Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin found in various foods such as fish, whole grains, and bananas.
A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition has suggested that the vitamin B6 can have potential in dealing the cytokine storms associated with COVID-19 and may lower the odds of patients becoming severely ill with the disease. The study was conducted by investigators from Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life.
"Recently, many scientists have published papers regarding the role of diets and nutrients in the protection against COVID-19,” Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee, an associate professor at the University of Hiroshima said. “However, very few scientists are paying attention to the important role of vitamin B6.”
Vitamin B6 is known for its protection against thrombosis and inflammation, and deficiency of it has been associated with a lower immune function and an increased susceptibility to various types of viral infections.
Thrombosis and cytokine storms have been closely linked to severe illness in those who have an infection with COVID-19. Cytokine storms develop when the immune system goes into overdrive and begins to attack healthy cells and thrombosis can block capillaries, leading to vital organs being damaged.
The team behind the study pointed to a growing body of evidence which shows that vitamin B6 can help to protect against chronic illness like diabetes and cardiovascular disease by suppressing inflammation, inflammasomes, oxidative stress, and carbonyl stress.
"Coronaviruses and influenza are among the viruses that can cause lethal lung injuries and death from acute respiratory distress syndrome worldwide,” the authors said. “Viral infections evoke a 'cytokine storm,' leading to lung capillary endothelial cell inflammation, neutrophil infiltration, and increased oxidative stress.”
The team hopes that their research can be a first step in proving that vitamin B6 has potential to significantly aid in the fight against the ongoing pandemic.
"Vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system. Its levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. We can see from the news that obese and diabetic people are at high risk for COVID-19," Kumrungsee said. "Thus, our attempt in this paper is to shed light on the possible involvement of vitamin B6 in decreasing the severity of COVID-19."