What is Vitamin B?
The Vitamin B Complex consist of 8 B vitamins and 4 additional vitamins. It consists of :
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
- Biotin (Vitamin B7)
- Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
- Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Other B vitamins include:
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B4)
- Inositol (Vitamin B8)
- Para Amino Benzoic acid (Vitamin B10)
- Choline (Vitamin B11)
The main function of these vitamins is to ensure that the body obtains the energy from the food that is being eaten and aid in the formation of red blood cells [1, 2]. The lack of vitamin B in the body leads to deficiencies in the form of pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia and peripheral neuropathies .
The main source of these vitamins is the diet. Doctors advise eating a balance diet to ensure an adequate amount of these vitamins. Food that are rich in B vitamins include green leafy vegetables, lean meats, organ meats and legumes. Individuals who have poor food intake are not able to reach the recommended level of these vitamins . In this cases, a vitamin supplement is advised to prevent the complications of vitamin deficiency. Physicians must be consulted before taking any supplements to ensure that it is appropriate for the need of the patient [1, 3].
Vitamin B Overdose Levels
Every vitamin has a recommended intake level and the recommended intake level of the most common B vitamin is listed in the table below. Also listed are the toxic level in which these vitamins can cause harm to the body .
|Age Group||Vitamin B1||Vitamin B2||Vitamin B3||Vitamin B6||Vitamin B9||Vitamin B12|
|Infants below 6 moths||0.2 mg||0.2 mg||2 mg||0.1 mg||65 mcg||0.2 mcg|
|Infants 6 to 12 months||0.3 mg||0.4 mg||4 mg||0.4 mg||80 mcg||0.4 mcg|
|Children 1 to 3 years||0.5 mg||0.5 mg||6 mg||0.5 mg||150 mcg||0.5 mcg|
|Children 3 to 8 years||0.6 mg||0.6 mg||8 mg||0.6 mg||200 mcg||0.7 mcg|
|9-13 years old||0.9 mg||0.9 mg||12 mg||1 mg||300 mcg||2 mcg|
|Above 14 years old and Adults (men and women)||1.2 mg||1.3 mg||14 mg||1.3 mg||400 mcg||2.4 mcg|
|Pregnant and Lactating Mothers||1.4 mg||1.6mg||18 mg||2 mg||600 mcg||2.8 mcg|
|Therapeutic Range||50 mg to 1,000 mg||50 mg to 500 mg||100 mg to 2,000 mg||100 mg to 2,000 mg||400 mcg to 20,000 mcg||100 mcg to 10,000 mcg|
|Over dosage Level or Tolerable Limit||Above 1,000 mg||Above 500 mg||10 mg to 35 mg||30 mg to 100 mg||400 mcg to 1,000 mcg||Above 10,000 mcg|
Signs and Symptoms
Vitamin B is an example of water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are not stored by the body and any excess amount is being excreted in the urine. This decreases the likelihood of an overdose in Vitamin B. Increased amount of Vitamin B in the body causes increases the solute concentration of the blood.
The body will attempt to compensate by shifting the fluid from inside the cells into the intravascular system in order to lower the concentration. The fluid shift will cause symptoms such as increased occurrence of thirst, flushing of the skin, abdominal pain, dizziness, redness of the skin, excessive urination and diarrhea [1, 4].
The aforementioned symptoms are the general symptoms that may be experienced with an overdose in Vitamin B. Toxic levels of specific vitamin B may produce unique symptoms due to their unique effect in the body. Some of these vitamins and their overdose symptoms are listed below .
- Skin rashes
- Allergic reactions
- Heart palpitations
- Dark-Yellowish urine
- Skin rash
- Joint pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness on the extremities
- Tingling sensation
- Muscle cramps
- Mood swings
- Anorexia or decrease in appetite
- Unilateral tingling sensation
- Panic Attacks
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause and possible risk factors for vitamin B overdose is as follows [3, 4]:
The primary cause of Vitamin B overdose is an excessive intake of the B vitamins as a result of taking too much supplements that contain this vitamin. Physicians prescribe the right amount of B vitamins to be taken according to the age and the unique needs of the patient . Normal individuals do not usually need supplements because B vitamins are readily available from food sources [3, 4].
The Vitamin B complex is excreted from the body through urine. Chronic renal failure may result in over dosage in people taking vitamin B supplements in large amounts because of the inability of the kidneys to adequately form urine and release toxins in the body. Any medications taken by individuals with this condition should be consulted with the physician to avoid any complication [3, 4].
Diagnosis begins with a complete medical history to assess any intake of Vitamin B pills. The time when the symptoms started will be noted by the physician as well. The presence of any underlying diseases requiring Vitamin B supplementation such as pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia or peripheral neuropathies will be determined by the physician. The confirmatory test for an overdose in vitamin B is the serum analysis to identify the level of Vitamin B in the blood .
Treatment and Management
If an individual manifests signs and symptoms of vitamin B overdose, they should be brought to the hospital immediately in order to receive medical attention .
Emergency Department Care
Once the patient arrives in the hospital, the main priority is to stabilize the airway, breathing an circulation of the patient. Oxygen support may be given to the patient if it is needed. An intravenous line will be initiated for the administration of medication .
The emergency measure for ingestion of large amounts of Vitamin B is to induce vomiting as soon as possible to prevent the movement into the intestines and prevent absorption. Vomiting is induced using medications. Alternatives include warm water mixed with high amounts of sugar .
Increase Fluid Intake
Vitamin B is water soluble and the excess amount is eliminated in the urine. Patients should take high amounts of fluids in a relative short period of time to enhance the elimination of vitamins out of the body. Intravenous fluids may also be given to increase circulating blood volume and increase the glomerular filtration rate. This rate of blood flow to the kidneys and is related to the production of urine .
Activated Charcoal Administration
Activated charcoal functions as a medium where the excessive toxins will adhere. Activated charcoal adsorbs (particles attach to the surface of the charcoal) the toxins to prevent absorption in the intestines. Since the B vitamins are already attached to the charcoal, it is then eliminated through the stool. Sometimes, a gastric lavage is done to evacuate the activated charcoal with the toxins from the stomach. The airway of the patient must be protected through the administration to prevent the occurrence of aspiration .
Gastric lavage involves the instillation of normal saline solution through a tube from the nose going to the stomach. The fluid washes off the surface of the gastric mucosa. The fluid is then aspirated again and another instillation is made to make sure that the stomach is clear with the toxins.
Ingesting excessive amount of Vitamin B can be very dangerous and so taking food supplements must be consulted with the physician first. To know more about this you can read about niacin, biotin or folic acid overdose.
- Medline Plus. (2015, April 2). B Vitamins. Retrieved from Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/bvitamins.html
- Web MD. (2016). Vitamin B Complex. Retrieved from Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3387/vitamins-b-complex-oral/details/list-conditions
- com. (2016, October 1). Vitamin B Complex. Retrieved from Drugs.com: https://www.drugs.com/cdi/triveen-cf-nac.html
- Heitz, D. (2016, June 1). The Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency. Retrieved from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-of-vitamin-b-deficiency#Overview1
- Wolfenden, E. (2015, April 16). How Much Vitamin B Complex Should a Person Take in a Day? Retrieved from Live Strong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/483285-how-much-vitamin-b-complex-should-a-person-take-in-a-day/
- Rosenbloom, M. (2015, December 5). Vitamin Toxicity Treatment & Management. Retrieved from Medscape: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/819426-treatment#d1
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