VITAMIN B6 AND BIRTH DEFECTS
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6), a letter in the Lancet (1:636) suggests, may be like Thalidomide in its ability to cause human birth defects. The letter reports the birth of a child with nearly total absence of the right lower leg, the type of defect seen so often in babies whose mothers, during pregnancy, had taken Thalidomide.
By itself, this report would not be sufficient to incriminate pyridoxine as the cause of birth defects (it could have been a coincidence), but viewed in the context of pyridoxine’s other known side effects, it looks highly suspicious. Given repeatedly in large enough doses, both Thalidomide and pyridoxine, it has been found, cause almost the same type of nerve damage in the limbs, with numbness and tingling in the “stocking and glove” areas, progressing to weakness and instability in walking.
This suggests that pyridoxine and Thalidomide share a common toxic effect on human tissue, and that this is also capable of producing birth defects. Although there is no proof of this, it would be prudent to avoid the current fad of taking supplemental pyridoxine.
The woman whose baby was deformed, incidentally, had been taking one 50 mg tablet of pyridoxine every day.
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