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Why do I need vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, aids your body's metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It also helps convert amino acids and form new red blood cells, antibodies, and neurotransmitters, and is vital to your fetus's developing brain and nervous system. Research shows that the vitamin may relieve nausea or vomiting for some women during pregnancy, though no one knows for sure why it works.

How much do I need?

While you're pregnant, you'll need about 1.9 mg a day — about what you'd expect to get from eating a bowl of vitamin-fortified cereal. While nursing, your needs increase slightly to 2.0 mg.

Should I take a supplement?

You can get all you need from a varied diet. Most prenatal vitamins also contain at least 100 percent of the recommended amount. However, you can ask your practitioner about taking more if you're suffering from morning sickness.

What are the best food sources?

Brown rice, lean meats, poultry, fish, avocados, whole grains, beans, corn, and nuts are high in vitamin B6. Here are the amounts in some common foods:

* 1 medium banana: 0.7 mg
* 1 medium baked potato: 0.7 mg
* 1 slice watermelon: 0.7 mg
* 1 cup canned chickpeas: 0.6 mg
* 8 oz. prune juice: 0.6 mg
* 3 oz. chicken breast: 0.5 mg
* 3 oz. chicken liver: 0.5 mg

What are signs of a deficiency?

Inflammation of the tongue, sores or mouth ulcers, depression, and anemia may signal a deficiency, though severe deficiencies are rare.

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