breast surgeon did use just a bobby pin to move around and ***** me to see if I felt all the pricks. I did. My problem has been TOO much sensation, rather than any numbness. For example, I have eczema and I have always had dryness after a shower or a day at the pool, but in places where I have B6 pain/damage, the pain from the dryness is excruciating.

Thanks for the link. I, too, love watermelon and have found that it causes my B6 pain to get temporarily worse. Luckily (sarcasm) I'm also mildly allergic to it and have an allergic reaction so I don't allow myself to eat it very often or in large amounts.

The majority of useful information that I've learned about B6 toxicity has been here on this medhelp.org site on our discussion topic. My (no medical degree here) understanding is that all people can't metabolize too much B6 (like from supplements). Some people's bodies can't get rid of the excess as well as others' bodies can (that's probably why the digestive enzymes are so helpful for us) so we're even more prone to getting B6 toxicity. And that the B6 causes some type of damage to the nerves. Especially wherever there is injury. My guess is that it converts into something and repairs nerves. If you take it when you have nerve damage somewhere, then those new nerves in that area regrow and have extra B6 (or whatever it turns into when digested) in them.

My symptoms are very slowly improving. Very slowly. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, although it is a very dim one. I used to be in constant excruciating pain. So much so that it was distracting and I had a hard time doing anything other than sitting in the fetal position on my couch and being miserable. I got B6 toxicity in pregnancy, so I had a newborn and then was in extreme pain all the time. Now, I'm only in low constant pain. I wear two tight bras all the time and the compression lessens the tingling so I'm rather normal and functional unless I get wet (shower, out in pouring rain, or go to the pool). At the pool, I wear a T-shirt over my two bras instead of my usual bikini top. I used to be in unbelievable pain if I ate many foods. Now, I can have some of them in moderation, especially if I haven't eaten a lot of other B6 foods that day. I'm really hoping that by next summer I can wear a swimsuit like normal people. I'm really hoping there will be a day again when I can comfortably just wear one bra. My wardrobe is restricted to loose blousy T-shirts or oversized sweaters because of all of the bra straps.

Are your symptoms going away? How long has this road taken you?
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It's interesting that your B6 level was 46 ng/ml; mine was 47.4 ng/ml.  Normal is 5.0 to 30.0.  On retest a month later, after I stopped all supplements contining B6, it was 12.7 ng/ml.  On a third test, 6 months later, it was 5.1 ng/ml.  I have had steady but very slow improvement to the point where I almost feel normal sometimes.  I do supposedly have an underlying neuropathy so we'll see how that plays out.

Have you searched the term tactile allodynia?  That would seem to describe your type of pain.  I will also check when I have more time.  Take care.
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Thanks for listing the B6 normal range. Never heard of "tactile allodynia." Off to Google it now!
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I did find a current blog on allodynia that looks interesting.  http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Neurology/Skin-hypersensitivity-and-pain/show/1303679
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Thanks for the link. I'm not feeling sensations that are wrong or confusing. For example, I don't feel sharp pain if I touch something warm. Rather, I'm just overly sensitive. I've always been ticklish, had to cut tags out of clothes because they itched, found lace and wool to be too itchy. But now, with the B6 toxicity, it's even more pronounced.
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Allodynia would be more like pain upon touching or brushing skin.  Some people have pain when their bed sheets touch their feet at night.  
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I was just reading the B6 Toxicity discussion and tator750 mentioned that the B6 level "normal range is 5 to 30." FWIW:
http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Nutrition/B6-Toxicity/show/2642
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