Natural Cures For Dummies
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Vitamins are organic compounds or groups of organic compounds that your body needs but either can’t make or may not make in sufficient quantities. So, you need to consume them. The table below presents the essential vitamins, along with a couple other key compounds, that play a role similar to that of vitamins.
Essential Vitamins
Vitamin May Help with Food Sources
A (retinol) Better form: Retinyl palmitate and beta­carotene Cardiovascular health; cancer prevention; eye disease, including cataracts and macular degenera­tion; skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis; measles; inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Note: Don’t take an elevated dose of vitamin A as retinol or retinyl esters without your doctor’s approval. If you’re pregnant, don’t take vitamin A beyond your prenatal vitamins. Supplement vitamin A in children only as a last resort and only at low dosages. Yellow, orange, and green vegetables and fruits, including carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, peas, kale, spinach, apricots, peaches, tangerines
B1 (thiamin) Better form: Benfontamine Brain and nervous system support, cardiovascular health, beriberi, Wernicke‐Korsakoff syndrome, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure Sunflower seeds, navy beans, black beans, barley, green peas
B2 (riboflavin) Better form: Riboflavin 5’‐phosphate Cardiovascular health, migraine headaches, cataracts, glaucoma, cervical cancer Soybeans, beet greens, spinach, tempeh, yogurt
B3 (niacin) Better form: Nicotinic acid, not niacinamide (nicotinamide) or inositol hexanicotinate Cardiovascular health, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, diabetes, osteoarthritis Note: Don’t take niacin if you have gout, and don’t take more than 1.5 grams daily without medical supervision and monitoring of liver enzymes. Tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb
B5 (pantothenic acid) Adrenal system support, nervous system support, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, wound healing, rheumatoid arthritis Whole grain cereals, eggs, meat, legumes, shitake mushrooms
B6 (pyridoxine) Better form: Pyridoxal 5’‐phosphate Heart disease, morning sickness, macular degeneration, depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, tardive dyskinesia Note: Compromised liver function may prevent the liver from converting other forms of B6 into pyridoxal 5’‐phosphate, which the body can use. Tuna, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon
B7 (biotin) Blood glucose regulation, hair and nail problems, seborrheic dermati­tis, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy Organ meats, peanuts, almonds, barley, brewer’s yeast
B9 (folate) Better form: 5‐MTHF (5‐methyltetrahydrofolate) Brain and nervous system health, neural tube defect prevention in pregnancy, heart disease, age‐related hearing loss, macular degeneration, depression, cancer Leafy green vege­tables, legumes and lentils, avocado, broccoli, mango
B12 (cobalamin) Better form: Methylcobalamin, sublingual, fast‐dissolving tablet Pernicious anemia, heart disease, macular degeneration, fatigue, breast cancer, male infertility Fish and shellfish, dairy products, organ meats (especially liver and kidney), eggs
Choline Better form: Choline dihydrogen citrate Brain and nervous system health, neural development in pregnancy, liver and kidney health, asthma Eggs, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens
C Better form: Mineral ascorbates Heart disease, high blood pressure, common cold, cancer, osteoarthritis, macular degeneration, pre‐eclampsia, asthma, immune support Note: Avoid vitamin C as ascorbic acid and any products that contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. Papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, citrus fruits and juices
D Better form: D3 (cholecalciferol) Osteoporosis and other bone disorders, immune support, autoimmune­ disorders, neurological brain disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, demen­tia, balance, parathyroid problems, high blood pressure, cancer, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), obesity, overall longevity Note: If you’re taking a vitamin D supplement, adequate calcium and magnesium intake are also required. See note following this table for dosage information. Sunlight, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, fatty fish
E Better form: Mix of tocopherols and tocotrienols Heart disease, cancer, photodermatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, eye health, menstrual pain, diabetes, pre‐eclampsia, tardive dyskinesia, rheumatoid arthritis, lipid production Liver, eggs, nuts (especially almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts), sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables
K Better form: K2 (menaquinone) Excessive bleeding; osteoporosis Note: Don’t supplement with vitamin K if you’re on blood‐thinning medications. Kale, spinach, greens (mustard, collard, and beet)

Have your vitamin D levels checked yearly and try to maintain an optimal level of 50 to 80 ng/ml. If your level is less than 50 ng/ml, increase exposure to sunlight or take a vitamin D3 supplement. Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin makes 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D. Here’s how much additional vitamin D you need based on your vitamin D level:

Vitamin D Level Additional Vitamin D Needed
<10 ng/mL 10,000 units per day
10–20 ng/mL 10,000 units per day
20–30 ng/mL 8,000 units per day
30–40 ng/mL 5,000 units per day
40–50 ng/mL 2,000 units per day

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Dr. Scott J. Banks has been in clinical practice for more than 30 years. In 2013, Banks joined an elite group Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioners. He is uniquely trained in the Functional Medicine model to identify and treat the root causes of illness, disease, and chronic disorders.

Joe Kraynak has authored and co-authored numerous books.

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