The reduction in risk is impressive and it could be a step forward toward greater understanding of how food and medications may prevent lung cancer, said the ALA's Edelman. "That's a whole new field, and it's just beginning to become something that's actually being studied," he said.
Both vitamin B6 and methionine are important to good health and available in supplement form.
Vitamin B6 helps the body protect itself against disease and process glucose (sugar) in the blood; it's found in foods such as bananas, fish, chicken, potatoes, peanut butter and fortified cereal. Methionine is found in foods such as red meat, fish and beans. People can suffer from methionine deficiency, which can cause medical problems, including liver damage.
However, the experts said that it's possible that some other factor related to the vitamin and amino acid is affecting the lung cancer rate, such as a specific food that they are found in.
If vitamin B6 and methionine really do lower the risk of lung cancer, researchers aren't sure of the mechanism. However, both nutrients are linked to the body's construction of DNA, and lowered levels might lead to errors, Brennan theorized.
So should you take supplements to boost the levels of vitamin B6 and methionine, just in case? No, Brennan said. "There is no evidence that vitamin supplements may reduce cancer risk and even some evidence that they may increase cancer risk," he said.
Instead, he made the usual recommendation: eat right. "At this stage, we would recommend that people stick with usual dietary recommendations for a healthy diet. This study does not change that," Brennan said.
In a related study, also published in the same issue of JAMA, researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, examined the reasons why many lung cancer patients decide against potentially life-extending surgeries.
The team surveyed 437
All rights reserved