After taking 70 times the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6, an Australian man lost his ability to walk.
According to his daughter, Alison Taylor, the 86-year-old was living alone when a blood test revealed he was deficient in vitamin B6, prompting his doctor to prescribe a 50-milligram supplement.
Taylor told ABC radio in Melbourne that her father began to lose feeling in his legs. After losing his ability to walk, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with vitamin B6 toxicity.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the body to absorb nutrients from food and, according to the Mayo Clinic, is necessary for normal brain development as well as the health of the nervous and immune systems. It can be found in seafood, bananas, and potatoes.
However, the daily dose of vitamin B6 for men over 50 is 1.7 milligrams, and his 50-milligram dose, combined with him taking a magnesium supplement containing 50 milligrams of B6, and eating breakfast cereals fortified with B6, resulted in him consuming 70 times the recommended dose.
According to Mount Sinai, vitamin B6 doses greater than 200 milligrams can cause neurological disorders, including loss of feeling in the legs due to nerve damage. “Stopping high doses usually leads to a complete recovery within 6 months,” according to the website, but it’s too soon to tell if that will be the case for the elderly man.
Vitamin B6 toxicity is uncommon because excess B vitamins are generally excreted by the body through urination. However, taking large amounts of the vitamin over time may result in it.
Taylor told ABC that it’s still unclear whether her father will fully recover, but she’s hoping physical therapy will help him move around without relying on his wheelchair as much.
Vitamin overdose can have serious consequences. In July, a man from the United Kingdom was hospitalized for a vitamin D overdose that left him ill for months, causing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dry mouth, ringing in the ears, and leg cramps.
After meeting with a private nutritionist, the man reportedly began taking more than 20 over-the-counter supplements, which is more than 200 times the recommended amount in the United States.