A recent study on vitamin B6 and B12's roles in health may have you asking, are vitamins B6 and B12 for me? Let’s check out the facts:
VITAMINS B6 & B12 ARE COMMONLY CONSUMED, AND FOUND NATURALLY IN THE DIET
Vitamins B6 and B12 are vitamins that are found naturally in a wide variety of commonly consumed foods:
- VITAMIN B6: Fish, beef, liver, potatoes, and fruit (excluding citrus).
- VITAMIN B12: Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.
We also obtain vitamins B6 and B12 from fortified cereals, as well as dietary supplements, including multivitamins, B-complex vitamins, and stand-alone vitamin B6 and B12 supplements.1,2
VITAMINS B6 & B12 PLAY CRITICAL ROLES IN OPTIMAL HEALTH
Vitamins B6 and B12 are water-soluble vitamins, meaning our bodies take the amount it needs from the foods and supplements we consume, disposing of excess through the urine. Each vitamin functions in the body to support health in a variety of ways:
- VITAMIN B6: Functions in over 100 enzyme reactions in the body, working especially hard in protein metabolism.
- VITAMIN B12: Important for red blood cell formation, neurological functioning, and DNA synthesis.
The average healthy adult should consume 1.3 mg (milligrams) of vitamin B6 per day, except during pregnancy and lactation, when needs increase to 1.9 mg and 2.0 mg per day, respectively. For vitamin B12, it’s recommended that anyone over the age of 14 years-old consume 2.4 mcg (micrograms) per day, unless pregnant or lactating, in which case needs increase to 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg per day, respectively. Vitamin B6 deficiency can manifest as a weakened immune functioning, dermatitis (scaling lips or cracks at the corners of the mouth), depression, and confusion, while vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite.1,2
RESEARCH SUPPORTS THE SAFETY AND BENEFITS OF VITAMINS B6 & B12 IN A HEALTHY DIET
There has been extensive research supporting the safety and benefits of vitamins B6 and B12 in the diet:
- VITAMIN B6: Numerous studies support vitamin B6’s positive role in cognition, heart health, immune function, and there is even some mixed evidence that suggests it may play a role in alleviating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends 10–25 mg of vitamin B6 three or four times a day to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
- VITAMIN B12: Evidence suggests that vitamin B12 plays an important role in heart health, cognitive function, and energy and endurance through its role in energy metabolism.
As any vitamin or supplement can have the potential to interact with certain medications, it’s always important to consult your healthcare provider before adding anything new to your routine.1,2,3
To date, various industry trade organizations have released statements regarding the limitations of the aforementioned recent study on vitamin B6 and B12 and their purported relationship with lung cancer, including the Natural Products Association. Swanson Health Products supports these industry positions on the limitations of this research, and we are committed to continuing to improve the soundness of health research in order to help you make the best health decisions for you and your family.
For more information about vitamins B6 and B12, check out the Office of Dietary Supplements’ Vitamin B6 Fact Sheet for Consumers and Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Consumers, and ping us with your thoughts and questions!
1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B6 Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. February 11, 2016.
2. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B12 Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. February 11, 2016.
3. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). (2004). Practice Bulletin: nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology; 103:803-14