High levels of vitamin B6 prior to falling pregnant may boost conception rates and reduce the odds of losing the baby during early pregnancy, suggests new research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
If the results are repeated in more studies in other populations around the world, it may see vitamin B6 force an extension of the current cogs of pregnancy nutrition: folic acid, calcium with vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
"We found that poor preconception vitamin B6 status was associated with increased risk of early pregnancy loss and reduced probabilities of conception and clinical pregnancy in a prospective cohort of young Chinese women," wrote lead author Alayne Ronnenberg from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
"This study underscores the potential importance of micronutrient status at the time of conception on pregnancy outcome."
The researchers, from U of M Amherst, University of Illinois, Harvard Medical School, Anhui Medical University (China), Northwestern University, and Children's Memorial Hospital and Children's Memorial Research Center, looked at the B vitamin status (folate, B6 and B12) of 364 women (average age 24.9, average BMI 19.8 kg per sq. m) working in the textile industry in Anqing, China.
The women were included if they conceived at least once during prospective observation (1996-1998) and provided daily urine samples over a 12-month period. The urine was tested for human chorionic gonadatropin (hCG) to detect conception and early pregnancy loss.
Ronnenberg and co-workers report that women with sufficient vitamin B6 levels increased the odds of conception by 120 per cent, and halved the odds for early pregnancy loss.
They also report that sufficient levels of B6 improved the odds of conception by 40 per cent and lowered the odds for early pregnancy loss by 30 per cent, compared to women with B6 deficiency.
Bonnie - well, well, well! For those of you who have seen me over the years for prenatal and pregnancy counseling, you know that B-6, in particular the co-enzymatic form Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate, is a staple of my nutrient regimen. I cannot tell you how elated I am with this study.