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B6 Toxicity

This is more of a comment than a question, but I would welcome info from anyone who has any experience with this situation. I took a prescription called Folcaps (which had 25 mgs of pyridoxine in it) for a year. In February of 06 I began experiencing symptoms which have now been diagnosed as Pyridoxine (b6) Toxicity Induced Neuropathy. I did not get this diagnosis until August 15, after four MRIs, several specialists and balance testing. My b6 blood level was 81 - the maximum safe level in this test was 32. When reading about b6 toxicity one reads about tingling hands and feet and being "wobbly on your feet" and things of that nature. It can be much more than that. Be careful with Vitamin b6. It's not known if the neurological damage is reversible. Some studies show it is, some show it is not. The damage I have suffered extends to my thyroid, my blood pressure has been lowered (to an unsafe level - it was healthy before), my balance has been damaged - I don't know where my right foot is in space, I've had insomnia, my symptoms are too lengthy to list here. The fatigue that I have been experiencing for the past several months has started to lift now that I've stopped taking the medication, but it is still profound...another hallmark symptom of b6 poisoning. This is a serious toxic situation and one that is not understood by the medical community. I am waiting to find out how much of my life I will get back. I am rebuilding my stamina & neuropathways with an optimistic outlook. And getting the word out. MD's don't know about vitamins. Work with nutritionists. Don't go it solo
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Avatar universal
Wow, I had what I think was B6 toxicity about 6 years ago. I was taking a B-50 supplement for a year - that's 50mg of B6. The neurologist had no clue what was going on. Finally I guessed B6, he said maybe, I stopped it completely (that was a rough road), and major changes started to happen in 8 days. It took about 3 years, I'd say, to get to the point where I didn't notice any remaining effect. But I'm still very sensitive to it. I can't yet take a whole Centrum each day (that's all of 2mg) without feeling a little wierd on my fingertips and toes after a week or two.

