1. Health
Lynne Eldridge MD

Higher Blood Levels of Vitamin B6 Linked With Lower Lung Cancer Risk

By June 15, 2010

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I love reading about studies that make heading to the fridge seem like a good idea. And this one hit the mark. Higher levels of vitamin B6 in the blood (created by eating foods high in vitamin B6), were linked with a lower risk of developing lung cancer.

Researchers looked at over 400,000 people, comparing the level of vitamin B6 in their blood with their risk of later developing lung cancer. Those with above median levels of vitamin B6, were found to have a 50% lower risk of developing lung cancer 5 years later.

As a non-smoker, I was happy to see that this was the case for non-smokers, former smokers, and current smokers alike.

But it really made me happy to see the results in former smokers. Over 50% of people who develop lung cancer are former smokers. They have already done the number one thing to lower their risk. What else can they do? This study joins another last month, Cruciferous Vegetables Lower Lung Cancer Risk, that suggest making a few healthy dietary changes might compensate for some of the damage done in those "pre-quit" days.

Those of you who know me, know I don't like to review studies without asking questions. I like to check out the science behind them. In this case the science makes sense. Low vitamin B6 levels are linked with DNA damage in our bodies - a precursor to cancer. Sadly, levels of vitamin B6 appear to be pretty low in the general population.

So -- if you want to join me in the kitchen -- what are some good choices of foods that are high in vitamin B6?

  • Enriched cereals
  • Fish - tuna, halibut, haddock, salmon
  • Potatoes
  • Long grain rice
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Legumes

It's important to note that this study was not a supplement study. Some vitamin supplements have actually been linked with a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Photo by Scott Bauer/USDA


Johansson, M. et al. Serum B Vitamin Levels and Risk of Lung Cancer. JAMA. 2010. 303(23):2377-2385.

USDA. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22. Nutrient Lists. Vitamin B6. Updated 12/14/09. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=18877

November 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm
(1) Yohaig News says:

When you have a higher fats intake, you’ll put your self in high danger related with cancer. Women who often consume milk with high content material of saturated fats puts themselves in higher risk of contracting breast cancer.

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