Nutrients - Nutrients, whether they arrive in your body via food or
liquids, as amino acids, vitamins or minerals are crucial to your good health.
Supplementary amino acids - Amino acids have marvellous healing
properties and several are available in the form of supplements, in the same way
as vitamins and minerals. Prescribing amino acids for therapeutic use is still
relatively new and more research needs to be done, but their importance cannot
be overemphasized. Our cells are able to manufacture more than 100,000 different
proteins out of varying chains of amino acids with a very wide range of
functions, from the creation of structural parts of the body to assistance with
the production of hormones: The following are the most commonly prescribed for
particular conditions. It is better to take supplements in their pure form,
denoted by the prefix
'D' indicates synthetic production. Rather than consuming with meals, swallow
them on an empty stomach with water for the best effect. Never take as a
substitute for food.
A general amino acid complex supplement may well be helpful when digestion is
impaired through illness or old age. Vegans and vegetarians who may be low on
some dietary proteins could also benefit.
Caution Never take an amino acid supplement for more than a few weeks without
professional advice as this may cause an imbalance with other amino acids. They
are not recommended for pregnant women.
L-Arginine - A semi-essential amino acid that stimulates the secretion
of the growth hormone, so it is very important for children. It also helps to
put on muscle and is therefore often included in body-building programmes
Dosage Up to 4g daily.
Caution Supplements are not recommended for schizophrenia or anyone with kidney
or liver problems. May worsen symptoms of the herpes virus unless taken with at
least equal amounts of L-lysine.
Healing qualities Can help cancer patients by inhibiting tumour growth and
boosting the immune system. Provides relief for some arthritics. May treat male
infertility by normalizing sperm production. Speeds up the healing of wounds.
Sample food sources (In g per 100g) Wheatgerm (5A), pumpkin seeds (3.71),
peanuts (3.37), almonds (2.36), brazil nuts (2.23), dried milk (1.57), pheasant
(1.40), turkey (1.37), chicken (1.30), lean beef (1.15), fish (1.14), free-range
eggs (0.97), Cheddar cheese (0.93), oat flakes (0.58), yoghurt (0.20), peas
L-Cysteine - Made in the body from L-methionine and L-serine, but this
process is often hindered by chronic diseases, so useful as a supplement for
sick people. Combines with vitamins C and B1 to protect cells from damage by
radiation, or aldehyde found in tobacco smoke or smog, also from the harmful
by-products of rancid fats. Stimulates the macrophages in the immune system.
Involved in fatty acid metabolism. Prevents low blood sugar by blocking insulin
response. It is related to but not the same as, L-cystine, which is not an
Dosage Begin with 500mg and gradually increase to up to 2g daily. Take with
three times the amount of vitamin C
Caution Not suitable for diabetics.
Healing qualities Clears mucus from the bronchial tissues, therefore greatly
assists anyone suffering from bronchitis, emphysema or TB. Important for strong,
thick hair (some 12 per cent of your hair is cysteine). Keeps the skin youthful.
Together with calcium pantothenate can treat arthritis. May help hypoglycaemics
by steadying blood sugar. Detoxifies the system from the effects of alcohol and
other ingested poisons.
Sample food sources (as cystine) (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm (5.4), sesame seeds
(0.52), sunflower seeds (0.43), pistachio nuts (0.44), peanuts (0.32),
free-range eggs (0.37), free-range chicken (0.30), lean beef (0.20), cottage
cheese (0.12), lentil sprouts (0.26), soya beans (0.14).
L-Glutamine - Takes part in many biochemical processes and is found in
enzymes and other body proteins. An important energy source for the brain in the
form of L-glutamic acid. Also assists in the production of hydrochloric acid in
Dosage Up to 2g daily. Best taken with B complex.
Healing qualities Heals peptic ulcers. Reduces alcohol and sugar craving,
therefore helpful to people giving up drinking or losing weight. May alleviate
some mental disorders and drug dependence.
Sample food sources (as glutamic acid) (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm (11.22),
Cheddar cheese (6.00), almonds (5.62), sunflower seeds (5.35), sesame seeds
(4.95), halibut (3.08), free-range poultry (3.00), lean beefsteak (2.84), soya
beans (2.79), free-range eggs (1.93), low-fat yoghurt (0.71), corn (0.65),
avocado (0.42), jacket potato (0.40), dried figs (0.30), dried peaches (0.24),
L-Histidine - Widely distributed in body proteins. Involved in the
production of histamine, also of gastric juices and neurotransmitters.
