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Originally published August 26 2008

Vitamin B6 Deficiency Widespread Across U.S. Population, New Study Finds

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Large sectors of the U.S. population are deficient in vitamin B6, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers warned that signs of deficiency emerged even among those meeting or exceeding the recommended dietary intake, and among those taking supplements.

"Across the study population, we noticed participants with inadequate vitamin B6 status even though they reported consuming more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B6, which is less than two milligrams per day," researcher Martha Savaria Morris said.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6 is 1.3 milligrams per day for people between the ages of 19 and 50, 1.5 milligrams per day for women over the age of 50 and 1.7 milligrams per day for men over 50.

Researchers analyzed blood samples from 7,822 people of all ages, down to one year old, who participated in the 20043-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They measured blood levels of pyridoxal 5'- phosphate (PLP), the biologically active form of the vitamin.

Eleven percent of those taking vitamin B6 supplements had PLP levels indicating deficiency, while 25 percent of those not taking supplements were vitamin deficient.

Male smokers, non-Hispanic African-American men and people of both sexes over the age of 65 were more likely to be vitamin B6 deficient. Women of childbearing age were also at increased risk for deficiency, especially those who had a history of oral contraceptive use.

Among women who did not take vitamin B6 supplements but did take oral contraceptives, 75 percent came up deficient in the vitamin.

The scientists called for more research into this connection, noting that it is possible that vitamin B6 is stored in a different way in women who take oral contraceptives, thus making blood concentration a less useful marker.

Foods rich in vitamin B6 include nuts, vegetables, whole grains and meats.

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