3 Benefits of Vitamin B6 for Fertility
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s probable that you’re already taking folate or have been advised to do so, but did you know there are benefits of vitamin B6 for fertility outcomes?
Folate is a kind of B vitamin that is beyond doubt crucial for fertility, but it’s not the only B vitamin that you need when trying to get pregnant. Pyridoxine, also known as vitamin B6, is another essential component of your preconception nutritional requirements. A systematic review of over 90,000 healthy women found that those who had higher B6 levels had a statistically significantly higher likelihood of conceiving. Vitamin B6 is one of those vitamins that influences fertility in more ways than one.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of vitamin B6 for fertility.
What is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6, is one of 8 B vitamins. Its main function is to assist in the production of neurotransmitters, which transmit signals between nerve cells. In addition, it is crucial for normal brain development and function. Furthermore, it aids the body in producing hormones, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, that affect our mood and regulate our body clock. It’s worth noting that all B vitamins are water-soluble meaning they cannot be stored in the body.
1.Maintains Healthy Cervical Mucosa
Research suggests that Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in maintaining healthy cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is imperative for the survival and transportation of sperm to the egg. The theory is that vitamin B6 supports the use of estrogen specifically within the cervix promoting the production of this vital mucus. This substance not only assists in the transportation of sperm but also provides nourishment and protection to both the egg and sperm.
2.Regulation of Homocysteine
Vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12 are essential in regulating homocysteine levels in the body. The metabolism of homocysteine is significantly influenced by Vitamins B9, B6 and B12. Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in maintaining low levels of homocysteine to prevent complications. High concentrations of homocysteine can lead to detrimental effects such as premature birth, neural tube defects, fetal development restrictions, miscarriages, and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Moreover, a study conducted on more than 200 women revealed that Vitamin B6 supplementation positively impacted pregnancy outcomes by lowering homocysteine levels.
3.Reduces Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Did you know that approximately 70% of expectant mothers experience symptoms of morning sickness in the first trimester? The positive aspect is worth highlighting that vitamin B6 has been found to be effective in reducing nausea associated with morning sickness. The Academy of American Family Physicians recommends vitamin B6 as the first line of defense to alleviate morning sickness. Multiple studies have proven that vitamin B6 is beyond doubt more effective in reducing pregnancy nausea and vomiting compared to dimenhydrinate (a medicine for nausea) and placebos. In fact, one mid-size study involving 60 pregnant women discovered that those with morning sickness have significantly less Vitamin b6 in circulation than those with levels within range.
- Luckily, vitamin B6 deficiency is rare since the recommended daily intake is only 1.3mg, or 1.9mg if pregnant. As vitamin B6 is found in a wide range of foods you can get enough of this valuable vitamin from your diet.
- Foods rich in vitamin B6 include:
- Chickpeas, beef liver, yellowfin tuna, salmon, chicken, fortified cereal, turkey, bananas, bulgar, cottage cheese, nuts, onions, spinach, tofu, watermelon
- You can also obtain vitamin B6 from supplements. It is safe to consume up to 50mg daily.
- 25 mg every 8 hours for pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting is usually recommended.
- Doses up to 200 mg/day appear to be tolerated by most but it can cause hypotension.
- Available as pyridoxine and pyridoxal 5- 5-phosphate (coenzyme form)
- Heat: Vitamin B6 is destroyed by heat, so cooking foods containing this vitamin can reduce its content.
- Alcohol: Chronic alcohol abuse can lower plasma levels of pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the coenzyme form of vitamin B6.
- Refined sugars: Intake of refined sugars can also affect vitamin B6 levels, as high consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars can drain the B vitamins required for proper functioning.