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Vitamin B6 protects against depression, anxiety, insomnia, age-related cognitive decline, hypoglycemia, kidney stones, and the morning sickness of pregnancy.

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39 Comments

  1. It has been suggested that antiplatelet therapy used in the primary prevention of CVD might interfere with the effect of homocysteine lowering by B vitamins on CVD risk (38). In this context, a post-hoc subgroup analysis of the multicenter, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled VITATOPS trial (39) proposed that the small benefit of homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins might be cancelled in patients treated with antiplatelet drugs (40). Yet, the benefit of B-vitamin supplementation in primary prevention (i.e., in non-antiplatelet users) remains to be established.

  2. my wife has suffered with peripheral neuropathy for years- she recently had a series of blood tests and found that her plasma b-6 levels very elevated (64.5ng.ml). well above normal levels. She does not take any b complex supplements . All her doctors are baffled and I can not find any information on how to reduce b6 levels (other than suspend b complex supplements). Anybody have any suggestions ?

    PS- her plasma mercury level was also high (38mcg/ml) also well above normal levels

    1. My wife also has a very high plasma B6 level. She did take a B6 supplement (containing pyridoxine) for a while, but stopped about 2 years ago now, and her plasma B6 has not declined at all since then. She does have the MTHFR gene, so maybe that is part of this. She still has some peripheal neuropathy, but it’s not as bad as it was a couple years ago. I have been researching what she could do (if anything?) to get her plasma B6 level down (and get rid of the neuropathy), and I did find a couple of recent published studies which suggest that the problem is that B6 is not being transferred from blood to the tissues, where the cells can use it (it is instead just backing up in the blood), so neuropathy might actually be a resulto of a deficiency of B6, despite the high plasma B6 result. The authors of one study suggest that taking a very low dose of P5P might actually help, as P5P is more directly absorbed into tissue cells, as it does not need to be converted from pyridoxine to P5P. So, she is going to try a very low does P5P supplement for a while (5 mg), to see if that helps at all. I can post the link to the study I mentioned if you are interested.

      1. Hello – I am very interested to read this study you’ve written about. I ran an amino acids test and it suggested that I could benefit from more b6 even though I too, have been diagnosed with high plasma B6 (65, range 2-21). As of now it’s been established in my medical support group that I have B6 toxicity, but I did test positive for the MTFHR gene C667 which I’ve heard exactly how you’ve discussed: that this can disallow the B6 to metabolize properly.

    2. Is her alkaline phosphatase (on a comprehensive metabolic panel) low? I have had elevated B6 from low alkaline phosphatase before.

      1. Hi, can you elaborate more about high ALP (alkaline phosphate) and your experience as how it to relates to B6? I heard of this but would love to know more about what you leaned through your experience. Did you need to supplement ALP? Did it then bring down plasma B6? What type of doctor helped with this? Thanks…

        1. Old thread, but for others reading….

          I think David meant /low/ ALP… The body needs to dephosphorylate B6 via alka phos so it can move into the cells. Without adequate alka phos, B6 tends to pool up in the blood a bit and go underutilized, meaning your serum levels would test elevated. The extreme version of this is called hypophosphatasia, but like many genetically-based phenomena, it could theoretically manifest on a spectrum — IOW, producing a subclinical version mildly reducing your B6 utilization.

          I’ve suspected this might be the case for me, because a) my organic acids tests consistently show modestly elevated xanthurenate (and the others to some degree), even while supplementing B6 (and high serum values), b) my alka phos tends to run toward the bottom of the range (but within it), and c) I’m homozygous on a fairly rare SNP that a study found impacts alka phos levels.

          It doesn’t look like you can supplement ALP. I suggest doing your own research on how to raise your own levels, but factors these links below suggest (not sure how evidenced some of these are) include your body’s status of B12, VitA, and zinc; “fats and oils” (this one came from a study; cod liver oil did the best, suggested to be the DHA/EPA content); and “eating more phosphorus” (which seems pretty ubiquitous, but I’m wondering if my new phosphatidylcholine supplementation counts?).
          https://www.livestrong.com/article/274487-what-foods-raise-alkaline-phosphatase-levels/
          https://health.onehowto.com/article/how-to-increase-alkaline-phosphatase-11707.html

          Good zinc and VitA status didn’t help mine ten years ago, but somehow my levels have improved since then… maybe it was less stress or better diet.

