This is an urgent update for anyone taking vitamin supplements. If you are experiencing chronic fatigue, nerve pain, dermatitis, headaches, memory problems, nausea, gait abnormalities or liver problems you are at risk for vitamin B6 toxicity! I have diagnosed a dozen cases of vitamin B6 toxicity by testing for serum vitamin B6 levels. If you are experiencing a deterioration in your health and you are taking megadoses of vitamin B6 follow up with your doctor immediately.
We have known for decades that megadoses of vitamin B6 is toxic. In fact, in 1983, in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that 4 patients were severely disabled with ataxia and severe sensory neuropathy. The cause of the disability was megadoses of vitamin B6. Why do patients take OTC vitamin B6? Because Vitamin B6 is involved in over 100 chemical reactions in the body and is necessary for health.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is crucial for the production of glucose, essential fatty acids, neurotransmitters, red blood cells, and immune health. In America, vitamin B6 deficiency is rare. Risk factors for vitamin B6 deficiency are alcoholism, tuberculosis medication, oral contraceptive pills and diuretic use. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is 1.3 mg per day. If you consume 1.3 mg per day you are getting 100% of your daily need. This amount is easy to get with a healthy plant-based diet. I have seen multiple patients taking a B complex that has 100mg of vitamin B6 which is 5000% of the RDA! Over time, these megadoses of Vitamin B6 will cause health problems. What is a safe dose of daily vitamin B6?
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the tolerable upper intake levels for vitamin B6 is 25mg per day. Interestingly, in Europe they have higher safety standards on vitamin B6 supplementation. In America, the RDA for the upper intake level for B6 is 100 mg per day. There are many case reports in the literature and I have had patients who are taking more than 25 mg per day suffering from symptoms such as headaches, nerve pain, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, and tremors. There is literature suggesting that high doses of vitamin B6 for as short as 15 days can impair memory. The current RDA guidelines for B6 is wrong.
I recommend checking all of your current supplements including your multivitamins, iron tabs, melatonin sleep aids, protein powder, electrolyte drinks, etc and checking if they contain vitamin B6. Add the amount of mg of vitamin B6 from all sources and ensure that you are not consuming more than 25 mg per day, as recommended by the European Food Safety Authority.
Unfortunately, many respected doctors and teaching institutions are still going by the old data you must consume 200 mg or 300 mg per day of vitamin B6 to overdose. A internet search reveals misinformation that many well respected website are publishing.
Snake oil salesmen, quacks and charlatans on the internet are trying to convince the public you need megadoses of vitamin B6 for PMS, Stress, MTHFR mutations, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc. The public is being misled. Patients are suffering with PMS, stress, MTHFR mutations, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. However, the solution is not megadoses of vitamin B6. Megadoses of vitamin B6 is confounding the clinical picture and making it difficult for patients who are seeking help.
In my next blog I will discuss what can be done to treat Vitamin B6 toxicity.