Several months ago I started to see Dementia-like symptoms in my Dad. Dad turned 84 last month. I feel that the symptoms appeared rather suddenly, and then reached a critical point on the day he wasn’t able to set the microwave to make hot water for his tea. Dad has been heating his water in the microwave for years, several times a day. His short term memory was also non-existent. We had also been writing a book together about his life, and he had trouble recalling all the stories from his younger days. His sleep patterns were also very disrupted, we had started to call him a “vampire” since he only came alive at night.
I called his primary care physician, and got him in to see if we could figure out what was going on. An MRI was ordered to make sure there had not been a stroke. The doctor also put him on a dementia medication. However during routine blood work, it was discovered that he had three times the normal level of Vitamin B-6 in his blood. Dad was taking one multi-vitamin and as well as a B-100 Complex per day. I was told that the body stores B-6, and it is being put in many foods we consume. We immediately took him off all vitamins. About a week after he started taking the dementia medication, Dad experienced a gastro-intestinal bleed. I immediately thought it was caused by the new medication (because this was a possible side effect), so we took him off that medication.
Dad has now been three weeks without the dementia medication and 4 weeks without the B-Complex. He is back to his old self. His dementia-like symptoms were actually Vitamin B-6 toxicity. I have to wonder how many families out there are thinking their loved ones have the beginnings of dementia, and are actually suffering from too much B-6. The doctor said the test for B-6 levels is new, and Dad had never been tested for it. Dad’s doctor also said that there are some highly advertised Senior Multivitamins that have excessive levels of B-6. So a word of warning to all the dutiful sons and daughters out there thinking they are doing their parents a favor by making sure that their loved ones take their vitamins. Please read the labels carefully and have your elders tested.
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