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Study identifies trends of vitamin B6 status in US population sample
Date:5/20/2008

BOSTON- (May 20, 2008) In an epidemiological study, Tufts University researchers identified trends of vitamin B6 status in a sample of the United States population based on measures of plasma pyridoxal 5'- phosphate (PLP) levels in the bloodstream. Plasma PLP is the indicator used by the federal government to set the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6, a nutrient essential for red blood cell function and important for maintaining a healthy immune system and blood glucose levels.

"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 2 milligrams per day," says Martha Savaria Morris, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. "We also identified four subgroups where this trend seemed most prominent: women of reproductive age, especially current and former users of oral contraceptives, male smokers, non-Hispanic African-American men, and men and women over age 65." Someone with inadequate vitamin B6 status is at risk of becoming Vitamin B6 deficient should their vitamin B6 levels drop too low.

Corresponding author Morris and colleagues studied 7,822 blood samples of men and women ages one-year and older collected from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Vitamin B6 inadequacy was defined as a plasma PLP concentration less than 20 nmol/L. To the authors' knowledge, the current study is the first large scale study to use plasma PLP concentrations to evaluate vitamin B6 status in free-living people of all ages. The investigators were also able to consider whether the current RDA guaranteed adequate vitamin B6 status because study participants were questioned about supplement use and two days' worth of food intake.

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Contact: Andrea Grossman
617-636-3728
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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