Dietary vitamin B6 supplementation attenuates hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Dietary vitamin B6 supplementation attenuates hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats

S. Vaasdev, C.A. Ford, S. Parai, L. Longerich and V. Gadag

In spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) excess endogenous aldehydes bind sulfhydryl groups of membrane proteins, altering membrane Ca2+ channels, increasing cytosolic free calcium and blood pressure. N-acetyl cysteine normalizes elevated blood pressure in SHRs by binding excess endogenous aldehydes. It is known that dietary vitamin B6 supplementation can increase the level of endogenous cysteine. Our objective was to investigate whether a dietary supplementation of vitamin B6 can prevent hypertension and associated changes in SHRs. Starting at 7 weeks of age, animals were divided into three groups of six animals each. Animals in WKY-control group and SHR-control group were given a normal vitamin B6 diet; and SHR-vitamin B6 group, a high vitamin B6 diet (20 times the recommended dietary intake; RDA) for the next 14 weeks. After 14 weeks, systolic blood pressure, platelet [Ca2+]i and liver, kidney and aortic aldehyde conjugates were significantly higher in SHR controls compared to WKY controls. These animals also showed smooth muscle cell hyperplasia in the small arteries and arterioles of the kidneys. Dietary vitamin B6 supplementation attenuated the increase in systolic blood pressure, tissue aldehyde conjugates and associated changes. These results further support the hypothesis that aldehydes are involved in increased systolic blood pressure in SHRs and suggest that vitamin B6 supplementation may be an effective antihypertensive.

An aldehyde, specifically acetaldehyde, is a metabolic product of the metabolism of ethanol, i.e. drinking alcohol causes a rise in acetaldehyde levels. Chronic drinking is also known to raise blood pressure, so maybe it’s the acetaldehyde that causes that. This study suggests that vitamin B6 and/or n-acetylcysteine supplementation may ameliorate the rise in blood pressure seen in chronic alcohol consumption. Worth a try, I’d say.


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Christopher says July 3, 2016

Dear PD Mangan,

A fitness blog contends that it is impossible to build muscle without adequate levels of Vitamin B6 (I can’t provide blog link – have since lost it and can’t find now, sorry). Are you able to advise if this contention is accurate? It is the first time I have come across this contention.

If contention is accurate, it would seem to make sense to measure B6 levels and understand if one needs to increase B6 levels.

Thanks in advance,


    P. D. Mangan says July 3, 2016

    The contention is probably correct, but the question is, how many people are deficient in B6, and/or does providing supraphysiological doses of it improve muscle growth? My guess is that few people who eat a decent diet are deficient, and extra B6 would do nothing. B6 combined with leucine does, however, help fat loss.

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