November 13, 2009
Why the RDA of vitamin B6 could destroy your health
If you've read my health alerts or my newsletter for very long, you probably know how I feel about most RDAs. RDA stands for recommended daily allowance. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science sets the RDA for most nutrients. It is supposed to represent the average daily dietary intake level needed for 97-98% of healthy individuals. But it is usually much too low to maintain your health. Vitamin B6 is the perfect example.
Vitamin B6 is crucial for good health. It participates in critical metabolic reactions in your cells. And it protects against high homocysteine (which leads to heart disease), depression, immune dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, and far more. You will not be at optimum health without sufficient vitamin B6. But most people are woefully deficient. In fact, a new study says that even if you get the RDA of critical vitamin B6 (under 2 mg), you still could be deficient.
In the study, researchers gave several groups of participants different levels of vitamin B6. Subjects who consumed between 2 mg and 2.9 mg per day had much greater than a 3% risk of deficient PLP (pyridoxyl-5-phosphate). PLP is an indicator of vitamin B6 activity. Smokers, blacks, and former and current oral birth control users consuming even 3 mg and 4.9 mg per day also were at greater than 3% risk of deficiency. And so were the elderly! In most groups, they had to consume more than 4.9 mg per day to avoid PLP deficiency.
The authors conclude that 3 mg to 4.9 mg daily should be the accepted RDA. But they acknowledge that even at that level, many still will be deficient. Actually, it will take at least 100 mg of vitamin B6 daily to protect your health as you age. That tells you just how low the RDA is.
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There's no way to know what your blood levels of vitamin B6 are without a blood test. Regardless, it's far easier — and cheaper — to take a supplement than get screened.
Unless you're eating lots of freshly picked organic fruits and vegetables, it's impossible to get enough vitamin B6. So I recommend a daily multivitamin, such as Healthy Resolve from Advanced Bionutritionals. It has ample B6 to keep you at optimum blood levels — something the RDA will never do.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Ref: Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 87(5).