Our bodies require vitamins and minerals so that we can grow, heal and stay healthy.  There are many types of vitamins; each serves a different role or function within us.   As we’ve discussed in past articles, our foods today are depleted of these nutrients, so it is therefore vital that we include them with each meal.

It really is frustrating to hear doctors giving advice on vitamins nowadays.  “You don’t need to take vitamins if you eat 3 healthy meals a day”.  While this is technically true, how many of us are eating 3 organically grown, well-balanced meals daily?  And when we do read that we should be taking vitamins, the recommended dosage is usually so low that they are of very little benefit to us.

Some opponents of natural medicine say vitamins are extremely dangerous for our health, and they should be regulated.  Well according to a recently published report, statistics from the U.S. National Poison Data System state the number of people killed in 2009 across America by vitamins, minerals and/or herbal supplements is exactly zero.  (Compare that statistic to prescribed drugs!)

While all vitamins are necessary, there are none more important than vitamins C and D.  Deficiencies in these two vitamins increases risk of virtually every sickness we have today.  Nervous system and emotional disorders, asthma, week bones and teeth and retarded muscle growth can all be contributed to being deficient in these vitamins.

Together, vitamins C and D are the best defence against all flues, and yes, that includes the H1N1 virus.  Sadly, we are now starting to hear of the side effects people are incurring from the latest bout of H1N1 vaccinations.  GBS, the nervous system disorder that affected so many people during the last H1N1 outbreak, is once again being attributed to the vaccine.

Good sources of vitamin C can be found in both fruits and vegetables, (parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice …. just to name a few).   This vitamin helps your body to resist infections, absorb calcium to help strengthen teeth and bones, aids in all healing processes and in general is necessary for good, overall health.

Vitamin C is known as an antioxidant, a powerful nutrient that protects your health by fighting against free radicals in your body.  (Because vitamin C is water-soluble the body is unable to store it, so it therefore must be replenished daily).  As free radical damage continues, cells can no longer perform properly, and therefore tissues begin to degrade and disease sets in.  According to Dr. Mercola, a nutrition expert, here are some excellent food sources of antioxidants:

Fruits:  Cranberries, blueberries and blackberries
Vegetables: Beans, artichokes
Nuts:  Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts
Spices: Ground cloves, ground cinnamon and oregano

We should be taking about 3 grams of vitamin C a day, and more when we are sick.  A common myth is too much vitamin C will do damage to your kidneys, but that is all this is …. a myth.  You cannot take too much vitamin C.  Some doctors have been known to treat cancer patients with megadoses of this vitamin intravenously, as much as 250 grams or more per day.  The worst side effect was feeling “a little nauseous”.
Vitamin D, more specifically vitamin D3, is the cheapest supplement of them all.  It’s free!  Vitamin D3 is obtained from sunshine, and this is all the vitamin D we need.  Exposing our skin to 20 minutes of sunshine every day can obtain 10,000 to 20,000 IU’s of this nutrient.  And if we are in the sunshine too long, our body will only absorb the required daily amount.  (We must, of course, be sure not to get sun-burned, as this does much more harm than good).  Now you’re probably thinking that we’ve been told to cover our bodies in sun-screen lotions to avoid the sun, but remember this fact:  Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream.  Read the labels of these lotions …. nothing but chemicals.  Many nutritional experts believe these lotions cause cancer, rather than prevent it!

Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you probably don’t feel like going outside in the middle of winter in a pair of shorts and t-shirt, just to obtain your daily dose of sunshine.  The lack of intensity in the sun in the winter time, along with the majority of us being cooped up indoors, is a major contributing factor to why we get the flu this time of the year.

Just like vitamin C, vitamin D3 aids your body in the absorption of many required minerals.  It also plays an important part in bone growth, along with maintenance of your liver and kidneys.  Proper levels of vitamin D go a long way in preventing bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis.  Vitamin D contributes to the function of the thyroid gland and the immune system.  The more sunlight you get, (or vitamin D3), the better your cardiovascular health will be.  New research suggests that vitamin D may have a protective role against multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions.

Here are some eye-opening facts that are the results of research on vitamin D by Dr. Garland:

Some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented worldwide each year if vitamin D levels among populations were increased.  And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.

Outside of cancer, increasing levels of vitamin D could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!

When taking a vitamin D3 supplement, a good guideline for a recommended dosage is 35 IU’s for every pound of body weight.  Somebody that weighs 100 pounds, for example, should take 3,500 IU’s per day.  A 170 pound adult should take nearly 6,000 IU’s per day.  Keep in mind everybody’s body is different, and it is suggested blood tests can identify the need for more vitamin D3, if necessary.