A man was told to take high-dose B vitamins after blood tests showed he was deficient. Then he lost his ability to walk.

An elderly man in Australia lost the ability to walk after taking too many vitamin B6 supplements. Crystal Cox/Business Insider
A man in Australia lost his ability to walk after taking too many vitamin B6 supplements.
The man had taken 70 times the recommended dose, according to ABC Radio Melbourne.
Vitamin B6 toxicity is rare. Some patients who experience toxicity can regain the ability to walk if they stop taking the supplements according to Mount Sinai.
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When it comes to vitamins, more does not necessarily mean better.
A man in Australia lost his ability to walk after consuming 70 times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6, ABC Radio Melbourne reported.
The 86-year-old man was previously active and living independently, his daughter Alison Taylor told ABC radio, until a blood test revealed he was mildly deficient in vitamin B6.
Taylor said her father had no symptoms of ill health, but that his doctor prescribed him a 50-milligram vitamin B6 supplement to increase his levels. Vitamin B6, like other B vitamins, helps the body convert food into energy by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins. Research suggests it may support the body's immune system and certain brain functions.
But 50 milligrams is much higher than the standard recommended dose in both Australia and the US, which is 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B6 per day for men over 50. In fact, most people should get enough B6 by eating standard foods like chicken, potatoes, or even spaghetti sauce.
The new, high-dose multivitamin wasn't the only B6 in the man's diet: He was also taking a magnesium supplement containing B6 and eating breakfast cereals fortified with B6.
Within months he lost feeling in his legs and eventually went to the hospital after being unable to walk, Taylor told ABC radio.
“Twelve months ago he was driving. He's in aged care now and in a wheelchair," said Taylor, who didn't share her father's name.
More and more people are taking dangerous amounts of dietary supplements
As the wellness industry expands and demand for supplements increases, more and more Americans are getting sick from taking too many. The number of calls to poison control centers about children who have taken too much melatonin has increased by 530% in the last ten years. Preventive care experts say vitamin A supplements do more harm than good, as taking too many can lead to bone pain and hair loss.
According to Harvard, most Americans are not deficient in vitamin B6 thanks to the naturally occurring B6 found in a variety of common foods.
Certain medical conditions, like alcohol addiction and autoimmune disorders, can make people more susceptible to vitamin B6 deficiency, Insider previously reported. A deficiency in the vitamin can cause inflamed skin, a weakened immune system, and depression.
Nerve damage from an overdose of vitamin B6 is rare, according to the American Academy of Neurology, because the water-soluble nutrient is typically whipped out when ingested in excess.
Mount Sinai states that doses of vitamin B6 that exceed 200 milligrams can cause loss of sensation in the legs due to peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage. Some patients can regain the ability to walk when they stop taking the Mount Sinai supplements.
Taylor told ABC Radio she's no longer sure her father will make a full recovery, but she hopes physical therapy will help him become less confined to his wheelchair.
Read the original article on Insider

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