“Doctors give drugs of which they know little, into bodies, of which they know less, for diseases of which they know nothing at all.” - by Voltaire

Are you experiencing problems with your liver or kidneys? Are you experiencing headaches or nerve problems? Unexplained high blood pressure or kidney stones? Memory problems? Unexplained nausea or dermatitis? These are just a few symptoms that “natural” supplements can cause. A myriad of health concerns exist with over-the-counter supplements. Except for three crucial supplements, one should let  “food be thy medicine”. If you are taking licorice, kombucha, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, creatine, whey protein, you are at risk for an ADVERSE health outcome. This is not an exhaustive list, I highlight these supplements as examples of well-known adverse consequences of taking over-the-counter supplements.

As I discussed in my previous blog, vitamin B6 toxicity is an underdiagnosed problem that can lead to catastrophic health consequences if taken in excess. Why are folks going to health food stores and buying megadoses of vitamin B6? The scientific literature shows that vitamin B6 is necessary to prevent immune dysfunction, cognitive decline, and depression. Vitamin B6 has also been associated with lower risk of coronary artery disease and lower risk of potentially fatal myocardial infarction. Low vitamin B6 leads to elevated homocysteine blood levels which can damage arteries. However, one can get adequate levels vitamin B6 through foods. My favorite foods for getting adequate levels of vitamin B6 are whole grains, nuts, seeds, lentils, soybeans, spinach and carrots.  You cannot overdose on vitamin B6 found in whole foods.

If you have vitamin B6 toxicity, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor will need to get vitamin B6 blood levels to see if you are in the toxic range and match it with your clinical symptoms.  I would also recommend having your comprehensive metabolic panel checked to test your kidney and liver function and high sensitivity CRP to check for systemic inflammation.

I will discuss a plan to help heal and detox your body.  Patients who have had vitamin B6 toxicity should follow this plan.  Also, for those who want to detox the body or anyone looking for a great cleanse can incorporate the following into their routine:

1) Stop taking vitamin B6 supplements and any of the potentially toxic supplements previously listed (click on links for details). Those who have nerve issues from vitamin B6 toxicity should take Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)  300-600 mg to help with neuropathy, inflammation, increase blood flow and nerve regeneration.

2) Consume 1 ounce of water per kilogram of body weight to help with detox and keep adequate hydration on a daily basis. Adequate hydration can improve physical performance, kidney function, heart function, cognition, skin, and gastrointestinal health.

3) Increase your consumption of foods that help with natural detoxification and chelation.  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and cabbage enhance the excretion of toxic metals from the body.  Also, eat oat bran, onion, garlic, onion, and cilantro for natural chelation. One of the healthiest dishes to remove toxins from the body is a kitchari cleanse.  You can include chopped broccoli and cilantro for extra detox.

4) Daily aerobic exercise or yoga to mobilize circulation and flush the lymphatic system of toxins. Walking, running, and tai chi are all excellent forms of movement to improve circulation and fitness.  Schedule regular massage therapy or perform a daily self oil massage (also known as abhyanga in ayurveda).

In my next blog we will explore the ancient principles of ayurveda for a deeper and more specific cleanse for your unique mind-body constitution.  We will discover your mind-body type (dosha in ayurveda) and customize specific foods and lifestyle habits to help you attain your natural state: Superior Health.