A word to the wise: Make sure you’re getting plenty of pyridoxal–better known as B6.
A new study of 500 Japanese subjects between 21 and 66 years old showed that higher serum pyridoxal concentrations were linked with lower levels of 8-OHdG–a key marker of DNA-damaging oxidative stress.
At first, the scientists behind this study thought B6’s influence on homocysteine may be responsible for this benefit. Higher levels of this amino acid have strong links to oxidative stress, which leads directly to diseases like heart disease and cancer. And previous research shows that vitamin B6 can lower homocysteine levels. But the researchers didn’t observe an association between the two in this study.
Instead, they think B6’s protective benefit could be due to its ability to preserve your body’s stores of glutathione–a powerful antioxidant that’s depleted with B6 deficiency.
Either way, getting enough B6 should be a top priority.
Granted, this particular study only showed benefits for non-smoking, non-drinking men. But plenty of other research has shown that everyone can benefit from getting more B6.
Tuna, chicken, turkey, sunflower seeds, and spinach are all good sources of this vitamin. But when in doubt, by all means supplement with a good B complex every single day.
Serum vitamin B6, folate, and homocysteine concentrations and oxidative DNA damage in Japanese men and women. Nutrition. Published online 24 June 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.03.014