My Experience Choosing a Vitamin B6 Supplement
I Have Taken B Complex Tablets for Years
After consulting multiple sources many years ago, I decided that I was a good candidate for B-Complex supplements. Indeed, real or imagined, after I started taking them I felt a sense of well being. I never consulted my physician as I believed I had read enough to make an informed decision.
My understanding was that B vitamins are water soluble, meaning any of the vitamins not used by my body, would be urinated out. To me, this was my fail safe way of knowing I would not be harmed by an excess of these vitamins.
The opposite of water soluble vitamins are fat soluble vitamins.They can accumulate in the body and become toxic. Vitamins A and D fall into this category.
Consult Your Physician or Pharmacist Before Use
You have probably read this on an over the counter medication or supplement. What did you do?
I Purchase Generic Vitamin Brands
I usually go to a pharmacy or the pharmacy department of a discount store and compare labels of the vitamins I am going to purchase. As the generics are substantially less expensive, my method has always been to look at the labels of the name brand vitamins and then find a comparable one in a generic formula.
When purchasing B-Complex there are many B vitamins that make up the formulas. While my goal is to find the best value for my money, this method also means that I am thoroughly reading the makeup of the contents.
I Deviated From My Usual Method of Selecting Vitamins
My partner, Jim, also had his own method of picking vitamins. I am not sure what it was, but I know he had one particular brand he called his "magic formula". It was called B-Complex with Vitamin C and Zinc. He credited it with his outstanding stamina and good health. We would go to a particular supermarket and he would purchase four bottles at a time.
After Jim passed away, I came across 3 unopened bottles of his "magic formula" and figured why waste them. I will just use these instead of purchasing B-Complex for myself.
I never read the labels.
How I Found Out That B-Complex Formula Was Harming Me
I was almost finished with the second bottle of Jim's "magic formula" B-Complex with Vitamin C and Zinc, when I had a medical issue. I was referred to a neurologist who took all sorts of tests, including a complete vitamin profile.
The results of the tests were that everything on me was normal, except I had six times the normal amount of B6.
I asked how that was possible as B vitamins are water soluble. The neurologist explained that all B vitamins are water soluble except B6.
Then, he told me that excessive amounts of B6 can cause nerve damage.
I went home and checked the label on the B-Complex I had been taking and was stunned.
This Is What the Label Said:
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)
To my mind the Vitamins should have been more clearly labeled in to indicate they contained extraordinary amounts of Vitamin B6. Maybe it should have been called Super B6 formula.
I Checked the Labels of Other B-Complex Formulas
After being enlightened by my neurologist, I checked out several other formulas. There were two brands made specifically for women; they contained 2 mg and 5 mg respectively. There was a vitamin formula for seniors with 5 mg. Three B-Complex formulas each contained 5 mg.
I found only one other brand which contained 100 mg of B6.
Do an Internet Search on "Vitamin B6 Side Effects"
I did. I looked at quite a few reputable medical websites. All of which validated what my neurologist said: Excessive Vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.
Things to Consider
- There may be medical conditions which require additional Vitamin B6. If you believe you have one of these conditions, consult your physician as to how much you should take.
- If you do not have a need for extra Vitamin B6, read the labels on vitamin bottle to make sure they contain only a reasonable amount of B6. The ones I was taking had 1000% of the daily requirement. Thinking about it, 1000% seems excessive.
- Thoroughly check vitamin labels before purchasing and using. Just because it is being sold, doesn't mean it is safe.
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Ellen Gregory