          Re: a doctor… a naturopath would probably be helpful, or a nutritionist. Most MD’s wouldn’t. I’d be interested to hear Chris’ ideas? ALP is on a basic blood panel, and you can get this without a doctor through many online storefronts. You can experiment with things and see if something works.

  3. Hi. I have high inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis and severe Pyroluria on testing. I fit the symptoms like a glove from teenage years. I get on OK with zinc but find even tiny doses of B6 or P5P cause irritation/wound up/tense/insomnia instead of the promised tranquil calm! Am left wondering why this may be? Could B6 be converting down alternate pathways due to inflammation? Thanks,

  4. I’ve been having a lot of issues and I’ve seen many doctors over this for the past 2 months. Body twitching all over, tingling, burning, numbness, feels like I’ve been hit by a bus with muscle and joint pain. Four MRIs done, EMG, neurologist and so on and everything keeps coming back benign. I’ve had many blood tests done and they all come back normal (accept low and vitamin D) as always however my B12 and B6 are on the lower range however the doctors mark that as all normal as well. With my B6 being a 9.2 plasma range with 2 being the lowest, could that still cause a B6 problem because it’s still far away from the highest normal range of 32.8 and I do take extra B12, B6, D and a multi vitamins. This is all so frustrating.

    1. Dana,

      I’m not a doctor, but a patient with some experience, and if I were you I’d avoid B6 for now, but work on getting your b12 up. Google ‘functional B12 deficiency’ for more info.

      Also, not sure if your doc has run an MMA test, but that will show if you have a functional deficiency in B12, despite your numbers being within range. They really should be high-ish.

      That just might be ‘the’ answer. B12 deficiency can cause ALL of your symptoms, while B6 deficiency can cause some of them, but b6 can also be toxic even in small doses. Hence get the B12 up, then consider b6.

      One last thing. You might consider having an organic acids test run. That can give you lots of answers, including if you have elevated ammonia levels, which can cause some of the similar symptoms, especially the twitching. It could mean you’re breaking down your own muscle for ‘fuel’.

    2. Dana – with neuropathy type symptoms as you mentioned, you should be running more blood tests with your neurologist. There are about 80 or so causes for peripheral neuropathy. Obviously some are most common, diabetic neuropathy being one of them, and b12 deficiency another, but there are all kinds of other possibilities here. Your B6 is fine. I wouldn’t worry about that. Test heavy metals, could be copper toxicity, test vitamin B2, could be thiamine deficiency. Could be mercury as well. ALL of these can cause peripheral neuropathy. This is a frustrating situation to be in. Here is master list, you’ll see pyridoxine in there, which is vitamin B6

      https://neuromuscular.wustl.edu/nother/toxic.htm

    3. Dana – to add to below. The best screener for B-12 deficiency is Methylmalonic Acid. Please get this blood test done. An elevated high level MMA will alert your support team if you need more B-12 in your system or not. It sounds like you do. I would also suggest the micronutrients intracellular test by SpectraCell in which they look inside the white cells (Lymphocytes) to examine true functional level of many vitamins minerals amino acids etc. . This was very valuable to me as it began to point to a trend in which I am nor absorbing vitamins nutrients well, or the MTHFR homogeneous copies I have is hindering the methylfolate process. All in all, this leaves me deficient in several vitamins and minerals which all together contribute to a tremendous amount of pain and dysfunction.

  5. I recently had a range of bloods done, I had to fast 12 hrs prior to testing, and did. I do not take any b6 sup or eat a large amount of breakfast cereals or ever consume energy drinks. But I had an abnormally high level of b6 recorded in my results.
    I asked my gp what it meant, or could mean to me, and any known causes.
    The response was
    I just found a list of foods high in b6 used to treat deficiency. I’ll print it out. And you try not to eat them from now on. This was the list….
    Pork, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and oatmeals, brown rice, breads, eggs, poultry, milk, soya beans, fish , potatoes, wheat germ…. 🤔
    I was quite confused.