Dosage Take with vitamin C. Up to 2g daily; double for rheumatoid arthritis
Caution Not suitable for manic depressives or schizophrenics. Doses in excess of
4g can induce menstruation in women.
Healing qualities Used in the treatment of those with rheumatoid arthritis, who
have very low levels of histidine. Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm
(1.88), Cheddar cheese (0.87), pheasant (0.80), lean beefsteak (0.63), peanuts
(0.73), sunflower seeds (0.61), almonds (0.53), free-range chicken (040),
organic liver (0.54), cod (052), soya beans (0.40), free-range eggs (0.37),
low-fat yoghurt (0.09).
L-Lysine - Essential for children's growth and development and
involved in the repair of tissues and energy production.
Dosage Up to 1,500mg daily in small amounts.
Healing qualities Helps treat herpes simplex, especially if taken with vitamin
C. Alleviates migraine, also tiredness and poor concentration.
Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm (4.14), Parmesan cheese (3.28),
halibut (1.89), pumpkin seeds (1.69), free-range chicken (1.68), lean beef
(1.46), free-range eggs (1.1), peanuts (0.97), soya beans (0.89), almonds
(0.63), low-fat yoghurt (0.32), dried figs (0.14), jacket potato (0.14).
Enemy Reduced if heated with sugar.
L-Methionine - A powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from
free-radical damage, and helps remove toxic heavy
metals from the body. Important for blood proteins.
Dosage Up to 1g. Always take with vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Caution Doses of 5g or more can cause vomiting.
Healing qualities Used to treat overdoses of paracetamol (but must be taken
within 10 hours). Helps to protect against anaemia. May reduce blood
cholesterol. Thought to mitigate some symptoms of schizophrenia. Acts as an
antihistamine if taken with calcium.
Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Wheatgerni (1.25), Parmesan cheese (0.95),
brazil nuts (0.95), sesame seeds (0.89), halibut (0.61), free-range eggs (0.50),
free-range chicken (0.47), lean beef (0.41), soya beans (0.18), low-fat yoghurt
Enemy Food preservative, sulphur dioxide.
L-Phenylalanine - Involved in the production of adrenaline, dopamine
and noradrenaline Affects blood pressure, oxygen use, blood glucose levels,
action of the central nervous system and many metabolic processes.
Dosage 100-500mg daily. Must be taken with vitamins B6 and C. As
D-phenylalanine (DLPA): 750mg three times daily; up to double for pain relief.
Caution Do not use with MAO-inhibitor drugs (antidepressants). Not advised for
hypertensives or pregnant women.
Healing qualities Improves the memory and mental alertness. Can treat
depression. Useful for slimmers as it controls hunger. As DLPA an effective pain
killer, especially if taken with vitamins B6 and C over a period of time.
Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm (2.68), sesame seeds
(1.51), peanuts (1.43), Cheddar cheese (1.31), pistachios (1.01), halibut
(0.81), free-range chicken (0.80), lean beef (0.66), soya beans (0.66), low-fat
yoghurt (0.20), avocado (0.13).
L-Tyrosine - Made in the body from the essential amino acid
L-phenylalanine. Involved in nerve impulses and the control of mood. Neutralizes
Dosage Up to 3g daily; double for severe depression over short periods.
Caution Do not take with antidepressants (MAO inhibitors). Not suitable for
Healing qualities Thought to improve the memory and mental alertness. A proven
symptoms of hay fever.
Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Wheatgerm (2.04), dried milk (2.01),
Parmesan cheese (2.00), halibut (0.70), almonds (0.67), pistachios (0.61),
free-range chicken (0.66), free-range eggs (0.63), lean beef (0.54), soya beans
Enemy The contraceptive pill.
Vitamins - basic facts - Vitamins are chemical compounds that are
essential to human life. We simply cannot live without them, even though some
are needed in very small amounts. Since we can only manufacture 3 of the 13
known vitamins in our own bodies in sufficient quantities to meet our needs, all
the others must be supplied from food. Each has a particular role to play in
regulating important chemical reactions through which the body is able to
convert food into energy and living tissues. They also work in cooperation with
each other, so that a deficiency in one can impair the function of another.
Vitamins are generally divided into two groups by scientists: the fat-soluble
ones (A, D, E and K) and the water-soluble ones (B-complex and C). They can be
extracted from their natural sources and made into pills or powders for use as
supplements, but these in no way replace food; indeed they generally need to be
taken with food. Nor are they drugs.
