Ultrasounds, shopping for cute newborn clothes and taking your daily prenatal vitamins…some of the best things about pregnancy! We’ve covered the in-depth topic of prenatal vitamins, but now let’s get a bit more specific…
Vitamin B6 benefits for nausea in pregnancy…why you need vitamin B6 during pregnancy?
What are the added benefits of vitamin B6 in your daily life? Where can I get natural sources of vitamin B6?
All those questions are answered below!
Table Of Contents
- 2 Let’s Start Simple: What is Vitamin B6?
- 3 How Much Vitamin B6 You Need
- 4 Can you get too many vitamin b6 benefits? In short, yes.
- 5 How Can I Get Vitamin B6 From My Food? Sources of Vitamin B6
- 6 The Signs of A Vitamin B6 Deficiency
- 7 I Am Not Getting Enough…Should You Take A Vitamin B6 Supplement?
- 8 Preeclampsia and Vitamin B6…What’s the Connection?
- 9 So…What is Preeclampsia?
- 10 How is Vitamin B6 Related to Preeclampsia?
- 12 Related Questions
Let’s Start Simple: What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is an important vitamin your body needs. It helps your body store and use energy from carbohydrates and proteins in foods. In other words, it helps turn food into energy you need to grow that little bean!
It also helps your body form hemoglobin, which is a red protein that carries oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin B6 is also vital to your baby’s developing nervous system and brain. The best part of B6 is that it can help reduce morning sickness during early pregnancy! (Yay!)
It has been proven effective for some women, and safe, although no one knows exactly how it works. Often, vitamin B6 is prescribed in much higher doses for the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
How Much Vitamin B6 You Need
You need to ensure you get enough vitamin B6 from your diet (and supplements) so that your little one can grow to be big and strong. You don’t have to get the daily amount of vitamin B6 every day.
Try to average the recommended daily amount over an entire week, instead.
Normally, the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B6 is:
- For women & men ages 19–50…….. 1.3 mg
- For men older than 50 ……………….. 1.7 mg
- For women older than 50……………. 1.3 mg
- For pregnant women………………….. 1.9 mg
- For breastfeeding women…………… 2.0 mg
Can you get too many vitamin b6 benefits?
In short, yes.
Daily doses of vitamin b6 over 100 mg per day do not appear to produce additional benefits, and very high doses (over 500 mg per day) have caused serious complications, such as nerve damage. The maximum recommended daily intake (meaning the most you should take) for adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women age 18+ is 100 mg per day.
In this study , there were NO increases in maternal adverse events, major malformations, miscarriages, or low birth weight, even when doses ranged from 50 mg to 510 mg. There was also no (statistical) difference in the risk of birth defects, between the women who took higher doses of vitamin B6, and those that did not.
How Can I Get Vitamin B6 From My Food? Sources of Vitamin B6
Foods high in vitamin B6 are actually more than you think. For example, eating just one cup of sunflower seeds provides you with 94% (1.88mg) of your vitamin b6 daily value.
Some other foods high in vitamin B6 include:
- Avocados …………….. 0.29mg or 33% DV per 100g
- Pistachio nuts …………….. 1.12mg or 56% DV per 100g
- Bananas …………….. 0.37mg or 18% DV per 100g
- Spinach …………….. 0.24mg or 12% DV per 100g
- Pork (lean, cooked) …………….. 0.79mg or 39% DV per 100g
- Fish (tuna, cooked) …………….. 1.04mg or 52% DV per 100g
- Beef (rib, cooked) …………….. 0.68mg or 34% DV per 100g
- Potato (cooked with skin) …………….. 0.37mg to 0.60mg per medium potato
- Sweet potato (cooked, with skin) …………….. 0.33mg per medium potato
- Oatmeal, (instant, cooked) …………….. 0.21–0.30mg per 3/4 cup prepared oatmeal
- Beans (soy and pinto, cooked) …………….. 0.30mg per 3/4 cup
Check out the infographic below for some more information on vitamin B6 rich foods that you can introduce into your daily diet.
The Signs of A Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Mild vitamin B6 deficiency is common. Treatment of mild vitamin B6 is pretty straightforward and doctors usually prescribe oral vitamin supplement.
Symptoms of mild vitamin B6 deficiency include:
- Anemia (hemoglobin deficiency)
- Cracks in skin around edges of mouth or a skin rash
- Depressed or confused
- More prone to infection
- Increased glucose intolerance 
Thankfully, severe vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon.
Those with certain chronic diseases (such as malabsorption) and alcoholics are at increased risk for vitamin B6 deficiency.
Some symptoms of severe vitamin B6 deficiency include:
- Irritable, depressed or confused
- Inflamed tongue
- Mouth sores or ulcers
- Cracks in skin around edges of mouth 
I Am Not Getting Enough…Should You Take A Vitamin B6 Supplement?
Vitamin B6 is found in both plant and animal-based foods. The specific form of vitamin B6 that is available in plant forms (pyridoxine glucoside), is about 50% bioavailable when compared to other sources of vitamin B6.
If you’re a vegetarian, you may need to supplement – most women eating a healthy and varied diet, do not need vitamin B6 supplementation for a healthy pregnancy. Of course, always follow the advice of your doctor or midwife.
