Friday, November 27, 2009

Vitamin B6 you need at least 2-3mg a day

Vitamin B6 is typically not discussed with respect to inflammation. Most inflammation discussion is around antioxidants, vitamin C and fish oils/omega 3's. I have already posted about how vitamin B3 is involved in the antioxidant cycle, well it appears that vitamin B6 may also be involved in reducing risk of heart disease.

C-reactive protein
(CRP) is a protein produced by the live in response to inflammation. It is used as a indicator of heart disease. This is because heart disease is caused by fat depositing inside the arteries. This causes inflammation as the body tries to deal with this deposit.

However CRP increases due to any inflammation, and inflammation increases whenever your body is under stress/sickness. So high CRP does not mean you have heart disease, but a low CRP means that you don't. So CRP is a useful tool to determine risk of heart disease.

Well a study looked at vitamin B6 and CRP. What it found was a high vitamin B6 intake, 2-3mg per day, was significantly associated with a CRP < 3 mg per litre - this is a healthy level of CRP.

Other signs that indicated a lack of vitamin B6 were in more than 50% of the people with a CRP > 10mg per liter. (Unfortunately I do not have access to the full paper yet, as it has not yet come out in hard copy print,  so can not say what these signs were!)

Thus we can conclude if you have CRP that is height, you are very likely not taking enough vitamin B6 and should increase your levels to 2-3mg a day. Hopefully this will result in a reduction of CRP and thus a reduction in the probability of heart disease.

Now how high is the RDI for vitamin B6? It is between 1 - 2 mg / day, thus it is not high enough to prevent increased risk of heart disease. The next question is how much do you have to eat to get this 3mg per day?
  • 75 grams of yeast, this is 7 and half table spoons of dry yeast. That is a lot of brewers yeast on your sandwich. 
  • 214 grams of wheat bran, now that would keep you regular ! 
  • 5 bananas a day
  • 1.9 kg of vegetables 
So you might be able to eat this if you use a juicer, eat plenty of bran and drink home made beer that is all murky due to the yeast being in suspension, although I have previously blogged about how the bioavailability of vitamin B6 in foods is likely to be overestimated.

So in summary you need to supplement with vitamin B6 and eat a healthy diet so you get the best of both worlds.

Reference: Morris et al  Vitamin B-6 Intake Is Inversely Related to, and the Requirement Is Affected by, Inflammation Status J. Nutr. (November 11, 2009). doi:10.3945/jn.109.114397

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