What is the ‘real deal’ about vitamin B6 and your cancer risk?
(NaturalHealth365) B vitamins are essential for health. All eight of them – B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin) and B6 (pyridoxine) – play different roles in the body. But, to be clear, research is warning us about the link between vitamin B6 deficiency and lung cancer. (just be careful about some of the ‘bad’ news)
For example, a recent study made headlines recently by linking high dosages of B6 (and B12) to higher risk for lung cancer in some people. (more on this ‘bad’ news, later on in this article)
Does vitamin B6 prevent lung cancer or not?
Vitamin B6 is essential for nerve and brain function.
Vitamin B6 is needed for dozens of functions in the body. It is vital for proper nerve function, hormonal health and metabolism.
In addition, it helps provide energy from the food we eat, balances blood sugar levels, is a natural pain reliever, improves cognitive function and mood (it assists in the formation of the neurohormone GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid ) and is a vital substance for the immune system, creating antibodies needed for defense against pathogens, lowering homocysteine levels and helping create hemoglobin in the blood.
Simply put, B6 is needed for methylation and to prevent cancer.
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With all the things that it is responsible for in the body, it is no surprise that those who are low in B6 would have a higher risk of cancer. This is due in large part to the fact that B6 is a key element in the methylation process.
Understanding methylation is important if you want to prevent cancer since it allows for proper expression of DNA as well as the detoxification pathways of the liver. It is a factor in the production of the super-antioxidant glutathione and helps in the conversion of hormones and proteins.
Think of how spark plugs function in your car; they convert one form of energy to another to make your vehicle run!
Methylation also helps convert “strong” estrogens (estradiol or aggressive toxin-created estrogen “mimics” called xenoestrogens) into milder, non-aggressive forms of estrogen – this is why it is so important for your methylation pathways to function properly if you want to prevent breast cancer.
Cancer cells have been shown to utilize abnormal methylation
For proper methylation of healthy cells, you need the right amount of vitamin B6, as well as B12, folate (B9) and betaine. These substances are “methyl donors” because methylation is dependent on them as part of the “folate cycle.”
B6 deficiency can especially occur for those who are eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) of highly-processed, high-sugar, carbohydrate-dense foods as well as for smokers, since cigarette smoke deactivates B6. B6 levels also decrease as you age.
The following symptoms may be telling you that you could be deficient in B6:
- Confusion and “brain fog”
- Muscle cramps
- Anxiety, depression or any changes in mood
- Low energy
- PMS symptoms that are getting worse
- Migraine headaches
New study raises the question: Can too much B vitamins (including B6) raise your risk of lung cancer?
There have been thousands of studies to date which have verified the importance of all the B’s for good overall health. One surprising study published in August 2017 comes with a warning, however: too much vitamin B6 (and B12), in conjunction with cigarette smoking, may increase your risks for lung cancer.
The study was conducted in part by researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine and analyzed dietary data from over 77,000 men in Washington state. It found a 30 to 40% higher rate of lung cancer amongst male cigarette smokers who also took high dosages of B6 and B12.
The common factor for higher risk seems to be in how cigarette smoking interacted with high B levels.
Men who smoked and who took the highest dosage of B6 and B12 had the highest risk of cancer.
“When we’re talking about what to be concerned about most: If you’re a male smoker and you want to take B vitamins, you can stop smoking,” said study author Theodore Brasky, an epidemiologist at Ohio State, in an interview for CNN. “Smoking is the most important thing here, and that’s preventable.”
How much is enough B6?
Most people can get enough B6 through eating a healthy, organic, well-balanced diet. Garbanzo beans, grass fed beef, avocado, spinach and lentils are all high in B6, as are many other nutrient-dense foods.
It is always best to get key vitamins and minerals through the foods you eat. However, older individuals may need additional support in the form of B6 supplementation.
The only way to find out your levels is to get tested, so many experts recommend that people over 65 get their B6 levels checked regularly. And if you decide to supplement with B6, it is best if it is taken in conjunction with other B vitamins in the form of a B Complex.
And of course, make sure your supplement comes from a quality, toxin-free source.
Sources for this article include:
About the author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and specialist in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe. To get your F.R.E.E. 7-day mini e-course and to receive her weekly inspiring articles on the power of natural medicine – visit: BreastCancerConqueror.com
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