    Strict Chocolate diet maybe 😁

    P.s. I am 32, F , my BMI is 19.5. The tests were done a year ago, and I have recently had severe shortness of breath and wheezing of a night, probably occurring once a week-ish.
    Could it be related to, or a symptom caused by that high b6 maybe??

    Hali

    1. Ask more questions: what co-factors do you need to metabolize B6? Have you been taking high doses because if you have not been supplementing it, avoiding B6 in foods will not help you lower it since your high level comes from an inability to utilize it. Your goal then is to figure out, what you might need to use it correctly. If you have been taking it, then of course stop.

    2. I don’t know what it means, but you definitely don’t need to take out foods if foods have been your only source of B6. Most “normal” ranges are of dubious value in a case like this. If you’ve been supplementing more than 100 mg, you should stop. But if you’re just eating food there’s no way you have B6 toxicity.

  6. Please research MTHFR. Approx. 50 percent of the population can struggle with folate issues. I developed b6 toxicity after weeks of supplementation of 25 mg day. My b6 values exceeded the normal values by mere points. It’s been a month without supplementation and the neuropathy remains.

      1. Hi Chris – thanks for ALL your help here. Question for you: I’ve been diagnosed with B6 toxicity with 65 reading (2-21 range), Stopped a multi that had 25 mg and drinking any vitamin zeros, etc. All the symptoms, burning, weakness, insomnia and a skin punch biopsy showing small fiber neuropathy.

        I then met with a naturopath, she ran the Genova Nutreval Amino Acids test and through it’s algorithms, it is suggesting that I supplement with B6. (And b12 as well, which I have high normal plasma with normal MMA).

        I was quite appalled as I haven’t been given an explanation. I did test positive for the MTHFR gene C667 as well. But I have a hard time finding any legitimacy with that gene issue – if have the people have it then what makes it so significant. If it was so significant then it would’ve made it’s way to standard western medicine by now as a MAJOR concern.

        How could an amino acids test, with amino acids being so impacted by B6 tell me I need more?

        Could this be because —> with B6 you need to be right in the normal range, not too high and not too low otherwise you get neuropathy symptoms. Does this mean that perhaps it affects amino acids on both sides of the spectrum? Low B6 and high B6 both affect amino acids the same way?

        Thanks for your advice here, Chris.

        Best,

        Dino

  7. Chris, can you comment on pyroluia, which is a condition wherein someone keeps losing B6 and zinc and needs to supplement daily (also manganese and evening primrose oil, among other things)?

    I’ve never had the urine test (which tests are often not reliable as re. pyroluria) but I have 75% of the symptoms and taking B6 and zinc has absolutely helped.

    BTW, standard info from many pyrolurics is that the normal B6 may cause nerve issues in the hands and/ or feet in high doses (which goes away when you stop that B6); when you switch to the P5P version this issue goes away.

    I’m basing my info on the following healers, who recognize and treat pyroluria:

    -Trudy Scott: http://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/pyroluria-questionnaire-from-the-antianxiety-food-solution/

    -Joan Mathews Larson: http://www.joanmathewslarson.com/HRC_2006/Depression_06/D_Hide_In_Closet.htm#pyroluria (For example, Dr.Larson finds that many alcoholics are pyroluric, and treating that issue, is critical to a successful outcome).

    -Julia Ross: The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure

    -Dr. William Walsh in his book “Nutrient Power” and https://www.walshinstitute.org

    Dr. William Walsh studied with the famous Dr. Carl Pfeiffer at his clinic in Princeton, who, I believe, also recognized this condition.

    I would LOVE your perspective on pyroluria and whether it is, in fact genetic and how to diagnose and treat it.

    Why does pyroluria exist? Why is it these two vitamins, in tandem, which go awry in the system? Is it our modern diet? Genetic? From a bad gut?

