Vitamin B Complex: A Special Focus On Pregnant Women
Vitamins are a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism. Vitamin B complex, originally thought to be a single vitamin, has now been separated into several B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
These vitamins display an interplay of many components which play a significant part in the metabolic activities of cells, for example, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps in metabolism of proteins, fats, generation of RBC, antibodies etc. while vitamin B12 (cobalamin) facilitates in keeping the DNA intact.
These vitamins are quite crucial, especially during the time of pregnancy. At times, more than one member of the vitamin B complex works on the same piece of work viz. vitamin B6, B9 & B12, all collectively help in the formation of RBC and also aids to keep the hemoglobin count high! Similarly, out of all, vitamin B6, B9 and B12 plays crucial roles in pregnancy. It is highly recommended for all pregnant women to stick to the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) to keep herself and her baby healthier and stronger. Some of the vitamins which are specifically significant in pregnancy are discussed below:
Pyridoxine (B6): It aids in protein, carbohydrate & fat metabolism. It also helps in absorbing and metabolizing amino acids along with formation of red blood cells, neurotransmitters & antibodies. It is also very significant for the fetal brain and spine development. Studies have proved that proper amount of B6 relive vomiting or nausea in women during pregnancy. The recommended dietary allowances for vitamin B6 ranges from 1.3 to 2 mg, which further depends on various factors like age, sex etc. Its Deficiency may result in skin disorders, nausea, anemia, smooth tongue, dizziness, convulsions, and kidney stones.
Folic acid (B9): It assists in formation of hemoglobin, helps in treating anemia and sprue (a chronic disorder in which nutrients are not absorbed by the body. It occurs in tropical and non-tropical forms in both children and adults). Consuming adequate folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent Neural Tube Disorders which are the birth defects related to brain & spine malformation in the newborns. They include several well characterized disorder like spinal bifida, anencephaly and encephalocele. The RDA for both men and women is 0.4mgs/day, but pregnant women should have at least 0.6mgs of folic acid a day. The deficiency of folic acid may kick in a cascade of several disorders like, atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, cervical and colon cancer, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, cleft lip and palate, hearing loss, and of course, neural tube defects (NTD).
Cobalamin or Cyanocobalamin (B12): It assists in the formation of red blood cells and well-functioning of nervous system. It is excreted into the liver and is passed into bowel where it is reabsorbed by intestines. If body fails to reabsorb the sufficient quantities, it may lead to a disorder called pernicious anemia. It also assists in the healthy development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. The RDA for adult males and females is 0.5to 1.0 mg per day
Pyridoxine & cobalamin also acts as catalysts in the proper functioning of folic acid. Although requirements for vitamins are modest, these molecules are absolutely in nutritionally adequate diet. The subject of vitamin dosage has aroused a heated debate. Research is far from complete and the debate continues. All that be said with any certainty is that people who eat a balanced diet are Not likely to develop symptoms of vitamin deficiency!