Vitamin B6 toxic effects – sensory & motor neuropathies, some not reversible


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HIGH DOSES GONE WILD

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TOXICITY OF B6

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So many of us fail to study the supplements that we take, and trust our bodies to inadequately trained people trying to sell vitamins. It’s a multi-billion dollar business.

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In my first posts on this site April 2009, I warned about several vitamins that can be toxic. Yet I see so many people who are taking harmful doses. Many have harmful cardiovascular effects, as I posted later after publication by a colleague at Mayo Clinic.

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Vitamin B6 is almost always found in high doses in “energy” drinks and in higher and higher doses in vitamins. I have seen patients taking 11,000 times higher dose than the recommended daily allowance, the RDA.

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Eleven thousand times higher dose.

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Eleven thousand.

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No wonder they are barely able to move due to nerve pain from scalp to toe. So severe they cannot tolerate anyone touching the skin. And they are seeking opioids? to relieve pain?

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Vitamin B6 can cause severe nerve pain and much worse. Damage may not be reversible, but if it is, it may take more than one year.

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Less is more.

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The information on Vitamin B6 toxicity below is directly quoted from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Herbs and Botanicals website. Refer to their page for references and much longer discussion of benefits that I have omitted.

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From Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Herbs and Botanicals website

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High B6 intakes can have toxic effects including sensory and motor neuropathies, and some case reports of neurotoxicity have not been reversible (29). B6 levels can also be elevated due to environmental exposures or genetic defects (1).

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At the same time, because PLP is the metabolically active form of B6, it is thought to be responsible in instances of vitamin B6 toxicity (29). High circulating pyridoxine levels may have direct toxic effects on peripheral sensory ganglia neurons in the lower blood–nerve barrier, whereas the blood–brain barrier protects neurons in those regions from higher levels (35). The negative impact of B6 upon levels of other B vitamins appears to be dose-dependent and occur with chronic exposure (29).

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Warnings

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Long-term intake of high doses vitamin B6 can lead to nerve problems (29).

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Adverse Reactions
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High concentrations of vitamin B6 may result in severe peripheral sensory neuropathies and ataxia. Toxicities have reversed following discontinuation in some instances (37), but some case reports of neurotoxicity have not been reversible (29).

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Case reports

Irreversible sensory ataxia in octogenarians: Three elderly patients in their eighties presented with sensory ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements) and signs of polyneuropathy (damage or disease affecting peripheral nerves) for 3–8 months. Pyridoxine 600 mg daily was consumed for 3–10 years in a B1-6-12-combination tablet. B6 blood levels were markedly elevated at 66–104x ULN. After 2 years of vitamin discontinuation, the patients showed no significant improvement in either neuropathy or gait, and no other likely cause for neuropathy in these patients could be identified (29).

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Severe sensorimotor neuropathy: Due to B6 hypervitaminosis in a 75-year-old white man, accompanied by yellowish-brown skin pigmentation. Discontinuation of B6 led to improvement 1 year later, when he no longer used a wheelchair and could walk without a cane. Skin color also resolved, but ataxic signs were still present (38).

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Herb-Drug Interactions
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Altretamine: Pyridoxine may diminish its therapeutic effect (39).
Oral contraceptives: May moderately increase pyridoxine requirements (40).
Levodopa: Enhances levodopa metabolism, thereby reducing its effects (41) (42).
Penicillamine: May increase the requirements for pyridoxine (32).
Seizure medications (phenytoin, phenobarbital): High-dose pyridoxine may decrease serum concentrations (43).

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Zinc Blocks Copper – Use with Extreme Caution. Copper is Essential to Life.


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I see too many people who are taking zinc. Why?

Why are they combined in multivitamins?

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 Zinc blocks copper – use with extreme caution.

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Copper is essential to life.

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Copper is involved in neuronal transmission, oxygenation, mitochondrial function, and the formation of connective tissue. So inhibiting copper must be done with extreme care. Treatment that involves removing copper is tricky.

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The brain needs copper. You have to be careful about pulling copper out of tissues because copper is essential for life. It is a chelator that may pull too much copper out of tissue. That could disrupt neurotransmitters and thereby affect behavior, health, pain, mood, tissues.

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And high dose zinc is a risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

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Zinc is present in many foods which are the best source of nutrients.

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has a more comprehensive review of zinc, its toxicities, drug interactions, and adverse reactions:

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Adverse Reactions

Oral, Common: Taste disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, and diarrhea.
Oral, Toxicity: Copper deficiency, depressed immune function, headache, chills, fever, and fatigue.

Topical: Itching or pain, hypopigmentation, erythema, swelling, scaling, blackening.

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That list understates the devastating neurological damage of a person presented at the Academy of Neurology annual meeting in 2013.

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