    Laura

  8. Chris, my questions also relates to B6 toxicity. I’m a medical student and on one occasion during my neurology rotation I remember a patient’s B6 level coming back abnormally high and the patient promptly being told to stop taking any supplements containing B6. However, the patient wasn’t even aware that he was taking anything with B6 and, while I didn’t get a lot of details, I don’t think his diet was stellar either. So, my question is this: Is there anything that besides excessive B6 intake that can cause a falsely elevated plasma B6 level?

      1. I just went to a neurologist for tingling across much of my body that has developed over decades. The blood tests have revealed B6 50% over the upper limit. After reading the literature, I feel it has to be a mistake and will ask for a retest. I have not taken a vitamin in over 2 years and never took anything beyond a standard Centrum. But, I have most of the symptoms of B6 toxicity and have had them for much of my life. I’m 54 and have been experiencing the numbness progressively for more than 20 years. Among the things I have are gout and Von Willebrand’s. In reading the literature I have also noted I have two habits that could lead to low B6, not high. I drink about 2 gallons of fluid a day and I have taken ibuprofen every day for decades.

        Have you heard of a natural cause for high B6 since your reply above?

        1. Do you eat breakfast cereal? Some breakfast cereals are fortified with Vitamin B6, and lots of other things as well (iron, etc). You might want to eliminate all highly-processed foods (anything made from wheat flour, for example), to see if that helps. I assume you’ve had your B12 status checked, and it is okay? Vit. B12 deficiency can cause neuropathy also, somewhat similar to an excess of B6.

          1. I do not eat breakfast cereal. I do eat a fair amount of chicken, but, by my estimation, I’m thinking my natural intake is about 3 mg per day.

            My B12 was on the low side, but not in a definitive way – 372 pg/ml. My B6 was 34.7 ng/ml – well above the 21.7 ng/ml that the test said should be the max despite not taking a supplement in years.

            Since my previous message, the many tests have eliminated major culprits (like MS) for my all-over paresthesia and other issues (past carpal tunnel, urnal now acting up, various vagal issues, fuzziness, memory issues, etc.) while simultaneously verifying that I have what they termed as “mild sensory nerve degeneration” (shown by EMG). So, I’m left in a position of having the result verified without knowing for sure what the cause is. The neurologist did not wholly rule out the B6 levels as an issue (he uses the limit of 35 pg/ml), but felt it to be highly unlikely. He basically indicated that because the case is mild, we’re done.

            Since I’m not a rich person, I’m now at the point of trying to figure this out for myself. I don’t feel the problems minor and have no desire to give up and just continue degenerating.

      2. Dysbiosis is a possible cause? Certain bacteria, fungi and protozoa (including the malaria parasite) synthesize B6. It is known that people with bacterial overgrowth in the intestine can have high levels of B12.

        1. Rhett, b12 levels under 400 can cause neuro symptoms like you’re describing.

          I would recommend a b12 supplement.

  9. I’m one of those who easily gets toxicity from B6 in supplements in either form, and it was the same for my father. We both get tingling in the nerve that runs from the shoulder down to the fingers. I manage it by mixing up my own B from powders and taking a very low dose of B6, just enough to prevent deficiency if I don’t eat well. I would be very interested in reading about the issues involved in using B6, since I suspect my toxicity, and my father’s, developed from the same metabolic snp or co-factor issue, as neither of us took high doses.

    1. Janis – here is the link to the Facebook forum on Vitamin B6 toxicity. Keep in mind that a lot of what you read on forums like this is anecdotal, and may not be based on the latest science. But I do know for a fact that my wife experienced Vit. B6 toxicity from the B complex supplements she was taking, which contained a dosage of B6 that was supposed to be “safe” for everyone. And we did get some useful information from this forum.

      https://www.facebook.com/VitaminB6Toxicity/

    2. Janis – there is a Facebook forum on B6 toxicity, here:
      https://www.facebook.com/VitaminB6Toxicity/
      Keep in mind that a lot of the stuff you read on forums like this is anecdotal, and not necessarily based on scientific studies. However, I know that Vitamin B6 toxicity is real, based on my wife’s experience with it. And I know that she developed the toxicity as a result of taking a B complex supplement, which contained only 50 mg. of B6……….supposedly a “safe” level, based on everything that we had read. A couple months after she stopped taking the B complex supplement, her symptoms were mostly gone (thankfully). Rob

    3. I believe it is the orthomolecular doctors who are aware (and have been for decades) that the activated form of B6 – that is P5P or PLP – will react better for some people; it is known to not create the neuropathy that B6 does. (For example, perhaps Dr. William Walsh or Dr. Woody McGinnis have published data about this? Perhaps there is data at the orthomolecular physicians’ website: http://orthomolecular.org/ ?)

