Vitamin B6, Methionine Linked to Lower Risk for Lung Cancer

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According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, serum levels of vitamin B6 and amino acid, methionine, were inversely associated with risk for lung cancer. 

The study was conducted among ~400,000 participants in 10 European countries.  Between 1992 and 2000, 385,747 EPIC participants donated blood samples to measure the serum levels for 4 B vitamins (B2, B6, folate, and B12), methionine, and homocysteine.  By 2006, 899 patients were identified with lung cancer. 

When investigators analyzed the serum levels of these cancer patients, they found that the level of B6 and methionine were lower than that of the participants without cancers.   

Participants who have high level of B6 had a 36% lower likelihood of developing lung cancer.  Similarly, participants whose serum methionine level was high had a 48% lower likelihood of getting lung cancer. 

For participants who have high level of both serum methionine and B6, the risk of lung cancer risk was lower by 59%. 

Since this is the first study to demonstrate the relationship between low level of Vitamin B6 and lung cancer, further studies are needed before health authorities can recommend widespread use of vitamin supplements.  

Since most lung cancer cases occur among current and former smokers, individuals who will like to protect oneself from lung cancer to should stop smoking or stay away from second-hand smoking. 

Source: JAMA. 2010;303:2377-2385 

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