Natural sources of vitamin B6 vary from animals to plants. It can be gotten from the daily meal you consume or through supplements. Either way, make sure you do not take more than the required daily quantity as an excess of vitaminB6 can cause permanent damage in some cases.
Vitamin B6 is one of the important vitamins needed by a pregnant woman to help herself and her baby live a healthy life. It imparts the health of the mother and child by influencing the production of red blood cells and help in the use of energy from proteins and carbohydrates.
Natural sources from which vitamin B6 can be gotten include poultry, pork, peanuts, bananas, oats, soy beans, and many more foods.
In this article, we will look in depth at these natural sources of vitamin B6. We will also see the importance of vitamin B6, what effect an excessive and inadequate consumption of this vitamin can have on you as a pregnant woman.
What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamins are regarded as micronutrients – nutrients needed by the body in little quantities for its continuous functioning – but important ones. There are two categories of vitamins, the water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. As their names imply, they can be dissolved either in water or in fats, depending on what category they belong.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. It is sometimes called Pyridoxine and it is important in helping the body function properly. Although it is an important nutrient, it cannot be produced by the body and needs to be supplied through our diet. While some people can get the daily requirement through their diet, others need supplements to help them meet this daily requirement.
The amount of vitamin B6 you need also increases when you are pregnant. This, therefore, means it might be impossible for you to meet the daily requirement since you will mostly be affected by the symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea – which makes you unable to eat as much as you used to or would like to.
Vitamin B6 is the nutrient that helps in the breaking down of proteins and carbohydrates to release energy needed by the body to function appropriately. It is also responsible, in part, for the production of red blood cells that transport oxygen from the lungs to the body cells. Further importance of vitamin B6 is discussed below.
Why is Vitamin B6 Important?
The fact that it helps in the production of red blood cells and ensures that metabolism takes place is enough importance because, let’s face it. Can anyone of us survive without oxygen getting to our cells, or can we remain alive when we can’t break down and utilize the energy in the food we consume?
However, there are other are other importance vitamin B6 has.
Prevents and treats anemia
Vitamin B6 is a part of the nutrients that help in the generation of new red blood cells. A shortage or inadequacy of red blood cells leads to an anemic condition. This means that when there is a shortage of vitamin B6, there will consequently be a shortage of red blood cells.
To avoid an anemic condition, especially when pregnant, consume enough natural sources of vitamin B6.
Treats nausea in pregnancy
Morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy and it is characterized by the feeling of nausea. One of the most effective means of treating this symptom is through medication, Diclegis is an example. The medications that treat morning sickness usually contain vitamin B6.
The reason behind its effect on morning sickness is still unknown but it is likely linked to the fact that it helps to ensure and healthy pregnancy.
Improves mood and fights against depression
Women are no stranger to mood swings and mild depression. Sometimes, it is part of the signs that they are some days to their menstrual period – premenstrual syndrome. However, it can be uncomfortable going through this time of the month.
An effective way to elevate the mood is by consuming foods rich in Vitamin B6 such as bananas. They help to increase the blood sugar level and reducing the level of homocysteine in the blood.
It could also be due to the fact that vitamin B6 is useful in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that regulate emotions.
Promotes brain function
Homocysteine causes a decline in brain function when they accumulate in the blood. Vitamin B6 helps the body get rid of homocysteine and this, inadvertently, keeps the brain functioning well.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 can be found in many foods that we eat every day. It is present in animal-sourced foods as well as plant-sourced foods. However, the quantity of vitamin B6 each source contains differ. Here is a table showing the natural sources of vitamin B6 and how much they contain.
|Food Item||Concentration (100g)|
|Green Peas||0.2 mg|
|Chicken liver||0.84 mg|
|Sweet Potato||0.2 mg|
Effect of Inadequate or Excessive Amount of Vitamin B6 During Pregnancy
How much vitamin B6 you require is determined by your health condition and age. Generally, in adults, it is recommended that they consume 2.5 – 25 mg of vitamin B6 daily. While in infants, 0 – 6 months old should take 0.1 mg daily; 7 – 12 months old, 0.3 mg per day; 1 – 3 years old, 0.5 mg per day; 4 – 8 years old, take 0.6 mg daily; 9 – 13 years old, 1 mg daily.
Pregnant women are required to take 1.9 mg daily and breastfeeding mothers, 2.0 mg daily.
Despite these recommendations, it is considered safe to take up to 30 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg for each category of children beginning from 1 year old. Adults, pregnant, and breast-feeding mothers can take up to 100 mg.
Beyond this upper limit of dosage, there is a risk of developing brain and nerve damage, if you consume more than excess recommendation daily. Although the effect might be reversed once the consumption stops, it can remain permanent in some cases.
Inadequate consumption of vitamin B6 during pregnancy may lead to poor nervous system formation, poor eye development, insufficient red blood cells leading to anemia in the baby. For the mother, morning sickness, dizziness and fatigue.
Vitamin B6 is an important vitamin. It helps in the provision of energy for the body’s use and it aids in the production of reed blood cells which is important in the transport of oxygen to the cells for aerobic respiration.
During pregnancy, it is important that you take adequate amount of vitamin B6 to aid in the health and development of your baby. However, be mindful of the dosages you consume. Better still, consult your doctor before you purchase and use it as a supplement. You are better off taking natural sources of vitamin B6 if you can.
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Ayomide, is a Health professional, who has worked in most healthcare unit and has a background in Nursing.