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High-dose B6 may improve arthritis measures

A daily dose of vitamin B6 at the current upper tolerable levels may reduce levels of inflammatory compounds in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, says a new study.

Levels of the pro-inflammatory compounds interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) significantly decreased following 12 weeks of supplementation with 100 milligrams of vitamin B6, according to findings published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

However, no changes were observed for pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP), the active form of vitamin B6, in relation to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), another marker of inflammation, according to scientists from Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 46 million Americans are reported to have long-term health problems associated with arthritis. This figure is expected to increase to 67 million by 2030 (Arthritis & Rheumatism, 2006, Vol. 54, pp. 226-229).

Study details

The Taiwanese scientists performed a single-blind co-intervention study with 35 participants randomly assigned to receive either 5 mg per day of only folic acid or 5 mg per day of folic acid plus 100 mg of vitamin B6.

After 12 weeks of supplementation, significant decreases were observed in level of IL-6 and TNF-alpha only in participants of the B6 group, said the researchers.

“A large dose of vitamin B6 supplementation (100 mg/day) suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokines (that is, IL-6 and TNF-alpha) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” concluded the researchers.

Vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin that exists as pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, is found in beans, meat, fish, and some fruits and vegetables, like spinach and avocado. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1.3 milligrams for men and women aged between 19 and 50.

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This article was published on Thursday July 29, 2010.
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Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.107 “Vitamin B6 supplementation improves pro-inflammatory responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis” Authors: S-C Huang, J C-C Wei, D J Wu and Y-C Huang