High B-6 levels and reduced risk of colorectal cancer

“B-6 is fabulous stuff!”

That enthusiastic opinion – from HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D. – appeared in the e-Alert “B+” (5/17/05) about a Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School study that examined ten years of blood samples provided by more than 31,800 subjects in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers found a clear association between high B-6 levels and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

Meanwhile, researchers in Sweden were on the same track.

As reported in the June 2005 issue of Gastroenterology, a team from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm used food frequency questionnaires over a 15-year period to assess colorectal cancer risk in more than 60,000 women.

The results confirmed the Brigham and Women’s findings: Long-term intake of dietary vitamin B-6 was significantly associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer when compared to women who had the least amount of B-6 in their diets.

Fabulous stuff, indeed. Vitamin B-6 has also been shown to help prevent heart disease, relieve morning sickness, provide relief from carpal tunnel syndrome and enhance brain function by assisting in neurotransmitter development.

If you’d like to include yourself in the group that has the highest intake of vitamin B-6, just add more bananas, spinach, avocado, poultry, fish, meat and beans to your diet.

And it appears that an occasional cocktail or a glass of wine might help as well. Women in the Stockholm study who had plenty of B-6 in their diets and also drank two or more alcoholic beverages per week had an even greater reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

“Vitamin B6 Intake, Alcohol Consumption, and Colorectal Cancer: A Longitudinal Population-Based Cohort of Women” Gastroenterology, Vol. 128, No. 7, June 2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
“Vitamin B6 May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk in Women” Reuters Health, 6/13/05, reutershealth.com