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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
Vitamin C
500 mg
20 mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)
5 mg
100 mg
Vitamin B6
20 mg
Folic Acid
400 mcg
Vitamin B12
20 mcg
100 mg
Pantothenic Acid
20 mg
60 mg
46 mg
24 mg
3 mg
While many of these vitamins exceed the daily requirements, only the B6 will be retained by the body. For all others, the body will eliminate the excess.

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.
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