Vitamin B-6 Fights Cancer

By Julie Monheim, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent
PULLMAN, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study shows consuming more vitamin B-6 can ward off cancer, especially for smokers.
Vitamin B-6 converts folate to a form the body can use to produce thymine, a component of DNA. If the body does not have enough B-6, it produces components other than thymine, which can stress the normal DNA repair process and potentially cause cancerous cells to form.

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Reported May 5, 2003

Vitamin B-6 Fights Cancer

By Julie Monheim, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

PULLMAN, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study shows consuming more vitamin B-6 can ward off cancer, especially for smokers.

Vitamin B-6 converts folate to a form the body can use to produce thymine, a component of DNA. If the body does not have enough B-6, it produces components other than thymine, which can stress the normal DNA repair process and potentially cause cancerous cells to form.

Researchers at Washington State University tested patients to determine if adding vitamin B-6 to their diet would decrease the number of stressed DNA cells and increase levels of vitamin B-6 in the body.

For the first month of the study, patients (smokers and non-smokers) were put on a diet that provided very small amounts of vitamin B-6. At the end of this period, all participants had lower vitamin B-6 levels and higher numbers of stressed DNA strands. Smokers had even lower levels of vitamin B-6 than they did before the study began.

Researchers increased the patientsvitamin B-6 intake for the remaining three months of the study. By the fourth and final month, patients were consuming 10.3 milligrams per day, which is more than seven times the recommended value.

As the amount of vitamin B-6 increased, the patientslevels went up and the number of DNA strand breaks went down. After three months, the smokersB-6 levels reached normal status.

Terry Shultz, Ph.D., and a registered dietician from Washington State University, told Ivanhoe his findings suggest dietary allowances of vitamin B-6 should be higher.

Shultz says eating a diet high in vitamin B-6 is enough to help prevent DNA strands from breaking, and thus, possibly preventing cancer from forming. He says taking a B-6 supplement is not necessary.

Foods high in vitamin B-6 include cereals, beef, chicken, fish, legumes, soy products, and bananas.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Experimental Biology 2003 Meeting in San Diego, April 11-15, 2003