Vitamin B6 protects against heart attacks

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. There is growing evidence that an adequate vitamin B6 status is important in the prevention of coronary artery disease. Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that a high fasting plasma concentration of pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) is associated with a significantly reduced risk of suffering a fatal or non-fatal heart attack (myocardial infarction). PLP is the main form of vitamin B6 found in circulating blood. The Harvard study included 33,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. Over a 10-year period following the PLP measurement, 239 suffered a heart attack. The researchers found that women in the highest quartile of PLP concentration had a 78% lower risk of suffering a heart attack than did those in the lowest quartile. The risk reduction was particularly impressive (95%) in women who were under the age of 60 years at time of blood sampling. PLP concentration was directly correlated with dietary intake of vitamin B6 and inversely correlated with homocysteine level.

Page, JH, et al. Plasma vitamin B6 and risk of myocardial infarction in women. Circulation, Vol. 120, August 25, 2009, pp. 649-55