Vitamin B6 Lowers Risk of Lung Cancer

In a study released June 16th in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers noted that higher levels of Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine),  could lower the risk for lung cancer in both smokers and non smokers.

Lung Cancer is the most deadliest type of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 2009 statistics show 219,440 new cases of lung cancer that were responsible for 159,390 deaths in the United States.  Smoking greatly increases one’s risk for lung cancer, yet scientists have struggled to find out why some smokers contract lung cancer while others do not.


vitaminb6preventlungcancer The  new study, which was done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and published in JAMA in June 2010, may have some clues for solving some of the mysteries surrounding lung cancer.  Patients whose blood contained high levels of Vitamin B6 along with an amino acid, methionine, were found to have reduced their chances of getting lung cancer by almost  60%. Scientists from the IARC released a statement which said, “”While the study link’s vitamin B6, as well as one amino acid, to fewer cases of lung cancer, it doesn’t conclude that consuming the nutrients will reduce the risk. Future research is needed to confirm that there’s a cause-and-effect relationship at work, not just an association,”

Scientists studied 520,000 Europeans over a period of time from 1992 to 2000. Results showed that 899 patients developed lung cancer by 2006. This was contrasted by a total of 1,770 study participants who did not contract lung cancer. The results from the study, scientists concluded, that those individuals with the highest levels of B6 in their bloodstream had a 56% lower chance of getting lung cancer than their counterparts with the lowest levels of vitamin B6.  Another amino acid, called methionine, was found in the study to have significant benefits, meaning that those with higher blood levels of methionine were 48 percent less likely to develop lung cancer as compared to those with lower values.

So it’s  definitely not the time to break out a cigarette, and think that a vitamin may protect you.  Smoking and tobacco use is the #1 risk factor for developing lung cancer. Those who inhale the smoke of others, called secondhand smoke are also at high risk for developing lung cancer.

Statistics on lung cancer on a worldwide basis, also point to some sobering facts.  Worldwide, lung cancer in men is the #1 case of death. In women, it is the #2 cause of death.  According to 2007 statistics worldwide there were approximately 975,000 men and 376,000 women who were projected to die of lung cancer.

One of the researchers in the IARC study, Paul Brennan,in Lyon, France said “We found that vitamin B6 and methionine are strongly associated with reducing lung cancer risk in people who never smoked, those who quit, and current smokers.”

According to Mayo Clinic, deficiencies in Vitamin B6 are common, but the scientists from the IARC study are not advising people to go out and start purchasing vitamin supplements. They are however, encouraging anyone who is a smoker to stop smoking, because smoking is the #1 risk for lung cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vitamin B6:


Q: How Else Can Vitamin B6 Be Beneficial?

B6 helps with numerous processes in the body, supporting your immune system, helping red blood cells function, and it is also involved in the metabolism of protein. B6, along with other B vitamins has also been attributed to helping chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters. Having adequate levels of B6 in the body can also help some patients reduce their risk for heart disease by lowering homocysteine, which is an amino acid found in the plasma of the blood. Having high levels of homocysteine can elevate your risk of not only coronary heart disease, but peripheral vascular disease and stroke.  Other vitamins that may reduce the level of homocysteine in your blood include folic acid,  as well as Vitamin B12.

Q: What Foods are High In B6?

Although you may have  read that most food sources high in B6 are meats, there are also other good sources of B6 for those of you who may be vegetarian, or who may not be eating meat on a regular basis.

Here’s a List of Food Sources That You Can Print Out and Use if You’d Like To Know How to Increase Your Vitamin B6 From Food.

******   GOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN B6    *****

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