June 15th, 2010
06:08 PM ET

Vitamin B6 may play anti-cancer role

By Leslie Wade
CNN Medical Producer

A new study suggests vitamin B6 may play a role in preventing cancer (watch video).

A study in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association found adults with higher levels of vitamin B6 in their blood were half as likely to develop lung cancer as those with low B6 levels.

"This doesn't mean that if you take vitamins and eat well, cigarette smoking is safe," explains Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

The study included almost 400,000 adults from 10 European countries who were either current smokers, former smokers or had never smoked. Researchers looked at the differences in vitamin B6 levels between those who developed lung cancer after five years and those who did not.

Those with lower blood levels of vitamin B6 had higher risks of lung cancer, no matter what their smoking status. Doctors say healthy levels of B vitamins help make and maintain healthy DNA – an important factor in the prevention of cancer. Vitamin B6 is in a variety of foods including meats, poultry, fish, grains, beans and some fruits and vegetables – such as avocados, broccoli and bananas.

Though many cancer experts are cautiously optimistic about this research, they stress that until these findings are replicated in other studies, nothing definitive can be directly linked to vitamin B6. Even study author, Dr. Paul Brennan with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, believes there is more  learn.  "We don't know if these compounds are really lowering the risk. In your diet, if you have a high level of a certain vitamin then you might have higher levels of other vitamins as well."

Edelman says the research shouldn't be overlooked. "Reducing risk by 50 percent is quite impressive. It's more than one would expect by differences in diet."

Experts point out that many people in Western populations are deficient in B vitamins. And researchers caution, if you're a smoker, don't let this serve as an excuse to continue smoking and don't be tempted to take high doses of the vitamin– that's unhealthy.

Smoking is responsible for eight out of 10 cases of lung cancer and though many people quit, they remain at risk. Finding preventive measures to reduce the risk of lung cancer may be especially important to former smokers.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. nursegillian

    This is good news for B6 but I'm glad the point is being made that this a starting point for learning. For instance alcoholics are known to be deficient in B vitamins. It could be that drinking and smoking doubles your chance of getting lung cancer. There so many variables.

    June 15, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jonathan Goldstein, MD

    This is an interesting finding but I caution people to be very careful not to take too much supplemental B6 as this vitamin, also known as pyridoxine, can cause severe nerve damage.

    June 16, 2010 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dr. Dubrawsky

    The findings of this study are impressive and significant.
    There is no doubt that vitamins are crucial for health ,survival and
    longevity.The B complex of vitamins are apparantly more valuable
    than others.Still the mechanism of action,as far as Immunity is concerned ,is lacking.
    Of all the B vitamins known,Vitamin B3 is an "Orphan".
    Throughout the last few decads,most of the studies published,in this
    subject "Convinently" neglect to mention Vitamin B3(Nicotinic acid-
    Niacin).This is done in spite of Niacin being the "Best Vitamin-Nutrient-Medicine to elevate H.D.L. and lower Tiglycerides" Why?
    Mainly because we still do nt understand Immunology,specificly:
    Innate Immunology:The first line of defense of any Living organism.

    June 16, 2010 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. caution

    Thank you Dr. Goldstein for your comment about nerve damage with too much B6. After taking an over-the-counter Multi-vitamin with 300% of the daily value of B6 for a few years, I developed some strange pains. I didn't understand the connection until I went to a neurologist. She found that I had very high/ toxic levels of B6. Now I take less B6 and the pain is gone. My doctor mentioned that B6 can be very dangerous and in some countries they are thinking of controlling access to it. Just thought I'd post this since this article will no doubt prompt people to start taking more B6.

    June 16, 2010 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Peter Malet MD

    On the CNN TV broadcast this morning, the news commentator, John Roberts, kept referring to vitamin B6 as 'niacin' and mentioned the side effect of flushing. Vitamin B6 is not niacin; it is pyridoxine and should not be confused with niacin.

    June 16, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. art schultz

    i first became aware of a compound of vitamin "b", Inositol, through a story carried by CTV News where the BC Cancer Agency (British Columbia in Canada) gave 18 grams of Inositol per day to lung cancer patients, all former smokers. In 30 to 90 days they all had tremendous improvements to their condition. I was diagnosed with meta-static squamous cell carcinoma of the left tonsil, and a tumor had grown in the adjoining lymph-node. I used 18 grams of Inositol per day and in approximately 9 days the tumor had shrunk in size by at least 20%. I stopped taking Inositol when i began my treatment of "chemo and 35 radiation sessions". When i finished my treatment program(5-1/2 weeks) i returned to Inositol for a further 6 months. I am cancer free and feel great! INOSITOL compound of Vitamin "B".

    June 16, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. guest

    To Jonathan Goldstein, MD – thank you for confriming the infromation about the nerve damage. I was taking B6 years ago and felt tingling in hands and arms. I heard about a study in England at the time that said to much B6 could be causing the trouble. So I stopped taking the B6 and the problem stopped.

    June 16, 2010 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Steve

    Of course the Doctors are not for it, they can't make any money if you take vitamins

    June 16, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation

    As noted in this study, the best way to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to avoid the most common cause: smoking. Never starting to smoke or quitting are ways in which the individual can protect themselves. However, we all have a responsibilty to the society in which we live and banning smoking in public places reduces the risk to others. So while diet may help the individual, it is no replacement for more holistic tobacco control and smokefree policies that help to reduce lung cancer among the population at large.

