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P5P: Does Your Multivitamin Provide This Superior Form Of Vitamin B6? Probably Not

May 31 2017

Multivitamins are often formulated to compete on price against other brands and therefore provide the cheapest forms of vitamins and minerals available since 80% of consumers buy on price rather than quality.  However, the most expensive vitamins consumers can buy are those that don’t work.

Pyridoxine is the common form of B6 provided in more than 95% of multivitamins.  It is an effective but not optimal form of this vitamin and most of the time converts to pyridoxyl 5 phosphate (P5P-B6), the active form of this B vitamin in the human body.

Vitamin B6 is provided by a variety of foods with bananas and potatoes considered good dietary sources. The Recommended Daily Allowance of B6, the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy individuals, is 1.7 milligrams.  [National Institutes of Health]

B6 inadequacy

However the catch is that there are many people who aren’t healthy and need more B6, preferably the P5P form of B6.

Smokers, alcohol drinkers, pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people taking B6-depleting drugs (diuretics, estrogen, prednisone, asthma drugs/ theophylline, aminophylline) and older adults who don’t easily absorb B6, may be at risk for B6 deficiency.

A shortage of B6, particularly when combined with inadequate intake or absorption of B9 folic acid and B12 cobalamin, may give rise to elevated levels of an undesirable blood protein called homocysteine.  Greater oxidation and inflammation may result. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition Feb 2010]

P5P-B6 Protects against glycation

The P5P form of B6 but not other forms of B6 guard against a dreaded problem that is prevalent in a modern society that consumes plentiful amounts of refined sugars.  Given the average American consumes ~19.5 teaspoons of sugar (82 grams) a day or about 66 pounds per year, vitamin B6 provided as P5P-B6 becomes all important.

Dietary sugars can easily bond to proteins, cause proteins to crosslink which then accelerates aging in the skin, brain, kidneys and elsewhere.  This problem is called glycation.

To make matters worse, once glycated, albumin, an iron-binding component of blood serum, releases more iron into the bloodstream.  This encourages the growth of bacteria and weakens immunity.  [Biometals Feb 2012]  Iron removal (chelation) is not an effective way to halt this problem. [Cellular Molecular Biology Letters Dec 2015]  Vitamin P5P-B6 but not other forms of B6 is.

Isn’t B6 in food adequate enough?

For those skeptics who believe I am a vitamin pusher who conjures up science to lead people into take pills who don’t need them, think again.  An alarming report reveals consumption of B6 is deceivingly adequate in the population at large but for unexplained reasons, the blood level of P5P-B6 is inadequate.  This is particularly true among women of reproductive age, women who use oral contraceptives, male smokers and men and women over age 65.  [Science Daily May 23, 2008; American Journal Clinical Nutrition May 2008]

Right then public health authorities should have called for action on this matter.  And why?

“Mission Control to Base…….. we have a problem”

Because vitamin B6 is akin to what grand central station is in the world of train transportation.  Vitamin B6 is required for the proper utilization of magnesium, the absorption and availability of zinc [Food & Function May 18, 2016; [International Journal Vitamin Nutrition Research, 1997] and in maintaining healthy levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (examples: fish, flax, borage oils) in the blood circulation.  [Journal of Nutrition Oct 1, 2012]

And, of even greater importance, adults with lower P5P-B6 levels have lower levels of glutathione, the master endogenous antioxidant in the body. [Clin Chim Acta Nov 2004]

All of these compiled facts suggest a multivitamin that provides B6 with zinc, selenium and other co-factors is advantageous.

B6 and cancer: a recent revelation

Wait, the B6 deficiency problem gets even worse.  Higher P5P-B6 levels have only recently been reported to be associated with a dramatically lower risk for all types of cancer (-34%).  [Journal National Cancer Institute March 1, 2017]  And why would this occur?

Because way back in 1978 researchers reported that B6 deficiency results in impaired T-cell function.  [Journal Immunology April 1978]  Zinc is necessary for the integrity of the thymus gland that produces T-cells.  [Proceedings Association American Physicians Jan 1997]

T-cells (thymus cells), a type of white blood cell, are required for the body to develop antibodies that produce memory immunity against infectious diseases and cancer.

Critically ill patients have a greater need for the P5P form of vitamin B6 to maintain their immune system. [Nutrition July 2005]  The absorption and bioavailability of zinc to maintain healthy T-cell levels is dependent upon vitamin B6 and selenium.

Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn that the greater consumption of sugar, the higher the risk for pancreatic cancer. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition Dec 2016]  Higher concentration of P5P-B6 cuts the risk for pancreatic cancer in half! [Cancer Causes & Control Dec 2016]

More about P5P-B6

Nor is it surprising to learn that individuals who are P5P-B6 deficient are subject to greater damage to their chromosomes as blood sugar levels rise. [PLoS Genetics March 20, 2014]

And it follows that P5P-B6 protects against blinding sugar-induced cataracts in the eyes. [Ophthalmic Research 1996]

P5P-B6 protects cells at the back of the eyes from incurring damage during periods of oxygen deprivation (ischemia). [Brain Research June 14, 2002]

As previously stated, vitamin B6 is required for the utilization of magnesium, a mineral that is deficient in the population at large.  Women who are magnesium deficient are known to experience high levels of anxiety.  [Magnesium Research March 1, 2016] So again it is no surprise to learn that low levels of B6 are associated with PMS symptoms among senior-aged women.  [Annals Clinical Laboratory Science 1981; Iran Journal Nursing Midwifery Research Dec 2010]

A magnesium/vitamin B6 deficiency promotes blood clots and failure of mitochondria, the cellular energy compartments.  Magnesium + P5P-B6 supports cardiac health. [Kardiologiia Oct 2016]

Another study shows vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid along with magnesium are required to inhibit undesirably high levels of homocysteine in the support of healthy arteries. [Neuroscience Letters Oct 1999]

Vitamin B6 has also been identified as a major factor in the prevention of kidney stones when combined with magnesium. [Urologia May 2009]

Obviously, nutritional science is moving faster than formulators of dietary supplements.  Most multivitamins have not kept up with the growing body of science and are archaic.

I’ll just betcha your multivitamin also doesn’t provide the optimal form of vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin); or advanced forms of niacin (niacinamide/nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; or vitamin B9 (methylfolate); or vitamin B1 (allithiamine, Benfotiamine); or balance forms of vitamin E (Tocotrienols & tocopherols); or soluble forms of zinc (acetate) rather than insoluble forms (oxide); or both water and fat-soluble forms of vitamin C.   Only MOLECULAR MULTI offers this scientifically updated array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbal extracts.  You can examine all of the nutrients provided in MOLECULAR MULTI online and learn why they are included.

MOLECULAR MULTI is designed to consolidate your dietary supplement regimen in a 4-capsule a day product (for the economy minded, 2-capsules a day will still provide you more nutrients than most other multivitamins).  When you buy in quantity (3 bottles, get 1 one free) your daily cost is $1.37/day (only 69-cents/day if taking 2 capsules/day).

MOLECULAR MULTI is designed to be taken with MAGNESIUM (which is too bulky to include in a multivitamin) and an OMEGA-3-6-9 formula to cover 99% of nutritional bases by taking only 7-8 pills a day.  Many elite supplement uses are taking up to 30-40 pills a day, like I was.  I take some extra pumpkin seed oil for my prostate health and some extra vitamin C, and a red wine pill, 12 pills a day, down from 34/day.  To understand the THREE FORMULAS concept, visit 3formulas.com   — Bill Sardi  (available to answer your questions via email: info@lifespannutrition.com   Or call 1-800 247-5731 and leave a message for a return call.)