      Here is another factor which needs research and investigation: how, exactly, is the B6 in vitamins being created / manufactured? That is, can the product itself be toxic to begin with (depending upon the dose), or is the means of production / additives causing the trouble?

      First: at some point in recent history, the US vitamin industry switched from one form of B6 to another (due to pressure from Big Pharma, which forced the FDA’s hand). I don’t know the exact B6 names but, given this fact, has anyone researched to determine if this newer form of B6 is causing problems?

      Second: (there will be a B vitamin tie-in) in researching the toxicity of MSG (more correctly called ‘processed free gluatamic acid’), I discovered that MSG is created in labs: fermenting genetically modified (GM) bacteria which are, themselves, fed upon a medium of sugar beets, 95% of which are GM and Round-Up Ready (if grown in the US, Monsanto holds the corner on US sugar beet production).

      It is unknown if sugar beet seeds are also routinely neonicotinoid-coated, as is now the norm for, not only, Big Ag seeds like corn, soy and sunflower, but, as well, for all those (non-organic) annuals and perennial plants we all buy. Neonics, a neuro-toxic pesticide, are implicated in honey bee colony collapse disorder.

      So, with MSG, we have a highly neuro-toxic, cancer-causing chemical – to begin with – now being produced with GM bacteria (!!), fermented upon a Round-Up – poisoned, GM sugar beet medium!!

      It is well-known among home fermenters that the process of fermentation boosts the availability and amount of nutrients therein.

      So, is the food industry boosting the inherent toxicity of MSG by HOW it is being manufactured: genetic modification of the bacteria themselves, and genetic modification of the very food they eat, that food made toxic with glyphosate/Round-Up, and this all being produced and magnified through a fermentation process?

      Yikes.

      Would you knowingly eat a food product with THAT slurry in it?

      Ingesting this hidden MSG three times a day at meals in processed foods, what does that do to one’s gut bacteria, the microbiome? The gut-brain connection?

      It is well-known that MSG itself is toxic. But, nobody knows the toxic effect of these MSG manufacturing processes upon a human body! …because nobody is even aware of those processes! (Truth in Labeling is: see the incredible work of Jack and Adrienne Samuels at http://www.truthinlabeling.org/ )

      Now… the tie-in to the B vitamins.

      How are the B’s/B6 being manufactured? Are they using GM bacteria, as with MSG production? Are those bacteria being fed GM, Round-Up Ready food, so a toxic, systemic pesticide is in the fermentation mix? Any neonics in this picture? What devilish things would this combination do to a human body and its biome?

      I know from my research into MSG/processed free glutamic acid, that products like nutritional yeast (known for its high B vitamin content and beloved of vegetarians and vegans) are highly chemically-processed and full of processed free glutamic acid; most nutritional yeast flakes’ brands get most of their B vitamin content from B vitamins added in AFTER the yeast has been fermented!

      I stopped using nutritional yeast flakes as a source of B vitamins in my diet after researching exacting HOW it is manufactured and that it contains hidden MSG.

      I might do the same thing with B vitamins, if somebody finds out that B vitamin production has gone the same way as MSG production.

      I pose one obvious question: could B vitamin production – as with MSG and nutritional yeast production – be leaving behind residues of hidden processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in the final product?

      Given the triple whammy toxicity of manufactured MSG in processed food products (now effectively hidden in most processed foods through the use of 50+ different ingredient names on resulting , spanking ‘clean labels’), it would be interesting if someone could research this issue and let us know if the product itself, B6 (and all B vitamins)– and the means used to create them – are what’s, in fact, causing major trouble in a human body.