Anyway, it's a long story. Let me know if you want to know more. Personally, at the time, I would have loved to hear someone else say they'd been through it, and I wasn't nuts. The neuro never really was any help, so the fact that you have one who tested for it is a big plus!
Avatar universal
I am so thankful I found this website, and for the individuals who told their stories to get the word out....it has saved my life!  In 1999, I went to a Neurologist with several severe neurological complaints.  I thought I was possibly dealing with MS.  MS was ruled out after testing, but I was not diagnosed at that time, and the Neurologist thought my problems were in my head, and that I needed to see a counselor! :(  Finally in 2007, I got the courage up again to go to another Neuologist for help, because my symptoms had worsened, and I was having difficulty walking (long term, extreme B6 toxicity side effect).  I decided that this time round with the new Neurologist I was going to be very proactive and obtain all my test results and "analyze" them with the help of info off the internet.  To make the long story short, my B6 level was at 73 (normal is 23 for women).  I then found this website and others to confirm to me that it was "B6 Toxicity Induced Neuropathy".  I explained my findings to my Neurologist, and she still wanted me to go through all of the MS testing because of the evident neurological damage (my reflexes were fried).  Yes, MS was ruled out, and the Neurologist did her studying on B6 toxicity, and I was FInally diagnosed properly.  The Neurologist also told me that she also had another case that had just come to her with high levels of B6, and she was wondering what was going on with this!?!  (A Note to Neurologists:  This is a serious problem....don't write B6 off as a water soluable vitamin....it's toxic, and your patients need help!)  I have been detoxing for 8 weeks now....and it has been a nightmare.  Detox symptoms include (on top of toxicity symptoms!): SEVERE FATIGUE, nerve pain, difficulty walking, intenstinal pain, blurred vision, depression, SEVERE NAUSEOUSNESS, headaches, muscle weakness, dizziness, vertigo, hopelessness, etc. etc. etc.  I am using a special diet from a book called "Patient Heal Thyself", which includes a lot of fresh, organic, whole foods. And I have a lot of support from friends and family to walk me through this trying experience.  I have lost 10 precious years of vibrant living due to B6 toxicity, but I am hopeful that I'm ready to finally close this chapter, and begin a brand new book in life.  Detoxing can take up to 6 months, and 3 years for the nerves to heal.  This truly is a serious condition, and I have had too many symptoms to list here from the toxicity.  It's a SILENT CRIPPLER, and the funny thing about B6 toxicity is that it is addictive because B6 makes you "feel good" at first, and then when you don't have it, you feel worse, so you "think" it's a good thing and that you "Need" it.  Quite a puzzling phenomenon!
Avatar universal
I suspect that I have B6 toxicity.  I now have nerve damage in my colon which makes it not function very well.  I read that it attacks old injury sites and those are the spots that are affected (toes on one foot; bladder; L1 spine).  I was on UASA vitamins since July.  I tried getting of of them a few times and my gut shut down each time so I would return to them.  About eight days ago I stopped again and my colon is trying to quit.  Five days after I stopped them, I took a 1/4 daily dose to try to get my colon to work again.  Within an hour I had a hot foot with numb toes.  I had a burning pain in my calf all night and felt terrible the next day.  I have found that I am not so much off balance since I stopped them and am not as weak.
Can you give me an idea as to what you eat and how to detoxify myself.
Avatar universal
Could you correspond with me on this recovery period?
Avatar universal
hi there,
i'm a C.N. (however, a shadow on the internet so you don't really know, but i am),
and have worked with supplements for about 30 years.
i have taken them for over 35 years now.
i will tell you, b-6 toxicity exists.  i am a supporter of taking supplements, but agree,
this one is a cautious one.
i have the problem myself!  i have numb toes, mild nerve damage upon EMG findings.
they thought i had maybe ms/als/ something.  i have no firm dx of this but, with testing
taking b-6 and not taking it, taking it makes the numbness worse.
studies show most can take up to 500mgs. a day and should be ok, but i'm not so sure
about that.
there are also studies showing that over 150mgs. and in a few cases less than 100mgs.
a day could cause neuropathy.
one neuro i saw thought i was in the safe zone, but i'm not so sure.
the suspected reason for the toxicity, is that your liver is overwhelmed and cannot
add a *phosphate* molecule to the pyridoxine, thereby producing the active pyridoxine
5 phosphate.  instead, you have pure pyridoxine floating around and it's toxic.
i would love to know the b-6 toxicity websites to check them out.
thanks, hope i was helpful a bit.
Avatar universal
I find this very interesting.  I was taking Norvasc which I think compounded or created the problem.  Do you think that natural B6 would react different than man made B6?  I started feeling bad last May. I have been off of everthing (Norvasc include) for three weeks.  I feel that I am very slowly getting better but it is a rough trip, very up and down.  I am very weak and unable to do hardly anything.  I would have never beleived that I could go this low.  My doctor thinks I am depressed.  He doesn't know the difference between weak and fatigue.
Avatar universal
i gotta run for today, but, i wanted to answer.
i kind of don't think it matters, although b-6 from food likely
is fine of course.
b-6 is involved in neurotransmitters, substances such as gaba,
so, this could jive with your feeling down and tired and so forth.
i think that any supplement no matter how it's touted, of b-6,
if it's your cause then it will bother you yes.
hope i helped?
fb C.N.
Avatar universal
In May of 2007 I was taking a sublingual B-Complex (B12 and B6) when I experienced vertigo.  I went to a neurologist who said by B12 levels were 200 and a little low so he gave me a perscription for Cerefolin, a mega vitamin usually given to Parkinson's patients.  Within a month I had lost my balance, my reflexes had slowed down.  I was suspected for MS.  My symptoms worsened, and I was at a point in November that I was going to need a walker.  My toes on my left foot became paralyzed, and I needed a bar to balance myself in shower.  I'm only 40 years old.  My neuro decided to send me to a ALS specialist in Philadelphia.  They ruled out ALS, however my symptoms persisted.  Meanwhile I ran out of my perscription, and just didn't have time to get them refilled.  We'll as each day went by I felt just a little bit better.  So I decided to stop the pill without my neurologists permission.  Within 1 month I was a slow jog up and down my driveway. I actually cried and was so thankful for being able to do that.  I am now 2 months off the medication and can run up stairs again.  I am scheduled to go to a hematologist on Friday to figure what exactly my levels are.  B-6 can cripple and kill.  I wrote the FDA a letter to tell them of the effects I had from Cerefolin.  My main concern is that this drug is given to patients that already have a physical impairment and could worsen their condition.  Thank God I'm not alone with this.
Avatar universal
Did you loose your appetite during this ordeal?
Avatar universal
don't forget, that prescription versions of some vitamin formulas that exist, may be
potent, and often are mixed with fillers that are for lack of a better description, nasty.
however, yes, if the amount of b-6 was high enough, it could theoretically be the cause.
it is a dilemma, because b-6 can alleviate alot of things related to cardiovascular issues,
and is involved in seratonin and so forth, even immunity.  so to not be able to take it
is, well maybe not the worst thing but i'd rather see people able to tolerate some.
it is great you are better.  i am not with my b-6 issue, but it's slowly working i think.
and being in this field i never had much concern, yet, here i am with you on this.
Avatar universal
I've had a sinus bradycardia condition since I was a little girl....I've also experienced tachycardia episodes.  This was confirmed at a cardiac unit at a hospital where I tested postive on a tilt test.  My heart stopped for 4-5 seconds then restarted.  I went to see a hematologist last Friday, as I've already had 6 MRIs and Cat Scans, and am frustrated with my neuro.  The hematologist is testing me for Porphyria, which I've never heard of, but it has something to do with the blood not producing a needed enzyme...which can lead to the b6/b12 issues, heart issues and the neuropathy that I experienced.  Have you ever heard of Porphyria?
Avatar universal
oh yes, i've heard of it.  i can't from memory recall all that is involved, but i do follow
you on the b vitamin issues.
i do not believe it is very common.  i would have to check into my huge piles of books
on these subjects (they are all over my place!), and re-introduce myself to this problem.
if you get a positive i suppose it would maybe answer some questions for you finally.
i don't know why, but neuro's seem to be alarmingly very frustrating.
let me know if i can help at all.
407927 tn?1202332427
I had experienced B6 Toxicity !  It was so unexplained for the longest time, when I would have numbness or tingling of my fingers/hands and feet.  I would be at the supermarket, at the gym working, training, w/ friends, anywhere... and my hands started tingling and going numb.  

