When you're pregnant, your vitamin intake becomes incredibly important.
Your growing baby is relying on you to get all of the nutrients they need for their development — talk about pressure!
And if you, like most people, haven't paid much attention to your vitamin intake before getting pregnant, then this new vitamin-based health regime can be a little overwhelming.
While the importance of vitamin C and vitamin D might ring a bell, what about vitamin B6?
This lesser-known vitamin is actually pretty important for your developing baby's health and comes with some neat benefits for you as well.
But don't worry if you haven't heard of vitamin B6 before — we're here to take you through everything that you need to know about this important B vitamin.
What is vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is one of the eight B vitamins that your body needs to function properly.
This vitamin supports over 100 different enzyme reactions within your body and is responsible for some pretty important processes in the brain, central nervous system, immune system and metabolism.
In your brain, vitamin B6 creates chemical messengers, such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, that are required for healthy brain function.
This also means that this vitamin plays an important role in regulating your energy, sleep pattern and even your moods.
This vitamin is also responsible for turning everything that you eat into energy, meaning that it's essential to the function of your metabolism.
But that's not all, vitamin B6 is also really important for all of your cell functions and it helps the body create haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body
Basically, this isn't a vitamin that you don't want to go without.
Why do you need vitamin B6 during pregnancy?
The nutrients you consume in pregnancy become even more important than before as your body is now responsible for keeping you healthy while also supporting the growth and development of your unborn baby.
This is why it's important to pay attention to your nutrition while pregnant, which includes your vitamin B6 intake.
This handy B vitamin is critical for the development of your baby's brain, nervous system and metabolism while continuing to support your own healthy blood glucose levels and immune system function as well.
It has also been shown to prevent a number of common problems in newborns, including low birth weight and some skin conditions, such as eczema.
What role does vitamin B6 play in treating nausea and vomiting?
Pregnancy nausea affects up to 85 percent of pregnant people during their first trimester, and anyone who's experienced a bout of morning sickness will know just how debilitating it can be.
The good news is that studies have shown that taking vitamin B6 can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
This is why it's often prescribed to pregnant people who suffer from the more dangerous form of pregnancy nausea known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
For this condition, vitamin B6 can even greatly reduce the likelihood of hospitalisation and severe dehydration.
How much vitamin B6 do pregnant people need?
It's not uncommon for a pregnant person to have lower vitamin B6 levels than usual (you are sharing with your baby after all) but annoyingly, the demands of pregnancy are also when you need the benefits of vitamin B6 the most.
This is why a pregnant person requires a little more vitamin B6 than a non-pregnant adult.
With so much to think about, we know pregnancy can be a little overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be. Kin's Pregnancy Checklist consists of bite-sized checklist items personalised to your pregnancy journey. Approved by fertility specialists and OBYGN approved, you'll feel prepared to tackle each day as it comes and enjoy the process, rather than get lost in it.
How much vitamin B6 should a pregnant person take?
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that your body will release any excess in your urine.
Unfortunately, it also means that your body can't rely on any backup stores of the vitamin and instead, requires you to get enough of it on a daily basis.
While most healthy adults can get enough vitamin B6 from dietary sources, a pregnant person may need an additional source to get their required daily dose and this usually comes in the form of a prenatal vitamin.
Vitamin B6 is one of 12 essential ingredients packed into Kin's Prenatal Vitamins.
It comes in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride, which is readily water soluble and easily absorbed by the body, so you can reap the nausea-busting effects.
Most importantly, Kin's Prenatal contains just one milligram of vitamin B6 to ensure that you don't go over your recommended daily dose or experience any nasty side effects.
This way, you can enjoy your regular dietary sources of vitamin B6, all while getting that extra important boost to prevent morning sickness.
Do pregnant people need to take vitamin B6 supplements?
Most pregnant people will get enough vitamin B6 from a combination of diet and prenatal vitamins, and it's very unlikely that you will need any further dietary supplements.
In fact, it can be quite dangerous to take more than the recommended amount of vitamin B6 and studies have shown that taking high doses of vitamin B6 over a long-term period can even lead to nerve damage, numbness and other painful neurological symptoms.
The only instance where a doctor may recommend further supplementation of vitamin B6 is when it's required to relieve nausea or vomiting during pregnancy.
However, if your morning sickness doesn't require hospitalisation, the dosage in your prenatal vitamin should be more than enough.
Most experts agree that it's best for a pregnant person and their developing baby to get the recommended intake of vitamin B6 from a combination of food sources and a high-quality prenatal vitamin.
The best food sources of vitamin B6
One of the best ways to get your daily intake of vitamin B6 is by eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Vitamin B6 is conveniently found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, seafood and fortified foods like cereals, making it relatively easy to enjoy the vitamin on a daily basis.
Dietary sources of vitamin B6 include the following:
- Fruits: Bananas, watermelons, raisins and papaya
- Vegetables: Spinach, squash, onion and potatoes
- Grains, pulses and beans: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, and rice
- Meat: Beef, chicken and turkey
- Seafood: Fish like salmon and tuna
- Dairy: Cottage cheese
- Other: Tofu, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals
Regularly incorporating some of these food sources into your diet while pregnant can help you reach your recommended daily dosage and prevent any vitamin B6 deficiencies from occurring.
Can low vitamin B6 intake cause miscarriage?
Having low vitamin B6 levels during pregnancy is highly unlikely to cause a miscarriage.
While some studies have shown that having low vitamin B6 levels alongside low folate and vitamin B12 levels may increase the risk of miscarriage, it's unlikely that low vitamin B6 levels will increase the risk.
Severe vitamin B6 deficiencies are actually more likely to lead to sores, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the tongue, anaemia, irritability, nervousness and depression.
However, it's important to note that while pregnancy can lead to lower levels of vitamin B6, severe deficiencies in vitamin B6 are still extremely rare.
For most pregnant women, the combination of a balanced diet, along with a high-quality prenatal vitamin is all you need for a healthy pregnancy outcome.