If you thought the B6 controversy had been laid to rest, think again. Some of you may remember the strong and effective campaign in the UK six years ago to stop the lowering of the upper limits of B6 to just 10 mg. So startled were the British government by the passions of protesters that they scrapped the plan. Well, guess what? The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has just produced its report on safe upper limits of vitamins and minerals -- and has recommended the maximum strength of B6 should be . . .10 mg. First time around, it was discovered that the government plan was based on one piece of highly-flawed research, and there's nothing to suggest that the FSA has come up with any compelling evidence this time.
In an otherwise reasonable, and reasoned, report, the B6 recommendation stands out, and smacks of a Department of Health that doesn't like to lose an argument. Revenge is a meal best served cold, as they say.
The FSA wouldn't have had to look far to find evidence to show the importance of B6, and the other vitamin B compounds. In the same week that the FSA produced its weighty document, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study of heart patients who had had an angioplasty. Usually, around 20 per cent of all angioplasty patients need a repeat operation within a year, but researchers found that those who took a daily regimen of folic acid, and vitamins B12 and B6, dramatically reduced their chances of needing another operation (JAMA, 2002; 288: 973-979). The findings are no surprise to anyone who has taken any interest in nutrition as the B family is known to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, now recognised as a major contributor to heart disease (More in the WDDTY booklet Your Healthy Heart, which can be ordered on: http://www.wddty.co.uk). Perhaps the FSA would like a copy.