To encourage people to continue buying their supplements, some manufacturers
turn them into chewable goodies. It's shocking to see that certain capsules
contained the artificial sweeteners aspartame and saccharin as well as
hydrogenated vegetable oil, all of which have been linked with health problems.
Avoid these sort of confections and purchase supplements that contain just the
nutrients you need together with any necessary filler or binder or natural
protective coating; these might include calcium phosphate, calcium or magnesium
stearate, cellulose, gum arabic, silica or zero, all of which are acceptable.
Tablets and capsules should be sugar-free and devoid of any artificial
flavourings or preservatives. If you're allergic to gluten, milk (lactose) or
yeast, check that these substances are not included.
'Food state' supplements are more readily assimilated by the body, so that
lower dosages can be taken. The full chemical names for all the nutrients should
be included on the label, together with the actual amount contained in the pill.
Some vitamins imported from America are measured in international units (IU) in
terms of their biological activity as follows: 1 microgram (mcg) of vitamin A =
3.3IU, 1mcg of vitamin D = 40IU and 67mg of vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol) =
Essential vitamins required every day in order to maintain health are listed
below alphabetically, together with important points about each. The recommended
daily allowance (RDA) given is the amount of each vitamin regarded as basic for
good health in the average adult. This needs to be adjusted according to body
weight, so that children will generally need less except when stated, while
pregnant women may need more (their special needs are detailed in the page for
womens health on one of the links below. Since the amounts differ slightly
between countries, the highest has been selected. 'Mega-doses' are more than ten
times this figure. While the RDA is helpful as a general guide, people vary
greatly as to their requirements, depending on their genetic make-up as well as
their lifestyle. For example, people under stress will use up far more vitamin C
than the RDA, as will those who smoke. Some experts regard the RDAs as
inadequate and currently Suggested Optimal Nutrient Allowances (SONAs) are being
introduced; figures for these are given below if available.
Fatty meats have not generally been included under 'Sample food sources' if
there are others, equally nutritious.
Vitamin A - Found only in animal sources, e.g. egg yolk, milk and
liver. Its chemical name is retinol. However, vegans need not worry as several
plants contain carotenes, such as carrots and some green vegetables, which the
body then converts into vitamin A. In fact water-soluble beta carotene is the
best way of taking it, as high doses of retinol in the oily form are stored in
the liver and can be toxic if taken in excess.
Vitamin A is essential for the health of the eyes; it actually forms the visual
purple, a pigment in the retina, which helps you to see in dim light. So the old
saying that carrots help you see in the dark really is true! The vitamin is also
vital for the growth of bones and teeth and for the health of the skin, helping
to produce mucous secretions that protect against infections. Recent research
indicates that carotenoids protect against cancer.
RDA 2,650IU/800mcg (EU and USA). SONA 6,600IU. Safe dosage of
beta-carotene up to 50,000W, of retinol up to 5,000IU.
Caution Vitamin A in the oily form as retinol is toxic in high doses and
is therefore not recommended as a supplement for lengthy periods.
Healing qualities Can be applied externally to treat skin disorders, such
as acne, boils and ulcers. Helps remove age spots. Assists weak eyesight. Aids
in the treatment of emphysema and hyperthyroidism. Protective against cancer.
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g). As retinol: halibut-liver oil
(40,000), cod-liver oil (18,000), organic liver (9,300-18,100), fortified
margarine (900), butter (750), free-range egg yolk (400), Cheddar cheese (310),
salmon (90), mackerel and herring (45). As carotene: carrots (12,000),
dandelion leaves (8,400), parsley (5,100), spring greens (4,000), sweet potatoes
(4,000), dried nori seaweed (3,888), spinach (3,600), watercress (3,000),
mangoes (2,334), cantaloup melon (2,000), apricots (1,500), pistachio nuts
(1,374), pumpkin (648), tomatoes (600).
Note To obtain retinol equivalents, divide carotene figures by 6.
Enemies High temperatures, especially frying, but survives ordinary
cooking; and oxygen (but protected from oxidation by vitamin E); also light.
Drying and canning reduce carotene levels in vegetables and fruit.
