Friday, 28 December 2018

Ginger and Vitamin B6 for Morning Sickness

Article by Ann Walker

Both vitamin B6 and ginger have often been suggested by practitioners for morning sickness of pregnancy. But which is the most effective? Clinical studies have been carried out on each of these with some success. For example, as far back as1995, a large double-blind, placebo-controlled study of vitamin B6 with 342 pregnant women volunteers showed positive effects (PMID: 7573262). By the same token, a well-designed trial (PMID: 11275030) of 70 pregnant women showed that ginger significantly reduced nausea and vomiting. However, three studies attempting to compare these two treatments had mixed results and all suffered the design flaw of not having a placebo comparison ‘arm’.

Like a lot of research on herbal medicine published over the last few years, this latest study (PMID: 28629250) comes from Iran, but this time in collaboration with the University of Southampton, UK. Over a four-day period, a total of 77 pregnant women with morning sickness were randomised into three groups to take either ginger, vitamin B6 or a placebo. Progress was assessed using a validated questionnaire. The overall scores for nausea were decreased in all groups but ginger and vitamin B6 were both more effective than placebo, although there was no difference between them. Nevertheless, as far as the volunteers’ own experience was concerned, ginger was more effective than B6 in reducing both the incidence of vomiting and the intensity and distress of nausea.

Clearly, both natural medicines can be helpful in morning sickness, but what is needed now is a trial with vitamin B6 and ginger taken together to see whether the combination has additive or synergistic effects.

PMID = PubMed identifier

Ann Walker PhD, FCPP, MNIMH, RNutr
Course Director DHM
Herbal Practitioner