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B6 Toxicity...Rethinking Supplements

I have been having peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  After having a battery of tests, the bad stuff was ruled out but the one thing that popped up was a very high b6 level...120 where the top end of the normal range was 20.

About a year ago I saw a doctor who thought I should start taking supplements.  There were a bunch of things but the culprit was a b6 supplement of about 70 per day.  This was below the limit of of 100 but I still ended up with this high amount of b6 in my blood and certainly have toxicity symptoms.  

My doc says it is not the B6 supplement but cannot come up with another reason for the symptoms.  Here's my guess:  while the b6 supplement was not ridiculous it was still at a level that has been shown at times to be toxic over a long period. More importantly, he also had me on a 5000 units of Vit. D, but no magnesium.  From what I have read, Vit D and Vit B6 both need magnesium to get converted into a usable form.    (Basically, they chew it up.) Without enough magnesium, and the increased levels of D and B6 I was taking in, the B6 built up and, presto, neuropathy.

I have stopped all supplements.  I am drinking water like mad.  I have been at this for three weeks and feel a bit better but I know it is a long haul.  My question is whether people with this issue have found adding magnesium for a period of time makes sense.  Frankly, part of me wants to swear off supplements and just eat right, exercise and get some sun (what an idea!!!)  But if I should be doing something different, advice is welcome.  Also curious if people find the symptoms come and go a bit.  My definitely vary every day.

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Avatar universal
Well, remember, everyone has a different experience with these things.  Here's the magnesium story -- Vitamin D helps calcium get absorbed better.  Calcium and magnesium are in balance in the body, and too much calcium can leach magnesium out of the body (just as too much magnesium can leach calcium out of the body).  The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is 800 I.U., but some docs and natural physicians believe in very high doses if certain conditions exist.  I have no idea what you were taking this for, but if was just for maintenance, you were taking way too much D.  Keep in mind that most Americans get too much calcium and not enough magnesium in their diet.  The main reason for this is the excessive consumption of dairy -- dairy is very high in calcium but deficient in magnesium.  The best sources for magnesium are green leafy vegetables (also the best sources for the proper forms and amounts of calcium) but most Americans don't care much for them.  So say with bone density, the bigger problems is magnesium deficiency, not calcium deficiency, but the milk lobby is huge and the leafy green vegetable lobby isn't.  Most people have a hard time digesting dairy -- it is, after all, intended only until weaning, and that's human milk.  Cows are quite weird in their way of digesting foods and they were created by humans, not evolution.  If you get out in the sun for a half hour a day at peak hours, you probably don't need any D supplementation, but most of us don't do that anymore.  As for the B6, it's probably your culprit, but keep in mind, magnesium deficiency can also cause some of what you're describing.  I have no idea what your diet is like, but a balanced B complex would have solved this problem.  The other problem is that B6 is in balance with B12 and folate, so you might be deficient now in those.  Not to be snarky, but your doctor doesn't sound very knowledgeable about this, which is typical of docs in general.  A holistic nutritionist might have been a better fit.  A couple years ago the gov't reduced recommended supplementation of D from 1000 a day to 800 because some people were having bad reactions from taking too much.  There are situations where this is a useful treatment despite risk, such as a lot of overall pain, but not for an otherwise healthy person.  Also know that only D3 is the form humans use, so I hope your doc didn't put you on a synthetic form that the body can't use well.  It's good, though, that you're getting better, and in the future if you want to use supplements, buy them already balanced by highly reputable companies found only in the best health foods stores.  But be careful if you ever take a lot of supplements -- some companies have a tendency to put B6 in everything.  Good luck.
Thanks so much for the info.  I actually have a really good diet (love leafy green!) and get out in the sun a lot. I also run and lift weights. I think my best plan is to just stop all supplements for the next few months and let my body balance things out. I just feel like things got way out of whack. At that point I can decide whether to supplement at all. So long as my diet is really good, I don't see why, which was my lifelong view till this guy bamboozled me. My mistake ... just won't make it again.
It might be that everyone needs a multivitamin because the food we eat these days is pretty old by the time we eat it.  But really, if you're feeling well and you eat well, you don't "need" a supplement, it's just insurance sometimes.
Avatar universal
Have you considered transdermal CO2 therapy in lieu of some supplements to boost your blood flow?
Avatar universal
Late to this convo, but had a couple of questions for CE. What does your alp (alkaline phosphatase) typically run? Also, do you know what your b6 was prior to starting the supplements? If your alp has always typically been low (which the majority of drs pay no attention to) you might want to look up Hypophosphatasia. I hope you're feeling much better now.
You've commented on an old thread... ChemistryExperiment is no longer active on the forum and isn't likely to respond; however, for the benefit of others reading this thread, it's usually advantageous to have nutrient values tested prior to supplementing since some can be toxic or present with adverse side effects.  I was tested and actually found to be deficient in most of the B vitamins, including B6, but still have to be careful.

It's true that many/most manufacturers love to put B6 in almost everything and it seems that it's not enough to put in small amounts, they put in up to 500%-1500% of the recommended daily amount.  One of the adverse effects I find with B6 is that it causes vivid dreams or actual nightmares, so I can always tell if I've taken too much.  I can only take, even the B-Complex my neuro recommends for my neuropathy, for a month or so because I begin having nightmares or dreams, whereas, typically, I don't remember my dreams.  I've even found a B-Complex with just the recommended daily amount and make sure I don't take other supplements with B6 in them. After not taking the B-Complex for 6 weeks or so, I can resume it again for a month, so it's a cycle for me.  

Fortunately, I do take weekly B-12 injections and separate Folate supplements so I'm deficient in those while I'm waiting for the B6 to clear my system.

Important to note that adequate B6 is needed for proper absorption/metabolism of protein - ironically, my protein levels are always low.
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