Vitamin B complex - Was first thought to be a single vitamin, but
eight are now identified as being essential for humans, with some others
required by animals only. They cannot be stored in the body and need to be
replaced daily. They work in cooperation with each other, so that an excess of
one can cause a deficiency in another. Any single supplement needs to be
balanced with the complete complex; therefore, and B1, B2 and B6 should be
supplied in equal amounts.
Vitamin B1 or thiamin - It is necessary for growth, good appetite and
healthy nervous and digestive systems. The body requires it to release energy
from carbohydrates. Its removal from foods due to refining causes the fatal
disease beriberi; the vitamin now has to be put back into white bread by law.
RDA 1.5 mg (USA). SONA 7.1mg. Safe dosage up to 100mg. No known
Healing qualities Cures beriberi. Beneficial when anxious or stressed.
Important for the muscles and nervous system. Can be used in the treatment of
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Marmite (3.10), spirulina seaweed
(3.00), sunflower seeds (2.30), pine nuts (1.25), peas (1.0), dried prunes
(0.53), oatmeal (0.50), rye (0.40).
Enemies This vitamin is unstable and destroyed by baking soda when
heated, hence the advisability of making cakes without a raising agent. Also
destroyed by sulphite preservatives. About 25 per cent is lost in cooking,
generally with up to 40 per cent of the vitamin lost from boiling vegetables, so
use that water up in soups and sauces. Some loss through food processing and
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin - This vitamin is important for growth and
for healthy skin and eyes. It helps the body
use oxygen efficiently when converting food into energy. RDA 1.7 mg
(USA); slightly more for adolescent males and lactating women. SONA 2mg.
Safe dosage up to 100mg. No known toxicity. Note that urine may turn yellow with
extended high doses, but this is harmless.
Healing qualities Alleviates sore or cracked mouth, swollen lips or
tongue and scaly skin around the ears and nose. Eye fatigue can be helped
especially if sensitive to light. Generally good for the skin, nails and hair.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Marmite (11.0), brewer's yeast
(4.25), lamb's liver (4.40), lamb's kidney (2.30), spirulina seaweed (3.70),
nori/laver seaweed (1.34), dried parsley (1.23), almonds (0.92), cream cheese
(0.73), wheatgerm (0.72), goat's milk (0.63), wild rice (0.63), free-range eggs
Enemies Destroyed by light, therefore do not leave your milk on the
doorstep unless it is put in a dark container. Leaches into cooking water, so
save that vegetable stock. Like B1, destroyed by baking soda.
Vitamin B3 or niacin - also nicotinic acid, niacinamide and
nicotinamide. Especially important for normal brain function and the health of
the nervous system, for conversion of carbohydrates into energy and also for the
synthesis of the sex hormones, as well as insulin, cortisone and thyroxine. The
body can make its own niacin with the assistance of the amino acid tryptophan,
but only if vitamins B1, B2 and B6 are present.
RDA 19mg (USA); 20mg adolescent males and lactating women. SONA
25mg. Safe dosage up to 1,000mg as nicotinamide or 100mg as nicotinic acid.
Toxic at three times these amounts. Tingling and flushing may occur, but these
are not harmful.
Caution Diabetics and people with peptic ulcers or damaged liver, or with
glaucoma are advised not to take megadoses of niacin.
Healing qualities Cures pellagra. Promotes healthy digestive system and
can alleviate gastrointestinal problems and sometimes bad breath. Can ease
migraine headaches. Increases circulation and reduces high blood pressure and
cholesterol. Cuts down vertigo in Meniêre's syndrome. Can help to reverse
negative personality changes. Good for the skin.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Brewer's yeast (37.50), rice bran
(29.80), lamb's liver (15.2), tuna fish (15.0), spirulina seaweed (12.8), turkey
(10.0), halibut (9.0), mackerel (8.7), red salmon (5.5), raw mushrooms (4.0),
cooked broad beans (3.0), raw peas (2.5).
Enemies Lost in cooking water unless reused, and food processing, but
stable to heat. Sulpha drugs, sleeping pills, the contraceptive pill and alcohol
all have a negative effect.
Vitamin B5 - Better known by its chemical name, pantothenic acid. Also
referred to as panthenol or calcium pantothenate. Involved in carbohydrate and
fat metabolism and helps to create antibodies. Essential for the correct
functioning of adrenal glands. Important for growth, cell building and a healthy
nervous system. This is one of the few vitamins that can be made in the body
through the action of intestinal bacteria.
RDA 6mg (EU). Safe dosage up to 1,000mg. No known toxicity.
