What is Vitamin B6 Toxicity?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Because of the concern about ingesting enough vitamins and minerals for their daily needs, many people opt to take supplements. Sometimes, this can cause an overdose of certain vitamins and minerals. One such overdose, vitamin B6 toxicity, can result in painful symptoms and bodily harm.

An individual with vitamin B6 toxicity may experience numbness in hands and feet.
An individual with vitamin B6 toxicity may experience numbness in hands and feet.

An overdose of a certain vitamin or mineral is known as a megadose. A megadose of vitamin B6 can occur when a person ingests more than 0.012 ounces (500 milligrams) of the compound. This usually happens when the vitamin taker is using a supplement known as pyridoxine, which may be ordered by a medical professional to treat conditions such as premenstrual symptoms and carpal tunnel.

Fatigue may be a symptom of vitamin B6 toxicity.
Fatigue may be a symptom of vitamin B6 toxicity.

Vitamin B6 toxicity symptoms can range from mildly irritating to harmful. Patients may experience headaches, irritability, or fatigue. Depression can result from more severe damage. In the most severe cases, nerve damage and disorders can also develop, which may result in body imbalance and loss of sensation in the legs.

Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.
Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.

Numbness in hands and feet, poor coordination, loss of sensitivity to touch, and difficulty walking can also result. People who get too much vitamin B6 may lose their sensation to vibration or temperature as well. Usually, this type of symptom occurs after high doses are ingested for a long period of time. In cases this serious, patients may experience fatigue or general tiredness for up to six months.

Headaches are a symptom.
Headaches are a symptom.

In order to receive a diagnosis of vitamin B6 toxicity, a person should consult with a medical professional. Clinical tests will be administered to determine whether or not toxic levels of the vitamin are present. In order to alleviate the problem, the patient will be instructed to stop taking vitamin B6.

If patients have developed severe problems, they may never fully recover. For those who do recover, it is a slow process. To prevent this toxicity from occurring, it is recommended that adults ingest no more than 0.007 ounces (200 milligrams) of the vitamin daily.

Pyridoxine is a water soluble B-vitamin, and it is one of eight different vitamins in the B group. A coenzyme, it serves to help protein and carbohydrates metabolize in the body. It is important in the body's production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and insulin. It is also used in various body processes, including central nervous system function, neurotransmitter functions, energy production, maintaining muscle and nerve cells, and immune system actions, as well as helping to produce DNA.

People with toxic levels of vitamin B6 may exhibit symptoms of irritability and depression.
People with toxic levels of vitamin B6 may exhibit symptoms of irritability and depression.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


I have done research on B6 toxicity. Even though it's water soluble, if a person consumes food high in B6 above the RDA and is not well hydrated, the B6 can't be flushed out. Over time, B6 moves into muscles and then affects nerve cells.


What is a good daily diet that doesn't contain vitamin b6? How do you treat the nerve pain from vitamin b6 toxicity?


I have recently discovered that my B6 intoxication came from products I've used on my scalp for hair loss. So take care with shampoos and ampules for hair loss!


Every body is different. I have been taking one-a-day for men for three months and I am already diagnosed with B6 toxicity. I stopped taking multivitamin and drinking Vitamin Water Zero. This is dangerous. Do not overdose or simply do not take any supplement -- just eat healthy. I am lucky because my neurologist is kick-butt guy. He knows this thing well and asked for the right blood tests immediately. No vitamin supplements from now on.


Don't ever use vitamin b6 supplements unless you have a blood test showing you need it.


What is the treatment for b6 toxicity? Especially for someone who has the MTHFR mutation? Please explain, thanks!


I too was recently diagnosed with high levels of B6. I was not taking a multivitamin. I do not believe this is caused from taking supplements. There is something in our bodies that is going wrong and not eliminating the B6 we are getting through our food. B6 is water soluble, so it should be excreted through our urine. There must be some sort of break down in our systems. Unfortunately, we must do our own homework to find our cure.


Be very careful taking vitamin supplements. Read the label. I have been taking Emergen-C supplement for tow or three years. It has 500 percent of the RDA for B6 vitamin. I was taking two packets per day (because I found that I never got cold or flu when taking it ).

About three or four months ago I developed burning skin, body zaps and tingles, insomnia.


