Vitamin B6 and Fertility*
Will Vitamin B6 Help You Get Pregnant?
Vitamin B is a complex of eight distinct vitamins, each of which serves a unique purpose in terms of your health, and in many cases, your fertility level. Vitamin B6 is one such vitamin, which has been linked to fertility based on its contribution to the luteal phase of the ovulation cycle, as well as its ability to lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Lower levels of this amino acid are associated with higher rates of pregnancy. In addition, high levels have been shown to reduce sperm quality in men.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re at risk of a vitamin B6 deficiency, or how much B6 to take for fertility, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Vitamin B6 — And How Do You Know If You’re Deficient?
Like B12, vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in select foods. Although both of these vitamins are important for fertility, they each play a unique role in terms of your reproductive and overall health. Involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions, the importance of vitamin B6 should not be underestimated, especially since your body cannot produce it.
Some of the other functions and benefits of this vitamin include, but are not limited to:
- The metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
- The creation of neurotransmitters and red blood cells
- Mood regulation supporting the prevention of depression
- The potential prevention of anemia based on an increase in hemoglobin production
- Limiting symptoms of PMS, including irritability and fatigue
- Addressing inflammation1
To ensure that you are meeting your recommended daily intake, you will need to obtain vitamin B6 from foods and supplements. Some of the foods highest in vitamin B6 include:
- Turkey and chicken
- Tuna and salmon
- Sweet potatoes
While many people do get enough vitamin B6 in their diet, if you’re deficient in other B complex vitamins, such as folate and B12, you’re also likely deficient in B6. Some of the most common risk factors for vitamin B6 deficiency include having liver or kidney disease, having an autoimmune condition, and being obese.3 Alcoholics and smokers are also more prone to a deficiency.
If you are deficient, here are some of the potential warning signs:
- Skin rashes that are red and itchy
- Cracked, sore, and swollen lips
- Changes in mood, as B6 is involved in the production of several neurotransmitters
- Poor immune function (you may get sick more easily than usual)
- Tingling in your hands and feet4
What Does Vitamin B6 Do for Fertility?
Research shows that giving women vitamin B6 increases their chances of becoming pregnant. These are just some of the ways in which vitamin B6 positively impacts fertility levels5.
- When you obtain enough vitamin B6, along with B12 and folate, you are able to maintain low levels of homocysteine. As discussed, excess levels of this non-proteinogenic amino acid can compromise sperm quality, lowering your chances of conception. Low levels of vitamin B6 are also believed to impact egg quality.
- Vitamin B6 supports optimal levels of progesterone, a critical hormone that prepares your body for pregnancy. In contrast, if you do not get enough vitamin B6, this can lead to hormone imbalances, particularly estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that are essential for fertility.
- Vitamin B6 supports a healthy, regular menstrual cycle, making it easier for couples to track ovulation periods. This vitamin also supports the luteal phase, making a women’s uterus more receptive to pregnancy.
Adequate levels of vitamin B6 have also been shown to restore libido, helping couples increase their sex drive.
How Much B6 Should I Take for Fertility?
If you’re wondering how much vitamin B6 you and your partner should be taking to increase your chances of conception, the answer is, it depends. Recommended fertility dosages (in terms of supplementation) vary for both men and women based on their diet.
The daily dose of vitamin B6 that you need to aim for is 1.4 mg. Once you do conceive, vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting. Although you can discuss your specific needs with your doctor, you should take up to 1.9 mg during pregnancy.6
To ensure that you’re getting enough, the easiest and most efficient way to do so is through supplementation. For example, Impryl offers 1.4 mg per capsule.7 If you take this supplement and consume your regular daily intake of fruits, vegetables, and grains, you should have no issue meeting your needs.
Whether you have just started trying to become pregnant or have been trying to conceive for months without success, it is imperative that you work with your physician and actively address your reproductive health, especially in terms of your dietary needs and overall lifestyle.
Learn more about how you can improve your reproductive health today.
*NOTICE: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a potential medical condition.