The study, funded by the World Cancer Research Fund, is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study shows that having higher blood levels of vitamin B6 as well as the amino acid methionine may lower lung cancer risk in people who never smoked, those who quit the “bad habit” and current smokers. This is certainly good news as more than 219,000 new cases of lung cancer were recorded in the United States last year with about 160,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Researchers believe the link can be explained as deficiencies in vitamin B6 may raise the risk of DNA damage and gene mutations, fostering cancer development. Additionally, methionine is involved in a complex metabolism process with B vitamins.
However, the results should not be seen as taking vitamin B6 will minimize the risks of smoking, nor as encouragement to take very high doses of vitamin B6, since this can have toxic effects on the skin and nervous system. People should not exceed the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is directly responsible for your metabolism, processing amino acids and several metabolic processes, such as neurotransmitter, histamine and hemoglobin synthesis. Simplifying it, vitamin B6 helps the breakdown of many amino acids, producing enzymes and hormones. Good sources of vitamin B6 include meat, poultry, fish, grains, beans, potatoes and bananas. Methionine is found in animal protein, nuts and vegetable seeds. Vitamin B6 supplements are available and most multi vitamins contain recommended levels of B6.
Image credit: about.com.
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