My boyfriend said What have you been doing differently that you never did before?  Something has now caused this.  So I back tracked, and the only thing new was overdosing on vitamins.  Bought a ton of Vit A, Vit B's (all of them), Vit C, Vit D, Mg, MSM, Gluc Chondroitin, everything.  Found out that my diet was sufficient, and I was getting well over the RDA values for all Vitamins and Minerals.

Stopped taking the vitamins.  They are unnecessary, since I get enough from my diet alone. (go to Fitday.com, enter your diet, click on "reports", and it tells you the RDA values/Vitamins and Minerals you are taking in).   Since then, the numbness and tingling has stopped.  Thank god !
Avatar universal
I too had a bout with B-6 overdose when ingesting 200-300 mg/day for a mild case of carpal tunnel. My symptoms were not as serious as others mentioned here since I was on them for less than 2 weeks, but it was scary and did mess with my thyroid, heart, intestines, and I had vertigo in addition to numbess, pain and tingling.  I think I was toxic this quickly due to some kidney impairment.  Anyways, I am very glad to hear other sufferers are recovering.  I myself feel somewhat better a month later, and recommend acupunture for nerve compression, not this vitamin.  Moreover, I don't know if the vitamin prod. company does an accurate measuring job since their vitamins supposedly are 90% wheat gluten with the remainder pyridoxine.  The worse symptoms are better, however my dreams are still rather vivid and unforgettable.  Does that also subside?   Eric Nissani
Avatar universal
Just some additional remarks after rereading these blogs.  I think staying off caffeine and sodas helps detox, as well as avoiding spinach, salmon, eggs, carrots, peas and potatoes (high in B-6) helps. Also, eating frequent small meals helps intestines normalize from B-6.  Sleep with your head elevated to minimize blood pressure or heart problems, and try to do a lot of walking, meditation, stress reduction, and non-vigorous exercise as well as rest.  Some have claimed wearing loose shoes is good for nerve damage in the feet.  Test for thyroid problems, and be careful about ingesting any other drugs or vitamins.  I took aspirin for a few weeks after I had some bad heart palpitations (slept with my head too low after drinking black tea) however I think in the long run nerves heal best drug-free and so I have eased off the aspirin.  Eric
Avatar universal
Wow, it is helpful to read your experiences. I have suffered vitamin B-6 toxicity twice in two years. The first time I was on a high dose sublingual vitamin for PMS symptoms. I started having tingling, numbness, burning pain and doctors thought all the usual pathology like MS. I had MRI, blood testing, ect... and the only thing off was B-6 levels were 136! I went off the vitamins and then found I was pregnant. It took about six months for me to become "normal".

then, during my postpartum, I started taking a low dose prenatal vitamin b/c I was feeling that nursing was draining me. With a couple of months, all the toxicty symptoms came back but worse this time. Probably b/c my nerves were still healing from the first time. I had no idea that such low levels of B6 would cause problems. And it effected my baby. He had terrible sleep issues, probably insomnia due to too much B6 in my milk. this time my blood levels were 125.

I went off all vitamins three months ago. But, i am still having so much pain and sometimes weakness. It is difficult to sleep and lugging around my 23 pound one year old can be challenging. I worry that there is something else wrong but it sounds like the healing process can be painful and take longer than I thought. I miss exercise so much! I went to a pilates class yesterday and last night, the aching pain in my nerves was almost unbearable.