I just got a message from my doctor that my b6 levels are high at 87 and I only take 18 mg a day. Does anyone know what the normal range should be? He is quite conservative but I don't want any problems, either. We are working on getting my thyroid under control so I want to be cautious. Anyone know? Thank you!


After years of taking huge doses of B-complex and B6 alone, I have the following symptoms:

Strange hypersensitivity on skin of arms back and legs;

numb, tingly left hand; weak left thumb with poor grip; weak leg muscles; pins and needles in right and left foot; zaps or electric shocks throughout my body; fatigue, malaise; muscle twitches; difficulty walking from weakened legs.

Be careful. B6 is important, but stick within the recommended daily intake. Anything else should be removed from the store shelves, and should only be available through prescriptions. This stuff can cripple you.


What could cause a high B-6 level if you are only taking half of the daily dose? My daughter-in-law has all the symptoms mentioned here. She has been tested for many things: lyme disease, MS, etc. over the last two years. She has white lesions on her MRI but was told it was not MS. Four months ago, her specialist told her to cut her multi-vitamin in half because her B-6 was high. She has done that but is only getting worse and her B-6 level is still high. Our Grandson would like his Momma back. Any ideas?


I was taking Pure Essence Men's One Daily multivitamin for the past two years. I have been feeling bad for a while now (headaches, shakiness, off balance, recent tingling in my arm, extreme fatigue) and I am only 28. I was told my a representative at the health food store that this bottle of $45 vitamins is top notch and all natural so I have been using it. I never cared to look at the Daily Value percentage and never thought anything of it.

Recently, I went to my primary doctor, who referred me to neurologist, etc. Long story short, after a ton of blood work and MRI tests for MS, and every major disease, they found that my Vitamin B6 levels were very high and she told me I most likely had Vitamin B6 toxicity. My neurologist instructed me to stop taking any multivitamins immediately and carry on with my regular diet. I'm on day one and we will see how this plays out. After looking at the label of the Multivitamin, the percentage DV of almost all of the vitamins was ridiculously high. 1500 percent of the DV is not acceptable, even if they sales reps tell you that "your body doesn't absorb most of it". Don't be fooled, every body is different and your kidneys/liver still have to filter it which can be toxic alone. This is huge, and I've warned all of my friends and family.

Bottom line: I would recommend to anyone, please be careful what you put in your body. If you choose to take a multivitamin or B6 or anything, look at the percentage DV and don't exceed 100 percentage. Good luck to all and I wish all a healthy life.


I was diagnosed with B6 toxicity a year ago after suffering for four years with nerve pain, burning, numbness, stinging, fatigue, headaches, difficulty walking and much more. And I was only taking a flinstone children's vitamin.

My level was 139, and now it is a normal 12. This should be taken with caution. I am in my seventh month of recovery and I still am in much pain. It is a misunderstood condition and very little info out there and some doctors never even heard of it.

Be very careful when you take this vitamin even though it is water soluble, be very careful.


I've been taking a vitamin B6 100 mg pill every day for the past year -- do you think that it could lead to vitamin B6 toxicity? I am not having any symptoms (yet), but after reading this I'm kind of worried that I'm poisoning myself.

Should I stop taking my vitamin until I see a doctor, or do you think that I'll be OK?


Although vitamin B6 toxicity is really dangerous, let me remind you that vitamin B6 deficiency can also be very serious.

Vitamin B6 deficiency side effects include severe dermatitis, cracked lips and skin, an inflamed tongue, and poor coordination.

There are also a number of neurological side effects as well -- people who don't eat enough vitamin B6 foods often end up with the symptoms of depression, as well as insomnia.

So take this article as it is intended -- as a warning for too much B6, not as a warning against B6 altogether.


I'm so glad you wrote this article. So many people take the "more is better" approach with vitamins, which is not only unhealthy -- it can be deadly!

This is especially true with vitamin B6. Though there are tons of vitamin B6 benefits, and it is a crucial vitamin for maintaining health, vitamin B6 toxicity can be extremely dangerous.

As you mentioned, an excess of vitamin B6 includes side effects like tingling and numbness in the extremities. This can even make you lose the ability to walk properly permanently if you continue taking an inappropriate amount.

Additionally, vitamin B6 toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue, shakiness, and staggering.

So don't risk it -- get the appropriate levels of vitamin B6, but don't overdo it.

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