    June 16, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Toni

    I think the end of the segment was very confusing when the reporter called B6 "Niacin" and you did not correct him. Niacin is B3 and causes flushing-B6 does not.

    June 17, 2010 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. lin4544

    I always thought that vitamin d deficiency increased the chances of blood cancer, now it's b6?. well there is always a new theory everyday.

    June 28, 2010 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ted Hu

    In nature, exposed to directly UV-B sunlight that is.

    June 28, 2010 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Roshan Naorem

    I need it to explain me in molecular level.

    July 7, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Cyzane

    If they have lied to us about second hand smoke, what else are they lying to us about ? http://www.fightingback.homestead.com

    July 14, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dave

    I agree vitamin b6 is an important vitamin for our health but I am skeptical about vitamin b6 reducing cancer by 50%. I think vitamin vitamin b6 needs to be further researched in fighting cancer before all the hype goes to far.

    January 13, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Dave

    Very intersting article on vitamin b6 and cancer. I do not think vitamin b6 can cut cancer by 50% but I do believe b6 can help fight cancer. Best way to get b6 is from foods in our diet and this article gives some good food sources.

    January 13, 2012 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Stacie

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 26, 2013 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Nia Jirsa

    Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Several forms of the vitamin are known, but pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism, including transamination, deamination, and decarboxylation. PLP also is necessary for the enzymatic reaction governing the release of glucose from glycogen...*;'

    Most up to date content from our very own internet page <http://www.picturesofherpes.co/

    July 9, 2013 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Anthony

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this topic. I love all of the points you've made.

    December 14, 2013 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Tonja

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

    January 19, 2014 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. KbrgMile

    cheap sildenafil online no prescription generic viagra online pharmacy india sildenafil 87 50 mg

    November 24, 2020 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FmsgEncox

    viagra sold in malaysia common dosage of viagra boss royal viagra

    November 24, 2020 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. FnrhEncox

    generic viagra au forum tried viagra no prescription viagra melbourne vic

    November 25, 2020 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FdbvZisse

    female viagra drugstore buy viagra online no script order viagra from canada

    November 26, 2020 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FnrdEncox

    purchase viagra in usa can i order generic viagra on line viagra helsingborg

    November 26, 2020 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. FnsbEncox

    best homework college online help help writing papers writing short essays

    November 28, 2020 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DvscZisse

    essay writing assistance college life essays pay for someone to write my paper

    November 28, 2020 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. JgscCrulk

    college acceptance essays essays for college admission essay online about sigmund freud

    November 28, 2020 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. FsfEncox

    essays how to research paper katherine johnson trig homework assignment

    November 28, 2020 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. FqfEncox

    purchase research paper college essay helping others cheap research paper writing service

    November 28, 2020 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. KwgdMile

    college essay 1000 words slideshow presentation science coursework help

    November 29, 2020 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. FtghEncox

    essays for college applications thesis statement for persuasive essay ut homework

    December 1, 2020 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. FgsZisse

    essays harvard essays about food pay someone to write your essay

    December 1, 2020 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. FbsbEncox

    cialis 10mg generic cialis dapoxetine generic cialis quick shipping

    December 8, 2020 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. DvncZisse

    cialis and douextine cialis marke 20mg cialis using paypal in australia

    December 8, 2020 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. FqbfEncox

    800 mg cialis cialis south africa online cialis super active plus reviews

    December 9, 2020 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. FsfgEncox

    what is better viagra or cialis viagra alternatives over counter viagra over the counter canada

    December 9, 2020 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. JgsvCrulk

    retail sale of viagra in toronto viagra in australia online viagra gum

    December 10, 2020 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. KhedMile

    buy viagra no prescription by cipro viagra shop buying viagra in ebay

    December 11, 2020 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. FgrsEncox

    viagra\\ canada pfizer viagra brand name viagra online

    December 12, 2020 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. DvnjZisse

    viagra expiration viagraonlibe viagra in the usa overnight delivery

    December 13, 2020 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. FhsnZisse

    superforce viagra viagra for sale malaysia generic viagra online pharmacy

    December 15, 2020 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. vreyro linomit

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and exposure! Keep up the terrific works guys I've you guys to our blogroll.


    December 31, 2020 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. AqwsEncox

    medical pharmacy canadian pharmacy viagra pharmacies near me

    January 8, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. NllpZisse

    canadian pharmacy viagra pharm drugstore cowboy

    January 10, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. JtmfEncox

    pharmacy near me pharma canada online pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JlloCrulk

    cheap rx erection pills online pharmacies

    January 11, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. LokuEncox

    canada rx pharmacy discount pharmacy best canadian online pharmacy

    January 13, 2021 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. NlbxZisse

    wildviagra viagra sales astralia drugstore 1st viagra cheap viagra reviews viagra meaning buying viagra 25mg tablets online viagra online prices viagras forsale viagra toronto online mexico pharmacy, viagra alternatives to viagra men viagra super active free shipping buy generic viagra paypal buy viagra buy viagra on line in brisbane

    January 14, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. JvcxCrulk

    buy generic viagra and cials on line generic viagra with dapoxetine 160mg over night viagra usa before and after viagra buy generic viagra online australia mastercard that accept viagra top of the line viagra and pregancy online viagra prescription australia viagra for sale without prescription and next day delivery before and after viagra buy viagra with dapoxetine viagra paypal buy viagra on line viagra black market viagra without rx

    January 15, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.