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Pregnancy Articles

Vitamin B-6: Boosts Brain, Energy

Other Key Nutrients for Moms-to-Be

Vitamin B-6 (also known as pyridoxine) helps brain function and helps the body convert protein to energy. It is also needed for the production of red blood cells and antibodies. It also helps form new neurotransmitters, which is very important for your fetus. Though no one knows why, B-6 can help alleviate nausea and morning sickness.

Meats, whole grain products, watermelon, bananas, green leafy vegetables, pecans, eggs, and milk are excellent sources of B-6.

Women require 1.6 mg (milligrams) of B-6 daily. However, daily intake of over 250 mg can lead to nerve damage. Pregnant women should not take more than 1.9 mg, and nursing moms should take no more than 2.0 due to harm that pyridoxine can have on the developing fetus. As a water-soluble vitamin, B-6 must be replenished each day. Any B-6 not used is eliminated in urine, thus new sources are always needed.

Food Source Milligrams (% RDA) 
Breakfast cereal (fortified with 100% of the DV for B-6 per serving), 3/4 cup 2 (100%)
Baked Potato 0.7 (35%)
Banana 0.68 (34%)
Prune juice, 8 ounces 0.6 (30%)
Garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup 0.57 (26%)
Chicken breast, 1/2 breast 0.52 (26%)
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, 1 packet 0.5 (25%)
Pork, 3 ounces 0.42 (20%)
Roast beef, 3 ounces 0.32 (16%)
Rainbow trout*, 3 ounces 0.29 (14.5%)
Sunflower seeds, 1 ounces 0.23 (11.5%)
Tomato juice, 6 ounces 0.2 (10%)
Avocado, sliced, 1/2 cup 0.2 (10%)
Salmon, 3 ounces 0.19 (9.5%)
Tuna*, canned, 3 ounces 0.19 (9.5%)
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons 0.15 (7.5%)
Spinach, 1/2 cup 0.14 (7%)
Lima beans, 1/2 cup 0.1 (5%)


* Albacore (white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. When choosing the recommended two meals of fish and shellfish a week during pregnancy, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna. Find more information on eating fish and seafood during pregnancy.

This article was reviewed by Tanya Jolliffe, a BabyFit healthy eating expert.

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