      Finally: there is the wild card of the source of the B6. Is it being produced in China, for example, and being granted “organic” and/or “GMO-Free” status by one or another nefarious “certifying agents” at the US border (e.g., “QAI”, who are they, exactly, and who oversees all these “certifying agents” which have been allowed to grant USDA / NOSB organic status to thousands of products grown/produced OUTSIDE US borders)? Organic and/or GMO-Free status that is granted when, in fact, it is likely full of invisible heavy metals, which that very “organic,” or “GMO-Free” clean label keeps effectively hidden from the consumer?

      What’s REALLY in that B6 /B vitamin produced in China and what effect has that chemical mixture upon a human body, especially if taken every single day in a vitamin pill?

      Finally: when did the US start sourcing its B vitamins from China? Does that correlate with people beginning to have issues with B6 or B vitamins?

      If someone with the credentials like Chris Masterjohn finds out the real story behind B vitamin production – and they are shown to be toxic – how do we humans get enough daily B vitamins through our food and, more importantly, through a healthy gut (which bacteria should be producing B vitamins continually?)

      Laura

      1. To add weight to my concerns about the PRODUCTION of B6/Bs as being a causative factor in bad reactions to B’s and B6, please read this article at “GreenMedInfo.’ It is about the dangers of synthetic, genetically-engineered insulin, produced from genetically modified yeast. According to this article, synthetic insulin is now the ONLY type of insulin available in the US; insulin produced from pig pancreas-derived forms is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

        (The article does not discuss the medium used to grow the GM yeast; unknown if it is, itself, GM, and Round-Up Ready.)

        The article states:

        “…synthetic insulin produced through genetically modified organisms accelerates disease progression in type 2 diabetics…”
        http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/research-insulin-kills-diabetics-natural-substances-heal-them-1

        The pharma AND food industries (e.g., MSG, nutritional yeast) appear to now have an industry standard of using genetically-modified yeast for large-scale, industrial production; we know from production of MSG that the medium used to feed these GM yeasts is itself GM and Round-Up Ready (US sugar beets).

        Has the vitamin industry followed suit? Are we simply ignorant of these facts?

        Is the US vitamin industry owned, in large part, by the pharma / biotech industry, which is using its industrial pharmaceutical fermenting techniques (e.g., synthetic, GM insulin) to create vitamins like the Bs?

        Is ANYBODY researching and testing the effects of GM yeast – which is being fermented upon GM mediums which may be Round-Up Ready – upon human beings …who take vitamins?

        1. I’m sorry but I don’t have time to read outside articles. I try to respond to all short, specific questions.

          1. Hi Chris,
            What brand of nutritional yeast do you recommend?

            I was tested for food sensitivities about 3 years ago and brewer’s yeast and bakers yeast showed up as highly sensitive. Are these the same as nutritional yeast?

            Thanks.

  10. Chris – some people seem to be unusually sensitive to taking in too much Vitamin B6. My wife has pernicious anemia, and she was taking a Vit. B complex supplement, in addition to her regular B-12 injections. The Vit. B complex supplement she was taking has just 50 mg. per capsule (and she took only one capsule daily), so we thought that would be safe. After a couple months of taking this supplement, she started having odd symptoms (neurological), that were eventually determined to be from Vitamin B6 toxicity. This was confirmed by a blood test for Vitamin B6. I later found out that there is an internet forum devoted to people with B6 toxicity, as a result of taking Vitamin B complex supplements. So………be careful with B6. Even doses as low as 50 mg. daily can cause serious problems for some people.

    1. I would always recommend titrating up slowly, and I think B12 deficiency might be complicating things here. For example, there are case reports of folate supplements precipitating neurological problems in B12-deficient patients.

      1. What are all the nutrients needed to be in adequate supply to utilize / metabolize B6 properly?
        I got test results back showing my cells needed B6, folate, and B12 (thru Spectracell) but my serum levels of all three were elevated. I think the Doctor is nuts to have me take more until we figure out where the backlog is in the metabolic cycle. My serum Mg was also normal. Only t3 and DHT showed up low.
        Perhaps a toxin or toxicant interfers with this pathway?

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