Adequate vitamin B6 levels are absolutely essential for proper neurotransmitter production and function. This is especially true if someone has previously taken a medication or substance that binds irreversibly with B6, such as carbidopa. Thus vitamin B6 supplementation is often needed to address B6 deficiency or insufficiency.
The Need for B6
Many enzymes that are essential in the production, function and degradation of neurotransmitters are B6-dependent, including aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) and histidine decarboxylase. Deficiency of B6 can down-regulate these enzymes, causing a number of effects, including reduced production of key neurotransmitters as well as inducing a profound anti-histamine effect, which can result in dyskinesias.
Many substances have been shown to bind with B6, making it inactive and unavailable for use, including carbidopa. If these substances are not discontinued while concurrently supplying adequate amounts of B6, the symptoms of B6 depletion may seem to be irreversible.
Often times, those that have been on substances that deplete B6 over the course of months or years have significant deficiency that must be corrected. We have found that in some cases 600-1200 mg per day of vitamin B6 is necessary for a period of time to achieve optimization of B6 levels. This is especially true for those that experience dyskinesia.
Many people have questions about B6 toxicity and what dosing is considered toxic. In general, water-soluble vitamins – like B6 – are not associated with significant toxicity. A review of peer-reviewed studies indicates no firm agreement on the duration nor amount of B6 that is associated with toxicity. Therefore, a good guideline seems to be offered by the National Institutes of Health website which states a minimum of 1,000 mg per day for at least one year is the lowest threshold associated with B6 toxicity. If toxicity symptoms develop, research shows that they are reversible and resolve soon after discontinuation of B6.
Taking mega-doses of nutrients should never be done without professional supervision. If you suspect you have a vitamin or other nutritional deficiency, speak with or find a provider that can help you determine the best solution.