I talk a lot about the importance of taking adequate B vitamins. They're not as exciting as some other vitamins.
But B vitamins are extremely important for your health. In fact, there's a particular form of one B vitamin that can lower your colon cancer risk by 49%.
The vitamin I’m talking about is P5P (pyridoxal 5-phosphate). P5P is the active form of vitamin B6. When you eat foods with B6, your body has to convert the B6 into P5P in order for it to work.
And a recent study shows that having enough P5P in your blood can substantially decrease your risk for getting colorectal cancer.
In this study, the authors analyzed the combined results of nine different studies that looked at the risk of colorectal cancer. They wanted to see how this killer disease relates to vitamin B6 intake and P5P blood (plasma) levels.
What They Found Is Extremely Important
The researchers found that the blood levels of P5P went from a low of 12 pmol/ml to a high of 140 pmol/ml. And for every 100 pmol/ml increase in P5P levels, the risk of getting colorectal cancer dropped an incredible 49%!
Obviously, that’s a huge deal!
The authors theorized that it's because P5P is so important for DNA synthesis and repair. And low levels are more likely to lead to cancer formation. But here is the really amazing thing about the study.
Although the levels of P5P linked directly with cancer risk, the intake of B6 does not. According to the authors, “There was no significant association between vitamin B6 intake and colorectal cancer risk.”
How could that be? It's probably because not everyone has the genetic capability to convert B6 to P5P effectively.
So for some, even though their intake of B6 is higher than another, their P5P levels will be lower. And they will be at a much greater risk for getting colorectal cancer. For them, their only hope would be to either take very high levels of B6 and hope, or to take P5P supplements.
I am now routinely checking the P5P blood levels of all of my patients over the age of 30. I want to make sure that their levels are in the highest 130-140 pmol/ml range.
Colorectal cancer is fast becoming one of the most common cancers doctors see. I’ve seen too many cases in people younger than 40. You can find P5P at your local health food store and online.
Larsson, S.C., N. Orsini, and A. Wolk. “Vitamin B6 and Risk of Colorectal Cancer Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies.” JAMA. 2010;303(11):1077-1083. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.263.