Early-Stage Discoveries: Vitamin B6, Omega-6/3, Taurine
Good results in the lab can lead to larger human trials. Here are some of the most promising recent findings.
Vitamin B6 in Covid-19
Vitamin B6 has links to immunity, with low levels typical in chronic inflammatory conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, making people more susceptible to Covid-19.
Covid-19 mainly enters the body by binding to lung and respiratory-tract cell receptors, which can cause a hyper-inflammatory “cytokine storm,” and blood clots.
In the lab, deficiency in vitamin B6 raised chances for pneumonia and viral infections. Supplementing with B6 increased immune antibody production, reduced reactive oxygen species, and had anti-clotting properties, all of which can decrease the severity of Covid-19.
Reference: Frontiers in Nutrition; 2020, 562051, Published Online
Mom’s omega-6/3 imbalance predicts obesity
At a certain time during pregnancy, the fetus’ brain develops neurons that produce dopamine, a nerve-transmitter which stimulates reward-motivating behavior. In the lab, when pregnant mice ate an imbalanced diet high in omega-6 and low in omega-3, dopamine levels increased in the developing fetus’ brain, leading to the tendency for the offspring to overconsume calories. Offspring from mothers who ate a balanced omega-6/omega-3 diet did not overconsume calories, suggesting that adults that gorge on calories are programming their offspring to do the same.
Reference 2: Communications Biology; 2020, Vol. 3, No. 1, 473
Taurine triggers gut memory
Taurine helps the body digest fats and occurs naturally in the gut. Doctors know that gut microbiota—microorganisms that are part of the immune system—can protect against infection, but until now, did not know how. In the lab, mice fed taurine resisted infection when exposed to a pneumonia-like antibiotic-resistant bacterium. Doctors transferred these microbiota to germ-free mice, who were then able to resist the pneumonia-like infection. Doctors were able to identify an infection-fighting bacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, triggered by taurine.
Reference 3: Cell; 2021, Vol. 184, No. 3, 615-27