Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps the body make several neurotransmitters, which carry signals between nerve cells. Vitamin B6 is essential for normal brain development and function and, along with vitamins B12 and folic acid, it helps control levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease.
Several large population studies have shown that a high intake of vitamin B6 may lower the risk of developing colon cancer. The vitamin appears to impair the ability of the cancer cells to replicate and make new blood vessels that they need to survive (angiogenesis). (Komatsu 2003) A large-scale Finnish study discovered that men who had elevated levels of vitamin B6 in their blood had a lower risk of developing lung cancer. (Hartman 2001)
Limited research has been done on the relationship between vitamin B6 and prostate health. One study that did investigate a possible link between vitamin B6 levels and prostate cancer did not uncover a relationship. (Johansson 2009) It is still important to get an adequate amount of vitamin B6, which can be found in a variety of foods, including lentils, tuna, salmon, soybeans, spinach, brown rice, carrots, chicken, turkey, and whole-grain flour. Younger men (19 to 50) need 1.3 mg daily, while men 51 years and older should get 1.7 mg.
Hartman TJ et al. Association of B-vitamins pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (B(6)), B(12), and folate with lung cancer risk in older men. Am J Epidemiol 2001; 153(7):688-94.
Johansson M et al. One-carbon metabolism and prostate cancer risk: prospective investigation of seven circulating B vitamins and metabolites. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009; 18(5):1538-43.
Komatsu S et al. Antitumor effect of vitamin B6 and its mechanisms. Biochim Biophys Acta 2003; 1647(1-2):127-30.