Proper diets have long been known to be beneficial to our overall good health. New research has demonstrated more specifics as to just how important and what we need to eat in order to stay healthy and fit.

Vitamin B is actually a family of 8 water soluble Vitamins each with specific benefits that our bodies need to stay healthy. All of them except for B12 are found in similar food sources.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is found in meats, grains and brewers yeast. It is involved in the breakdown of nutrients and facilitates the burning of fuel for energy. Therefore it is crucial in all organ systems and functions. In addition, Vitamin B1 also helps lower levels of AGEs thus helping diabetics manage their blood sugar. Smokers, drug abusers and alcoholics tend to have reduced Vitamin B1 levels and that fact often leads to many of the physiological problems that those individuals developer. The recommended daily intake for B1 (RDI) is 1.5 mg.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is found in many of the same foods as Vitamin B1 and also aids in the release of energy. In addition, it also helps in the production of an antioxidant enzyme called GSH reductase. Vitamin B2 has more of an impact on the eyes because a deficiency can result in light sensitive, near point discomfort, reading and focusing problems, itching and burning, dry eyes, conjunctiva redness and even cataracts. The RDI is 1.7 mg.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is found in Beets, meats, poultry and fish, seeds, nuts and brewers yeast. A major function of Vitamin B3 is to maintain the skin. Deficiency can result in cracking and scaling on the skin, headaches and even a red tongue. Overdosing with Vitamin B3 can cause retinal swelling and loss of eye brows and lashes. The RDI is 20 mg.

Vitamin B5 ( Pantothenic acid) is found in similar foods as the other Vitamin Bs and helps in normal growth and development as well as Red Blood Cell and hormone production. Deficiency can lead to skin healing problems and fatigue. RDI is 10 mg.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Family) is comprised of 3 Vitamins that aid in reactions involving proteins and amino acids. It helps in Red Blood Cell production, immune system function and system wide fluid levels. RDI is 2 mg.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is found in yeast, liver, salmon, bananas, carrots, eggs, legumes and mushrooms. It is required for cell growth and is involved in the citric acid cycle to help generate energy. Deficiency, while rare, can cause eye lash loss and skin rashes.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is found mainly in dark green vegetables, cereals, tomatoes, lentils and beans. This important Vitamin helps regulate Red Blood Cells. The RDI is 400 mcg.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is found in fish, meat, eggs, and milk. It is critical for the development of Myelin (nerve insulation) and is also involved in DNA, RNA and RBC synthesis. Since it is required for the manufacturing of myelin, it protects the Optic nerve and has been shown to increase the visual fields in glaucoma patients. The RDI is 6 mcg.

Proper nutrition is required to stay healthy. The Vitamin B complex is part of that requirement. Therefore, we should all eat a well balanced diet and avoid substances that block absorption of these critical nutrients. Items like alcohol, smoking and drugs hurt our bodily systems in part by blocking these important substances. "Everything in moderation."

Author's Bio: 

This article is written by Dr. Jay Stockman, contributing consultant to Vision Update. Dr. Jay Stockman has co-managed a significant number of refractive surgery patients. Advise, and medical questions can be directed to New York Vision Associates