Vitamin B complex is a group of eight different B vitamins, including B-6 and B-12, which can be taken together in a single vitamin supplement. B-6 and B-12 are both present in food sources such as meat, milk and cheese. Supplements containing B vitamins are generally considered safe as long as they're taken at the dosage recommended by a physician. Each B vitamin helps to convert food into energy, in addition to having its own unique functions in the human body. However, some V-complex vitamins -- including B-6 and B-12 -- also work together to maintain your health, so taking them together in supplements might offer some advantages.
Importance of Vitamin B-6
Vitamin B-6 is also known as pyridoxine, and it comes in three forms, pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxal is the most active in human metabolism, where it helps 100 different enzymes in the human body to function properly. Enzymes enabled by B-6 help in the formation of neurotransmitters that conduct messages between nerves and synthesize the iron-containing component of your red blood cells. B-6 helps to regulate the function of steroid hormones in your body and helps to synthesize nucleic acids that contribute to your genetic code.
Importance of Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is vital to the creation of healthy red blood cells. It also helps prevent damage to nerve cells, an effect believed to be related to B-12’s protective influence on the myelin sheath that insulates nerves. B-12 is also involved in the synthesis your genetic code. It helps create DNA, the genetic material that is found in each and every cell in your body.
Taking vitamins B-6 and B-12 together actually benefits your health, because both nutrients help regulate the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, in your bloodstream. Without vitamins B-6 and B-12, homocysteine accumulates to toxic levels, and these high levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Making sure you're getting enough of both vitamins helps prevent this toxic accumulation and benefits your health.
Consult your doctor if you believe you have a vitamin deficiency. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B-6 is 1.3 milligrams per day for individuals between the age of 19 and 50. After age 50 the recommended dosage is 1.5 milligrams for women and 1.7 milligrams for men. Pregnant women should take 1.9 milligrams of B-6 daily, and lactating women need 2.0 milligrams. A recommended dietary allowance of 2.4 micrograms of B-12 is recommended for those age 14 and over. Pregnant women need 2.6 micrograms of B-12 daily, and lactating women should take 2.8 micrograms per day.
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