Research that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that individuals with higher levels of vitamin B6 and methionine — an amino acid commonly found in meat and other protein sources — are at a lower risk for developing lung cancer than those who are deficient in the nutrients.
A team of scientists examined the health data of about 400,000 participants and found that even in former and current smokers, vitamin B6 and methionine had significant lung health benefits.
"Given their involvement in maintaining DNA integrity and gene expression, these nutrients have a potentially important role in inhibiting cancer development, and offer the possibility of modifying cancer risk through dietary changes," the researchers wrote.
Authors of the study noted that diets associated with western countries tend to be low in B vitamins. Chicken, turkey, salmon, fortified cereal, bananas, potatoes and spinach all contain about half of a milligram or more per serving of vitamin B6, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that lung cancer is the most common form of the disease in men and women. It estimates that 158,600 Americans die each year from lung cancer.