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News - New heart benefits found for vitamin B6

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that low levels of vitamin B6 may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The scientists from the Human Nutrition Research Centre took blood samples from 1,205 people aged between 45 and 75, in order to analyse their vitamin B6 status and risk of heart disease. The scientists measured the participants’ levels of two blood chemicals – C-reactive protein (CRP) and 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG).

CRP is produced in the liver and is a known marker for inflammation. Increased levels of CRP are a good predictor for the onset of both type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 8-OHdG is a marker for oxidative stress, so high levels are thought to reflect an increased risk of the degenerative changes that precede cardiovascular disease. 

The researchers found that the people with the lowest levels of vitamin B6 had the highest levels of CRP and 8-OHdG. The highest B6 levels were associated with CRP levels almost 50 per cent lower than in those with low B6 levels. Furthermore, the highest average levels of B6 were associated with 8-OHdG concentrations of 108ng/mg, compared to 124ng/mg in those with low B6 levels. The associations were observed even after the researchers took into account the participants’ homocysteine levels.

Commenting on their results, the scientists said: “Our data suggest that vitamin B6 may influence cardiovascular disease risk through mechanisms other than homocysteine.” 

Article References

J. Shen et al. (2010) Association of vitamin B-6 status with inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammatory conditions: the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Volume 91. Number 2. pp. 337-342.

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