Your body requires extensive variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function optimally. Vitamins B-6 and B-12 are two of eight B vitamins that the body needs. While they work together, they also provide their own benefits individually. If you eat a well-balanced diet, it is very likely that you get enough of these vitamins. A deficiency of vitamin B-6 is rare, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, but older adults and vegans are at risk for a deficiency of vitamin B-12.
Benefits of B-6
A wide variety of foods provide vitamin B-6, including chickpeas, fish, potatoes, bananas, cheese, and meats. B-6 plays a role in cognitive function, and is also involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions. Along with B-12, it helps control homocysteine, a substance that when found in high concentrations is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Benefits of B-12
You get B-12 from fish, cheese, dairy products, meat and eggs, as well as fortified cereals. Vitamin B-12 plays a crucial role in the metabolism of energy and the production of red blood cells. Because B-12 helps the body convert carbohydrates from what you eat into fuel, low levels of the vitamin can lead to fatigue. B-12 is also necessary for healthy nerve function, so a deficiency can lead to nerve damage. In addition, vitamin B-12 promotes healthy neurological function and DNA production, and is also necessary for normal brain function.