Healing qualities Fights, infections and aids healing of wounds. Helps
reduce side-effects of antibiotics. Can
alleviate arthritic pain. An antidote to stress. If combined with vitamin C can
cure some allergies.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Brewer's yeast (9.50), organic
lamb's liver (7.60), lamb's kidney (4.20), free-range egg yolk (4.60), wheat
bran (2.40), peanut butter (2.14 raw mushrooms (2.00), salmon (1.80), lobster
(1.63), soya flour (1.80), watermelon (1.55), hazelnuts (1.50), lentils '(1A0),
chicken (1.20), avocado (1.07), Stilton cheese (0.71).
Enemies Up to 40 per cent lost above boiling point. Leaches into cooking
water. Destroyed by freezing* Harmed in food processing and canning. Caffeine,
sulpha drugs, sleeping pills, the contraceptive pill and alcohol all have
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine. Closely concerned with the metabolism of
protein, so you will need extra if you are a heavy meat eater (but let's hope
you are not!). Needed to produce effective antibodies and red blood cells. Works
in cooperation with zinc.
RDA 2mg (USA and EU). SONA 10mg. Safe dosage up to 100mg. May be
toxic at 500mg.
Caution Do not take if you suffer from Parkinson's disease and / or being
treated with L-Dopa.
Healing qualities Quells nausea including morning sickness. Reduces night
cramps and numbness or tingling in the limbs, also premenstrual tension. A
natural diuretic. Has anti-ageing properties. Helpful with skin and nervous
disorders. Boosts the immune system.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Brewer's yeast (4.20), wheatgerm
(3.30), mackerel (0.84), haddock (0.35), organic beefsteak (0.33), free-range
chicken (0.26), avocado (0.50), bananas (030), dried fruits, especially
currants, sultanas and prunes (0.26-0.30), tempeh (0.29), raw Brussels sprouts
(0.28), raw leeks (0.25), raw red cabbage (0.21), raw broccoli (0.21).
Enemies Up to 50 per cent lost in juices through boiling, roasting or
stewing unless reclaimed. Also lost through food processing, canning and long
storage. Alcohol and the contraceptive pill have adverse effects.
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin - This vitamin is needed to make red blood
cells and the fatty myelin sheath around nerves. Together with folic acid, it
takes part in the synthesis of DNA (deoxy-ribo-nucleic acid) which governs the
activities of each cell. Vegans can be deficient in this vitamin since its main
sources are animal products, although it is present in yeast extracts; B-complex
supplementation which includes this vitamin may therefore be advisable,
otherwise there is a danger of pernicious anaemia and damage to the nervous
system. Only very small amounts are needed and it is stored in the liver.
Calcium aids absorption.
RDA 2mcg (UK and USA). 2.2mcg during pregnancy and 2.6mcg during
lactation (USA). SONA 2 mcg. Extra needed if very large doses of vitamin
C are being consumed. Safe dosage up to 1,000mcg. No known toxicity.
Healing qualities Along with folic acid prevents megaloblastic anaemia
and is used to treat pernicious anaemia. Keeps the nervous system healthy. Good
for the memory and sense of balance. Combined with folic-acid promotes vitality
and a feeling of well-being, thus relieving bad temper. Important for growth and
appetite in children. Together with other B vitamins can ease menstrual
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Iamb's liver (81.00), lamb's kidney
(79.00), mackerel (12.00), yeast extract (8.8), soya cheese (2.50), free-range
eggs (2.40), lean beef (2.00), Mozzarella cheese (2.10), skimmed milk (0.40),
tempeh (0.84), miso (0.21).
Enemies Stable to heat, but destroyed by acids and alkalis. Damaged by
sunlight, the contraceptive pill, sleeping pills and alcohol.
Biotin - Occasionally referred to as vitamin H or coenzyme R, biotin
is really a member of the B complex. It helps the body to change fats into fatty
acids, which in turn aids energy production. Important for growth and for the
maintenance of the nervous system, also for keeping the hair, skin, reproductive
organs and bone marrow healthy. Another vitamin that is made in the intestines.
RDA 150mcg (EU). Safe dosage up to 3,000mcg. No known toxicity.
Healing qualities Slows down greying of the hair. Can prevent and heal eczema
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Free-range chicken liver (170.00),
brewer's yeast (80.00), free-range egg yolk (50.00), wheatgerm (25.00), oatmeal
(20.00), herring (10.00), mackerel (8.00), Camembert cheese (7.60), avocado
(3.20), blackcurrants (2.40), raw leek (1.40).
