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Vitamin B6 Linked to Lower Lung Cancer Risk

Study Finds Association in Smokers, Nonsmokers

Vitamin B6, Methionine, and Lung Cancer: Behind the Results

How to explain the link is not known, the researchers say. But deficiencies in vitamin B6, for instance, may raise the risk of DNA damage and gene mutations, fostering cancer development.

Methionine is involved in a complex metabolism process with B vitamins.

Brennan cautions that the results are not a message to self-prescribe vitamin supplements. And the main message remains that people who smoke should quit, since it's the main risk factor for lung cancer, says Brennan.

Vitamin B6, Methionine, and Lung Cancer: Second View

The new study appears to be carefully done, with ''intriguing" findings, says Michael J. Thun, MD, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society. "However," he adds, "research on vitamins for cancer prevention has been fraught with many disappointments."

"It is therefore unwise to leap to premature conclusions." Like Brennan, Thun says the next step is to repeat the findings in another population.

''These findings should not be interpreted as evidence that smokers can substitute taking vitamin B6 for stopping smoking, nor as encouragement to take very high doses of vitamin B6, since this can have toxic effects on the skin and nervous system," Thun says.

He cautions people not to exceed the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B6. Adults below age 50 need 1.3 milligrams a day, about the amount found in two medium bananas.

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