The relationship of vitamin B6 status to median nerve function and carpal tunnel syndrome among active industrial workers


Franzblau A




J Occup Environ Med


Case reports and small case series suggest that vitamin B6 deficiency is an important etiologic factor in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This hypothesis has never examined in a randomly selected study population, particularly among active workers. We examined 125 randomly selected active workers from two industrial plants. Each worker completed a self-administered symptom questionnaire and underwent electrodiagnostic testing of the median and ulnar sensory nerves. Laboratory biochemical analyses of vitamin B6 status were also performed using the erythrocyte glutamic pyruvic transaminase assay, and quantification of plasma pyridoxal-5'-phosphate. Measurements of vitamin B6 status were unrelated to self-reported symptoms potentially consistent with CTS, electrophysiologically determined median or ulnar nerve function, and CTS defined on the basis of self-reported symptoms and electrophysiologic measurements. These results suggest that CTS among active industrial workers is unrelated to vitamin B6 status. Furthermore, in our opinion, empiric prescription of vitamin B6 to patients with CTS is unwarranted and potentially hazardous.