Enemies Raw egg white prevents its absorption. Antibiotics and sulpha
drug& the contraceptive pill, alcohol and food processing are biotin destroyers
Up to 30 per cent is lost in cooking through discarded juices, unless reclaimed.
Folic acid or folacin - Another member of the vitamin B complex,
although without its own number. Required to make certain components of DNA and
RNA, it's therefore involved in passing on hereditary characteristics. Needed to
make red blood cells and significant for growth and healthy nervous and
digestive systems. It's stored in the liver until required.
RDA 300mcg (UK); 400mcg for pregnant women (USA). SONA 800mcg.
Safe dosage up to 3,000mcg. May be toxic at 15,000mcg.
Caution Megadoses may not be suitable for people who suffer from
convulsions or cancer with a hormonal basis. Healing qualities Prevents
spina bifida and megaloblastic anaemia. Improves lactation. Protects against
poisoning. Good for the skin and an antidote to stress.
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Organic chicken liver (500), soya
flour (345), wheatgerm (331), raw endive (330), dark-green leafy vegetables
(90-140), dry butter beans (110), peanuts (110), Camembert cheese (102), almonds
(96), cucumber (96), free-range eggs (51), kidney beans (50), beetroot (50).
Enemies Serious losses result from food processing, canning, leaching
into cooking water, reheating, sunlight and long term storage. Sulpha drugs and
the contraceptive pill have damaging effects.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid - Many animals make their own, but humans
cannot, so frequent intake in the diet is vital. It is best absorbed in
conjunction with bioftavonoids. It plays a part in the creation of collagen, a
protein that holds tissues together and so is essential for the health of bones,
cartilage, blood vessels, teeth and gums. Also needed for the synthesis of
certain hormones and the effective absorption of iron from vegetables.
Supplements should be taken in divided doses.
RDA 60mg (EU and USA). SONA 400mg. Safe dosage up to 5,000mg
Caution Do not suddenly cease megadoses as 'rebound scurvy' can occur;
gradually reduce amounts, Very high doses at around 20,000mg for extended
periods may create kidney stones.
Healing qualities Prevents scurvy. Aids healing of wounds and bleeding gums.
Boosts the immune system and prevents infections. Controls cholesterol levels.
Promotes longevity. Protective against cancer.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Acerola cherries (1,000-2,330), rosehips
(1,250), blackcurrants (200), parsley (150), raw broccoli (110), raw green
peppers (100), kiwi fruits (98), raw Brussels sprouts (90), lemons (80), oranges
(71), strawberries (60), watercress (60), raw red cabbage (55).
unstable to all cooking, food processing and canning, particularly if copper,
iron or nickel are employed. At least 60 per cent destroyed by heat, oxygen,
baking soda and through leaching. Therefore, eat vegetables raw in salads.
Smokers beware: each cigarette kills off 25mg of vitamin C. City dwellers also
need extra as carbon monoxide impairs this vitamin.
Vitamin D - Calciferol or ergocaldferol (vitamin D2) is produced in plants
when exposed to UV light, while cholecalciferol (D3) is formed in the skin of
humans and animals in the same manner, hence the term 'sunshine vitamin'. The
right amount is essential for healthy bones as it stimulates
calcium and phosphorus absorption.
RDA 5mcg/200IU (EU and USA); more for dark-skinned people in northern
latitudes and double for housebound adults and children. Safe dosage up to
1,0001U. Toxic at 2,0001U.
Caution Stored in the liver, therefore toxic with prolonged intake. Best
obtained naturally rather than through supplementation.
Healing qualities Helps prevents rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia and severe
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Cod-liver oil (210,00), herring (22.50),
mackerel (17.50), salmon (12.50), tuna 45.80), free-range egg yolk (5.00), dried
skimmed milk (2:10).
Enemies Smog. Destroyed in foods by light, oxygen and acids.
Vitamin E - Prevents polyunsaturated fatty acids in membranes and other body
structures from harmful oxidation
(i.e. combining with oxygen). Neutralizes the effect of free
radicals (cancer-causing agents). Keeps the red blood cells
healthy and prolongs their life. Selenium increases its
potency. Best taken as d-alpha tocopherol with oily foods.
