Amino Acids, Vitamins and Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer risks may be lowered with vitamin B6 and methodine intake

(RxWiki News) Amino acids are the body's building blocks for protein. Essential amino acids, which aren't produced by our bodies, are found in meat, fish and dairy products that are involved in a number of different cell functions.

The amino acid methionine and vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, according to recent research.

"Tell your doctor about all vitamins and supplements you're taking."

Holly R. Harris, MD, of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues looked at the relationship between ovarian cancer and the intake of methionine, folate (a B vitamin), and vitamins B6 and B12 .

Earlier studies have shown that people who do not have enough of these nutrients tend to be at increased risk of breast, endometrial and colon cancer. On the other hand, another study associated high folic acid supplementation with a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Research looking at these nutrients and ovarian cancer has offered mixed insights.

For this investigation, researchers analyzed the impact of folate, methionine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and alcohol among 1,910 women with ovarian cancer and 1,989 women without the disease who served as controls.

The case-control study was conducted in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire between 1992 and 2008.

Diets were assessed from food frequency diaries participants kept by the subjects. The women were also asked to remember what their diet was a year before the diagnosis.

Researchers found that dietary vitamin B6 and methionine intake were inversely associated -- that is, those who had sufficient levels of these nutrients were on the lower end of the risk spectrum.

The dietary vitamin B6 association was strongest for serous borderline and serous invasive ovarian cancers.

The study found no associations between folate and ovarian cancer risk.

Researchers concluded that methionine and vitamin B6 may lower a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer.

This research, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Academy, was published in the August 2012 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Review Date: 
June 22, 2012