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.