RDA 10mg/15IU (EU and
USA); SONA 400IU. More for pregnant or lactating women or those going through
the menopause. Safe dosage up to 8001U. May be toxic at 1,5001U.
Caution High-dose supplements are not advised for patients with rheumatic heart
condition. Diabetics or those with an overactive thyroid or high blood pressure
should build up amounts gradually and should not exceed 400mg daily.
qualities A natural anticoagulant. Can be applied externally to reduce scar
formation. Contributes to youthfulness of tissues. Alleviates fatigue through
efficient use of oxygen. Increases fertility and helps prevent miscarriages.
Sample food sources (in mg d-alpha tocopherol per 100g) Wheatgerm oil (133.00),
wheatgerm (22.00), hazelnuts cold-pressed sunflower-seed oil 49.00),
maize oil (11.00), soya-bean oil (10.00), olive oil (5.00),
margarine (8.00-25.00), peanut butter (4.70), grapes (4.00), blackberries
(3.50), avocado (3.20), free-range egg yolk (3.11), butter (2.00), spinach
(2.00), parsley (1.80).
Enemies Freezing, so do not freeze bread. Food
processing, commercial cooking and deep frying. Chlorine in drinking water.
Ferrous sulphate, inorganic iron, employed in some vitamin pills destroys
vitamin E (check the labels and choose an organic iron, e.g. ferrous citrate).
Vitamin K - K1 (phylloquinone, phytylmenaquinone or phytonadione) is obtained
from foods, while K2 is formed in the intestines through the action of bacteria.
K, (menadione or menaphthone) is a synthetic. This vitamin is concerned with the
proper clotting of the blood.
RDA 70-140mcg (USA estimated). Safe dosage up to 600mcg.
Toxic at 1,000mcg.
Healing qualities Can prevent coeliac disease and colitis. Protects against
internal bleeding and haemorrhages. Helps control menstrual flow. Aids in the
healing of nose bleeds.
Sample food sources Available in fresh leafy green
vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach, cabbage and lettuce, also alfalfa and
kelp. Yoghurt is another source.
Enemies Antibiotics prevent its formation in the intestines. Decomposed by
baking soda and other alkalis, also aspirin. Radiation, freezing and food
processing destroy it, as does light.
Minerals and trace elements -
Like vitamins, these have particular physiological functions and are therefore
vital to health. Those that are required in significant amounts are: calcitun,
chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium; others are used in only
tiny amounts of less than 100mg and are often referred to as trace elements.
These include chromium, cobalt (as Vitamin B12), copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.
Much has still to be discovered about the precise biochemical activities of
minerals. Apart from sodium, potassium and chloride, which are easily absorbed
by the body, most minerals can only be utilized with the assistance of carrier
proteins. When you buy them in the form of supplements, therefore, check that
the word 'chelated' appears on the label. This means that the mineral is
attached to something that aids absorption, such as an amino acid. Gluconates,
aspartates and citrates work in a similar way. Be especially careful when buying
minerals in the form of compounds. For example, a 100mg tablet of zinc orotate
may contain only 15mg of elemental zinc, and it is this lower figure which you
need to know.
Calcium - Humans contain a large amount of this mineral in their bodies, more
than any other mineral, some 2 to 31b (1 to 1.4kg), most of it in the bones and teeth.
It is constantly being lost and replaced, at the rate of about 700mg a day. It
is obvious, therefore, that good dietary sources are vital. The small amount in
the soft tissues and fluids helps to regulate nerves, muscles and hormones, and
the clotting of blood. Best absorption is achieved if there is twice as much
calcium as magnesium, and when vitamin D is available. Take chelated or as
dolomite, with protein food.
RDA 800mg, inducting children 1-10yrs; 1,200mg 11-24yrs
(EU and USA); 1,200mg during pregnancy and lactation and
1,900-1,500mg during menopause. Safe dosage up to
1,500mg. Toxic at 4,000mg.
Healing qualities When well absorbed, prevents rickets, osteomalacia and
osteoporosis; also tetany (muscular twitching). Keeps bones and teeth strong. In
conjunction with magnesium ensures a regular heartbeat. Alleviates insomnia in
some people. Good for the nerves. Helps women who suffer from menstrual cramps.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Whitebait (860), cheese (720), spinach (600), whole sardines (550), nori and kelp seaweed
(357), parsley (330), dried figs (280), almonds (250), watercress (220), salmon
(196), spring onions (140), free-range egg yolk (130), skimmed milk (120), raw
broccoli (100), tempeh (93).
