We must keep the FDA from turning a vital nutrient over to Big Pharma. An important study finds that carbidopa, a standard Parkinson’s drug, “irreversibly binds to and permanently deactivates” pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (P5P), a key form of vitamin B6 in the body. The authors describe the essential role P5P plays in the body: “[P5P] is required for the function of over 300 enzymes and proteins. Virtually every major system of the body is impacted directly or indirectly by [it].” You’re not likely to hear from a conventional doctor how this drug destroys a vital nutrient in your body, just as you’re unlikely to hear how a host of other drugs interfere with the body’s absorption of key vitamins and minerals. (The FDA hasn’t approved alternative therapies for Parkinson’s, such as focused ultrasound, even though it is approved for similar conditions.) Actually, the FDA would prefer you to take your B6 in the form of a drug. You may recall the case of pyridoxamine, one of three bioavailable forms of vitamin B6. This vitamin has many health benefits; indeed, we could not live without B6. Notwithstanding, in 2009 the FDA banned the supplement form of pyridoxamine in response to a petition from a drug company, which wanted to use it in a drug formulation. P5P faces a similar threat. The FDA is considering a petition from Medicure Pharma to ban P5P because the company wants to turn this crucial vitamin into a drug. This is especially scary—all forms of B6, natural or synthetic, must be converted to P5P for the body to use them. If the FDA approves the petition, anyone who is not able to convert synthetic B6 to P5P would have to rely solely on Medicure’s product to stay alive.

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