The World Health Organization says it’s “deeply concerned” about the increasing prevalence of B6 deficiency in the United States, where the drugmaker Novartis says it will increase production capacity.
But the company says the move will help keep the market for B6 up in the long term.
The WHO says the situation is not yet “unbearable.”
The report from the agency’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the drug company Novartes has announced plans to increase production of B12-based vitamin B12 supplements in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The U.K.-based firm has said it will start to produce B12 in the coming weeks.
Novartus says it is currently making B12 from the vitamin in a lab, and that the company expects to ramp up production in the next two years.
“It is extremely important that we ensure that the global market for this vitamin is sustainable,” said Novartas Chief Executive Officer Jeroen Meijer in a statement.
The company’s B12 plans will not affect the FDA’s approval of B vitamins, which the agency has said are safe and effective for treating conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
The FDA’s decision could affect other vitamin B vitamin manufacturers as well.
“There is a growing body of evidence that B vitamins can be more effective in treating the symptoms of diseases that are associated with vitamin B 12 deficiency, such as diabetes, hypertension, and COPD,” said the FDA in a blog post on Friday.
“These B vitamins have also shown efficacy in treating diseases in which vitamin B deficiency is common, including type 2 diabetes and COPd.”
The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (Fao) says vitamin B 6 is a vitamin, not a nutrient.
The Fao says the world needs to make vitamin B supplementation as available as possible, while recognizing that it is also a critical nutrient to the health of people.
“The WHO also notes that many vitamin B vitamins are not listed as essential for the prevention of disease,” the agency wrote.
Novas own stock has fallen 17% since its IPO in 2015, as its competitors have been able to ramp production of the B12.