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Cheers to vitamin B6

Getting adequate amounts of vitamin B6—available in fortified cereals, beans, meat, poultry, fish and some fruits and vegetables—may help women prevent colorectal cancer, especially if they consume alcohol.

Swedish researchers analyzed data spanning nearly 15 years from more than 61,000 cancer-free women between ages 40 and 76. They found that women with the highest levels of vitamin B6 were 34 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than women with the lowest levels—and 72 percent less likely to develop the disease if they drank at least two alcoholic drinks a week.

A healthy diet (for men and for women who aren’t pregnant or lactating) includes between 1.3 mg and 1.7 mg of vitamin B6 a day. A vitamin B6 deficiency may cause cancerous polyps to develop in the colon, one study author suggested.