Many women of childbearing age, and particularly those who use oral contraceptives, have inadequate blood-levels of vitamin B6—even those who eat more than the recommended daily allowance—according to a study of more than 6,000 people published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Vitamin B6 helps synthesize brain chemicals and maintain healthy immune function, red-blood cells, metabolism and blood sugar levels. Fortified cereals, beans, meat, fish and bananas all contain B6.
“Levels in women of childbearing age were significantly lower than in males in approximately the same age group,” says epidemiologist and lead researcher, Martha Savaria Morris of Tufts University. More studies are needed to determine whether the recommended daily allowances of B6 need to be adjusted for some populations, she says, and whether certain groups, such as women who are or who have been on oral contraceptives, need a supplement to get enough.
Most multivitamins contain vitamin B6.
Just another reason to whip up some banana cinnamon muffins, I say! I like to make mine with half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. This recipe also has a cup of good-for-you oat bran.