I am learning about patience!
Any ideas how long this healing can take?
Avatar universal
My boyfriend got B6 toxicity from just taking a B-Complex vitamin daily. The neurologist said his level was 8 times higher than normal.
Now the tests say that the B6 is out of his system, but he still has neuropathy symptoms. He feels painful "electric shocks" mostly in his feet, toes and hands, but sometimes chest and abs too. It's really depressing because he's always been fit, healthy and athletic. It's been around 2 or 3 months since the B6 has been out of him, but he's not noticeably healing yet. The EMG test said he had mild nerve damage. Can anyone tell me if they had similar shock-like zaps, stabbing pain or burning feet from this and got better over time. All we have is hope that his nerves will heal and I'm hoping to hear your experience of how long it takes or if you still haven't been cured yet. Thanks
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with b6 induced neuropathy in July of 07 from Centrum Vitamins. I had experienced numbness in my toes for at least 3 years. The numbness and tingling got progressively worse. No physicians in my area could tell me the problem even a neurologist. Finally I told my primary physician of the electric shock-like vibrations going up into my chest and face. He contacted a neurologist at Johs Hopkins who called me at home and asked me to see him the next day. I was tested with the nerve conduction tests and gave 9 samples of blood. Two weeks later, he called me and told me my b6 level was 66 and it had more than likely produced th neuropathy. It was a long, very difficult 4 or 5 ordeal mainly because so many no absolutely nothing about this terrible condition - and I am talking about the medical field! My shocks are not what they used to be now. I can now sleep without sleep aids, but my mobility is still limited due to the incomplete recovery of my nerves in mainly my left leg. I am a Christian and find my solace in prayer and reading Scripture. I know I am in good hands, but I did go through anxiety and depression. My wife was a huge help. Others just don't understand. I am 63 so the healing will be longer than you will experience. But you, like me, will heal. The nerves will recover. From what I have read, and I read everything I can about this problem, only those who have take massive doses of the pyrodoxine do not recover. All the rats recover. Sorry for the poor humor. I would be glad to talk with you about this. Just let me hear from you. God bless.
Avatar universal
I have been detoxing from severe B6 poisoning for over 10 months, and it is a living nightmare.....My neurologist told me that it will take up to 3 years for the nerves to heal.....and then I'll know if I have permanent damage.....I've been severely poisoned for over 10 years, as my first neurologist missed it totally 10 years ago.....so I'm crippled, and bed-ridden, and now my heart feels like it is ready to give out.....lots of palpitations, starts and stops, shooting pains, etc.....My advice....take it one day at a time, stay focused on God, eat only organic foods, rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, and tell the nay-sayers to nay-say no more!.......Good luck!
Avatar universal
Wow, this is eye opening.  I thought B was water soluble... i.e. pee it out if you have too much.  I will pay more attention now.
Avatar universal
I have been drinking an OTC "energy drink" with 8333% of B6 in it ( and hight percentages of other vitamins) daily for appx 3 years now.  I know I am addicted because I crave it at 10 am every day.  Am I to understand that this is going to do these horrible things to me?  My body is not washing out this vitamin as it does with the vitamin C and niacin?
Avatar universal
I had all those electric shock feelings as I was healing and it got much worse rather than better for a few months after quitting the vitamins. And the stabbing, burning pain. Now, it has been almost seven months and the pain is almost gone. I am not myself again yet as I too used to be physically fit and now have lost a lot of muscle strength. I still have twitchy muscles too. But, I know I am healing and your boyfriend will too. For me, I realized I have B12 and Vitamin D deficiency so needed to take those vitamins and avoid B6. I live in the NW with no sunlight and have been breastfeeding a baby so all my nutrients went to him.
I have heard it takes about three years for full recovery. The thing I don't really understand is why this happens. The first time it happened to me (two years ago) I was taking a fairly high dose of B complex. The second time (seven months ago) I was only taking a prenatal vitamin and having a packet of E-C every day.
For some reason, there are some people who just can't tolerate B6 and it becomes like a poison in the system. I have heard that we might not produce the enzyme needed to process it.
Avatar universal
okay...it's been a year since my symptoms have developed and about 6 months since I stopped using the Cerefolin - mega vitamin my neurologist gave to me for low b/12.....which also contained mega doses of b/6....I have atrophy in my feel...have difficulty walking, lost arms/legs strength.  I found a new neurologist that I am going to ...I am going to ask to be tested by something called Charcot Marie Tooth...I have some symptoms of this disease as well as my daughters.  There are a list of medications that you shouldn't take...b/6 is one of them (mega doses).  I suggest that you guys take a look at the symptoms for this disease and see if this why your reaction to b/6 was toxic.  It's a disease that not a lot of doctors know about...in the state of Pennsylvania there are only 8 doctors I've found listed that actually have experience with this specific disease.  The most common symptoms are hammertoes and high arches...but there are so many more.  It is important to know if you have it as there are many medications that are toxic to CMT patients..including penicillian.
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