According to a new study, women with a high dietary intake of vitamin B6 over several years have a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Women who consume moderate to large amounts of alcohol in addition to vitamin B6 have more than a 70% reduced risk of developing CRC.

“Consuming a diet high in vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in women, more specifically those who consume alcohol,” said Susanna Larsson, MSc, study author.

“Inadequate vitamin B6 status may lead to the development of cancerous polyps in the colon, so it is important for women to maintain a normal to high intake of vitamin B6.”

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and the Harvard School of Public Health used data from the Swedish Mammography Cohort to evaluate the association between long-term dietary vitamin B6 intake from food sources and colorectal cancer risk, and its modification by alcohol consumption. Nearly 67,000 women, aged 40 to 75 years, responded to a questionnaire that solicited data on diet, family history of CRC and use of dietary supplements.

Researchers found that alcohol consumption in women with low vitamin B6 intake resulted in higher risk of developing colorectal cancer and that increasing intake reduces this risk significantly.

American Gastroenterological Association, June 3, 2005