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B-6 and B-12 Benefits

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
B-6 and B-12 Benefits
Beef and roasted veggies in a salad. Photo Credit: Tetiana_Chudovska/iStock/Getty Images

Your body requires a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function optimally. Vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 are two of eight B vitamins your body needs. While these vitamins work together, they also provide their own benefits individually. If you consume a well-balanced diet, you're likely getting enough of these vitamins. A B-6 deficiency is rare, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, but older adults and vegans are at risk of a B-12 deficiency.

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B-6 Benefits

A wide variety of foods supply vitamin B-6, including chickpeas, fish, potatoes, bananas, cottage cheese, poultry and meat. B-6 plays a role in cognitive function, and it is also involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions. Along with B-12, B-6 helps control homocysteine, a substance that when high is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

B-12 Benefits

You get B-12 from fish, cheese, dairy, meat and eggs, as well as from fortified cereals. Vitamin B-12 plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells. Because B-12 helps your body convert carbohydrates from what you eat into fuel, low levels of the vitamin can lead to fatigue. You also need B-12 for healthy nerve function, so a deficiency may lead to nerve damage. In addition, vitamin B-12 promotes healthy neurological function and DNA production, and it's also needed for normal brain function.

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