Preeclampsia and Vitamin B6…What’s the Connection?
To talk about the connection between vitamin B6 and preeclampsia, let’s explain a bit more about what preeclampsia is. If it sounds familiar to you, that’s very possible – because it can begin after 20 weeks of pregnancy and effects about 5% of pregnant women. You may know someone who has had preeclampsia or your doctors have likely asked you questions regarding your health in relation to your risk of preeclampsia.
So…What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication involving primarily high blood pressure which leads to damage in organs (usually kidneys) and its precursor to eclampsia, which is a very serious condition that poses a threat to the health of the mother and her baby.
If you’re looking for more information on it, a helpful source I’ve found on the topic of preeclampsia is www.preeclampsia.org
Preeclampsia ranges from mild to severe, and it can progress slowly or change swiftly and acutely. This can actually even occur after delivery – although usually within 48 hours of giving birth. Your doctor or midwife will check for protein in your urine if they think you are at risk.
Your body may spill protein into your urine (proteinuria). Normally urine does not have any protein in it. During pregnancy, its okay to have a small amount of protein in your urine, so if you test positive don’t worry yet. Sometimes stress or infection can be the cause, and not preeclampsia.
The amount of protein matters, and your doctor or midwife will continue to check the level at each appointment.
Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- Two high blood pressure readings (140/90 mm Hg) at least 4 (four) hours apart
- Protein in urine or other symptoms of kidney problems
- Severe headache
- Severe or sudden swelling (edema) or weight gain – particularly in face and hands
(Note: Almost all women will suffer swelling in their feet during pregnancy – and this is normal. Its the rapid, excessive swelling that characterizes preeclampsia.)
- Shortness of breath (from extra fluid)
- Blurry vision or light sensitivity
- Pain in upper abdomen (under rib on the right side usually)
- Decreased urine output
- Nausea or vomiting
- Impaired kidney or liver functions
These may also put you at higher risk for preeclampsia:
- Women who are pregnant for the first time
- Women who have a family history of preeclampsia
- Women with a 10-year + gap between pregnancies
- Women who are over the age of 40 (or under the age of 20) are the right age for preeclampsia to be more common)
- Women who have suffered with preeclampsia in previous pregnancies
- Women who are obese before becoming pregnant (BMI of 30+)
- Women who are carrying multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc)
- An existing medical problem such as kidney disease or diabetes can also bring on preeclampsia
It’s important to treat your preeclampsia and follow your doctor’s or midwife’s orders especially if you’re ordered to bedrest.
You (and your baby’s) safety may be at risk…so listen, and rest.
The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery, so you want to be sure you make it as long as possible before delivery to give your little one the best chances at thriving.
Below are some mommy stories of this horrid situation:
How is Vitamin B6 Related to Preeclampsia?
Here’s where we get into the research.
Overall results of case studies like the ones found in this article suggest that vitamins (such as vitamin B6) can be helpful in reducing the risk of preeclampsia. Of course, taking into consideration your genetic risks for preeclampsia (as vitamins cannot change that), the studies look really promising.
More research has been done into the link of vitamins and preeclampsia, including this article from Sacred Vessel Acupuncture, talking about the dietary benefits that can help reduce your risk of preeclampsia also outline vitamin B6 (along with some others).
If you’re looking for a simplified explanation of vitamin B6 and how it affects your body, watch the video below!
What does vitamin B6 do?
Vitamin B6 is needed for proper brain development (particularly in fetuses or children) – it’s also critical for brain functionality in people of all ages.
What are benefits to taking vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 has been used to prevent or treat health conditions such as PMS, age related macular degeneration and nausea during pregnancy.
Is vitamin B6 in my prenatal vitamins?
While some prenatal vitamins have B6 in them, others do not – as we talked about in our prenatal vitamins deep dive post, not all prenatals are the same.
If you’re interested in taking vitamin B6 – why not bring it up with your doctor! They can either give you a prescription to prenatals that include the vitamin or suggest a healthy combination dose to take with your prenatals each morning.
What are the side effects of taking vitamin B6?
Side effects of vitamin B6 are as follows: sleepiness, headache, upset stomach, loss of appetite, sensitivity to light and tingling of the hands and feet. While rare, these can occur – and if they do, contact your doctor and stop your dose.
What foods are high in vitamin B6?
Foods containing vitamin B6 have been outlined above – but a few of them include pork, poultry, fish, bread, oatmeal, brown rice, eggs and soya beans.
How many mg of vitamin B6 is safe during pregnancy?
What a great question! While a table of safe mg vitamin dosages can be found in the article above – here’s a quick run down…most adult women under 50 should be taking 2.5 – 25mg of vitamin B6 every day.
Pregnant women experiencing nausea can take a dose in this range up to three times a day to ease nausea – but a person shouldn’t exceed 100mg per day.
Lets Rock YOUR Baby Bump Safely! Check out our resources for this article below.
 J Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Nov;26(8):749–51.
 Combs, G.F. The Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health. 2008. San Diego: Elsevier
 Leklem, J.E. Vitamin B6: Machlin L, ed. Handbook of Vitamins. New York: Marcel Decker Inc; 1991