Small Fiber Polyneuropathy attacks sensory, autonomic and motor nerves. The attack on the autonomic nerves means that the nerves that send signals to the brain concerning the level of blood in your veins are also under attack. The brain is not receiving the right signal about the volume of blood in your veins. A person with normal blood volume has about five liters of blood in their body. Those with SFPN with autonomic issues caused by vitamin B6 toxicity have less blood. This is called low blood volume. The symptoms of low blood volume are brain fog, lightheadedness, headache, dizziness, high pulse and low blood pressure.
Vasodilation is the expansion of blood vessels to let more blood flow through the veins. If you already have low blood volume then expanding the blood vessels makes it harder for blood to circulate throughout the body. You have less blood going through a bigger container. Vasodilators create the bigger container.
The Understanding B6 Toxicity Facebook Group figured out in our second year that vasodilators make our symptoms worse. We knew most of us had problems with magnesium. We also realized that the ladies had problems right before and slightly after their cycles. Estrogen and progesterone are also vasodilators. Alcohol, hot peppers and very hot baths/long showers are some more common vasodilators. The list of vasodilators grew to this partial list. If you experience low blood volume symptoms based on something you just took then look at the list. If you don’t find it on the list then Google the name of the substance you took and the word vasodilator.
As a general rule of thumb, vasodilators are medications, vitamins, minerals, supplements that
- Suggest they will improve your neuropathy.
- Suggest they are heart healthy.
- Suggest they will relax you.
It is important to remember that because of our low blood volume, we are the complete opposite of a person with normal blood volume. We are the only entity that has figured out the link between low blood volume and vasodilators. It is up to you to be proactive with your doctors. If a doctor puts you on a medication that is an obvious vasodilator, you need to strongly remind them that you have low blood volume and a vasodilator will only make it worse.
As I was typing this section of the website, a member messaged me. He had a huge increase in symptoms. It was to the point that he was thinking of going to the ER. After probing a bit, I found out that he started taking melatonin and fish oil. Melatonin relaxes you (used often in sleep aids) and fish oil is recommended for heart health by cardiologists. Both are powerful vasodilators. The vasodilation with the autonomic issue of low blood volume prevented the blood from getting to his nerves. He not only had the autonomic symptoms, but the increase in neuropathy was to a pain level of eight (with ten being the worst). He immediately removed both of these vasodilators.
The final word on vasodilators is that caution is advised. As mentioned magnesium is a strong vasodilator, but we need magnesium. We suggest that you get your magnesium from food. If a medication that is necessary is a vasodilator and there is no good substitution, then take absolutely take the medication.
See also Vasodilators