If you have diabetes, you probably know that you're at risk of kidney failure. In fact, diabetes is responsible for 44% of kidney failure cases in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health. Researchers have recently found an important link between a vitamin deficiency and kidney disease. And the good news is there may be something you can do about it.
In January, the researchers announced their findings that there's a link between vitamin B6 deficiency and kidney disease. They determined this by evaluating 120 diabetic participants and 52 nondiabetic participants. Of the diabetic participants, 46 had microalbuminuria, a marker of nephropathy (kidney disease).
The researchers measured their vitamin B1, B6, and B12 levels and their vitamin B metabolites. In addition, they checked their homocysteine and methylmalonic acid levels. High levels of homocysteine are linked to low vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate levels, while increased methylmalonic acid can be an indicator of low vitamin B12.
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They found that the diabetic patients had much lower levels of the active form of vitamin B6 than the control group did, with low levels present in 58% versus 25% of the groups, respectively. The low levels were defined as less than 30 nmol/L of plasma pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. The nephropathic group fared even worse, with 63% of the group demonstrating low B6 levels.
The diabetic groups also demonstrated differences in their levels of B6 metabolites, suggesting the metabolic pathways may have been disrupted. They had lower levels of vitamin B1 as well. Both groups seemed to have relatively similar levels of B12. However, the diabetic group had higher levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and the marker of endothelial dysfunction, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecure-1.
While the differences in these levels don't tell us for sure that the deficiencies are causing the kidney disease, they are certainly worth noting. It's particularly important since it's possible to supplement your vitamin B levels. If you have diabetes, it's important to keep your vitamin B levels at optimum levels. It's not vital to test these. Just make sure you're taking ample amounts. Vitamin B is one supplement I think everyone should take. That's why I put a full day's allowance in Super Immune QuickStart. The various forms of vitamin B have a number of benefits. And now it looks like preventing kidney disease could be one of them.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Nix WA, et al. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2015;107:157-65.