Q. Last October I started having neurological symptoms. My hands were falling asleep every night with pins and needles. The symptoms got worse and I developed pain in my neck, upper back and arms. Sometimes my feet would fall asleep as well.
I saw my family doctor, a neurologist, an orthopedist, and a physiatrist. I had my blood tested for B12 deficiency, diabetes and thyroid problems. I had an MRI that showed some disc deterioration and arthritis in my neck. One doctor even suggested I might have multiple sclerosis.
Despite physical therapy and muscle relaxants, my symptoms fluctuated. No one thought to suggest vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) toxicity. I was taking a multivitamin with 150 percent of the RDA for this vitamin.
Finally, I googled my symptoms and thought perhaps I might have too much B6 in my system. A blood test showed I had twice the upper limit of normal. I stopped taking the supplement and within four weeks my symptoms were 95 percent improved! Apparently some people do not process this vitamin the way others do, and it can be dangerous.
Since then, my 23-year-old daughter developed similar symptoms. These were linked to an energy drink that has extra vitamin B6.

A. Your case is quite unusual. Although there are reports of neurological damage from high doses of vitamin B6 (above 100 mg per day), symptoms like yours are not supposed to occur at the dose you were taking. Thank you for alerting us to the possibility that some people may be exceptionally sensitive to vitamin B6 toxicity.

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  1. JJC
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I read this and immediately checked my multiple vitamin. It was giving me 300% of the RDA. I ceased taking the vitamin supplements that day and now, three months later, the tingling has virtually stopped in my feet. There is still some numbness, but I feel it is slowly diminishing, as well. I had switched from One-a-Day Men’s-over-50 about two years ago to their 50-plus-advantage which doubled the B6 RDA. Doctor did not have an answer as to the numbness and tingling, I was experiencing and neither of us suspected a multiple vitamin but I had not mentioned to the doctor that I had switched either.
    The old “more is better” fallacy got me! I suffered for at least 18 months and it was getting worse. Your article was very timely!
    Many, many thanks.

  2. greg
    Reply

    In response to your B-6 article. I had vibrating in my thigh bones and muscles, each time it happened it was like my cell phone was vibrating in my front pants pockets. I went to neurologist, who put me through many tests, and found nothing. He wanted to run another test which would have cost me $1,600.00, so I decided to look on the internet. I found an article which suggest B-6 supplements, I started taking them, and within a couple days the vibrating stopped. Just wanted to let you know.
    Greg

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