Since early/mid-June 2013 I know I have elevated vitamin B6 in my blood: Pyridoxal phosphate (active B6) at ~150 nmol/l (reference 40-110) and pyridoxal at ~300 nmol/l (reference <20). The symptoms that I have fit with B6 toxicity: muscle twinkling/facilitations, altered senses, fuzzy headaches, tingling throughout the body (from leg to back, from tongue to finger), numbness, odd skin lesions/acne like rash, diarrhea, sensitive lower ribs, etc. Earlier I was found to have seriously reduced serum vitamin D at 24 nmol/l (reference 50-150) two months ago, which also my contribute to the long list of symtomps I suffered. I started Vit D supplementation and blood results show that Vitamin D levels are getting higher. I have not been taking any other vitamin supplements. And I don’t consume extraordinary volumes of B6 containing foods or drinks. At this moment it is not known if the B6 value is part of an decreasing or increasing serum B6 trend. At this point I also cannot exclude other health issues are involved that evoke my symptoms.
February/March of this year I became really sick with some sort of hyperventilation episodes (very high heart rate, muscles frozen, cold hands, extremely tired etc) after minimal physical activity, diarrhea, fever, coughing, fatigue etc. And at one point I started to develop the neuromuscular symptoms. Not all at the same time, not all with the same harshness. Nothing specific was found in blood tests, X-rays and examinations by a neurologist, cardiologist and physician: nothing except for these 2 vitamins. It was on my own advice to have vitamins tested: Blood was tested in April for vitamin D and tested for B6 end of May. Since April my endurance and physical condition is improving, albeit very slowly, and symptoms have not gone _ I must admit I experience more "better" days than 2 months ago. Still, the ups and downs, the slow progress, all is making me frustrated, scared and uncertain at times.
After all,I probably had signs in earlier years which may have been connected to my current condition - but thse signs lasted often short and not severe. I lived in the fast lane of life, with growing up kids, traveling through time zones, high work load, too little sleep, irregular sleeping times, various traumatic events etc. I hardly exercised. In January 2013 I had flu (at least that’s what I thought it was) followed by intercontinental traveling, as well as in February I had intercontinental traveling. After that I totally broke down. Not knowing what was wrong. Burn out? Postviral syndrome?
In the last years I used antacids since I suffer from a reflux issue due to problem with the gastric valve. Tested negative for Lyme. I am a 44 years old man.
My “recovery” strategy since March of this year so far, regardless of the B6, was to:
• Take sufficient rest and start restructuring my life (needed anyway)
• Focus on other (fun) things, distract myself from the health issues. Constant odd physical sensations make that often difficult
• Exercise (be aware of your limits and take time to recover from exercising)
• Drink sufficient water
• Have higher awareness of food habits. I already had a relatively healthy diet, nevertheless I stopped coffee and snacks and focused more on fruits and vegetables.
• Yoga to relax and strengthen my muscles
• Physical therapy to improve my endurance and strengthen the muscles
Now with the knowledge of having high B6 I adjusted my strategy a little:
• Further avoidance of high B6 containing foods. There are various sites and books that list the B6 content of foods and drinks
• No intake of probiotics – they may produce B6 in your guts. Although I am not sure if this is true. I already had stopped antacids since I thought this was connected to diarhea issues I had.
Unfortunately I have not discovered a golden bullet to reduce B6. Exercising, water and reduction of B6 intake are the most commonly mentioned strategies. Additionally, magnesium and B12 intake was also recommended to reduce B6. I have no idea whether these approaches work or not, and why they would work.
Numerous people have described a similar situation of high serum vitamin B6. Unfortunately most stories stop after some time: Are they healthy again or what happened to these people? It also seems the frequency of this high B6 phenomenon is not high, but on the other hand the group could be larger since GPs not always have vitamins checked.
Is there a commonality between all the high vitamin B6 sufferers (especially the ones who don’t have a high vitamin B6 intake) ? I hope you can respond and share your insights or experiences.
• Connection to stress, viral infection or burn-out? What happened 1-6 months prior the onset of your problems. I believe that the flu and 2 intercontinental flights fired up my condition of which I believe it was already building up in the months before.
• Connection to other vitamin abnormalities, such as reduced vitamin D or changed Vitamin B12 level? I wonder if my low vitamin D hampered vit B6 clearance or did the high B6 hamper the vitamin D update or production by skin?
• Connection to antacids or other stomach/gastrointestinal problems? Low stomach acid may favor growth of B6 producing bacteria.
• Connection to high sensitivity persons ? It is not aformal medical term, but ~10-20% of the population appears to be high sensitive, which may also be reflected in physical differences
• Often one checks if an individual parameter is within a normal range, but what is known about the “optimal” ratios between vitamins and minerals in blood serum? And isn’t a normal range or optimal ratio dependent on the individual (one shoe does not fit all)?
• Is there a relation to geography, age, gender, genetics etc?
• What expertise is the best to consult? Neurologist, endocrinologist, orthomolecular therapist etc? Possibly a combination? I believe that B6 is elevated through a cascade of events in your body and a multidisciplinary approach is warranted. To me this area seems to still a very green field.
I am looking forward to responses either in reply to this post or by mail. As a patient and a scientist I am anxious to getter better insight in the elevated B6 situation. I also will share new insights and developments.
Best to you all.