Enemies Oxalic acid (in chocolate and rhubarb) and phytic acid (in unleavened
bread) prevent absorption, as do too much fat and phosphate food additives.
Excess salt increases its loss in the urine.
Chloride - It forms the hydrochloric acid used to digest food. Helps regulate the
acid/alkaline balance in the blood plasma
RDA 750mg (USA estimated). Supplements unnecessary since the average intake from
salt is too high.
Healing qualities Aids digestion. Checks loss of hair and teeth. Preventive
against renal disease.
Sample food sources (in g per 100g) Salt (60.7), Marmite (6.60), shrimps (5.8),
olives (3.75), Danish blue cheese (2.39), kippers (1.52), dried hijiki seaweed
(1.40), wholemeal bread (0.86).
Enemies Sweating and vomiting.
Chromium - Works with insulin to metabolize sugar. May also assist in the
metabolism of fats. Chelated supplements are available. A good form to take is
chromium gluconate, especially with protein food.
RDA 50-200mcg (USA estimated). Safe dosage up to 2,000mcg. Excess intake
Healing qualities Helps prevent diabetes and
arteriosclerosis. Useful to hypoglycaemics. Aids growth. Regulates high blood
pressure and blood fats.
Sample food sources Shellfish, lean meat, free-range chicken, fruit, brewer's
yeast. Cooking in stainless-steel pans contributes to uptake.
Enemies 'Tea, coffee and smoking hinder absorption.
Cobalt - This mineral is contained in vitamin B12 and is important for the health
of red blood cells. Vegans may be deficient in it.
RDA 8mcg (estimated). Safe dosage up to 1,000mcg. Toxic in prolonged high
doses, which may cause enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Healing qualities Helps prevent anaemia.
Sample food sources Lean organic meat and liver, shellfish, free-range eggs.
Enemies Stable to heat, but destroyed by acids and alkalis. Damaged by
sunlight, the contraceptive pill, sleeping pills and alcohol.
Copper - Approximately 100mg of the copper mineral is stored in the human body, mainly in the liver,
kidneys and brain. After being converted into enzymes in the liver, it is used
to help the body absorb iron and to produce red blood cells. Works in
cooperation with zinc. Supplements are rarely necessary, but if they are, take
ten times the amount of zinc simultaneously.
RDA 1.5-3mg suggested (USA). Safe dosage up to 20mg. Toxic at 50mg.
Caution Supplements are not recommended for anyone with Wilson's lease.
Healing qualities Protects against anaemia. Can relieve arthritis in some cases.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Oysters (7.6), organic lamb's liver (8.70),
crab (4.80), soya flour (3.12), cashew nuts (2.20), tofu (1.70), butter beans
(1.22), lentils (0.58), parsley (0.52), walnuts (0.31), peanuts (0.27),
wholemeal bread (0.27), mackerel (0.19).
Enemies Excessive intakes of zinc can reduce copper absorption.
Iodide/Iodine - An essential non-metallic mineral, of which about half is stored
in the thyroid gland, which in turn controls the metabolism. If the soil is low
in this mineral, local populations may suffer from goitre, an enlargement of the
thyroid gland. Long-term deficiency can result in mentally retarded,
RDA 150mcg (from 11 yrs); pregnant women 175mcg rising
to 200mcg during lactation (USA). Safe dosage up to
1,000mq. No known toxicity.
Healing qualities Helps to control weight and keeps energy levels up. Improves mental capacities. Cures simple goitre and certain cases
of hypothyroidism. Protects against radiation.
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Iodized salt (3,100), seaweeds and haddock
(120), yoghurt (63), free-range eggs (53), cheese (20-58).
Enemies Depleted soil. (The cabbage family contains substances that are goitrogenic in animals, excessive raw cabbage may inhibit iodine absorption.)
Iron - More than half the body's iron helps to constitute the haemoglobin of red
blood cells, and a much smaller amount the myoglobin in muscles, both
transporters of oxygen to the body's tissues. Some is involved in the creation
of enzymes that assist in the release of energy from food. About one-quarter is
stored as ferritin for future use. Red blood cells live for only about 120 days,
after which they are remade using ferritin from the bone marrow. Iron is
necessary for the proper assimilation of B vitamins Women can often be iron
deficient due to menstrual loss. Take the ferrous forms of supplements, with
RDA 12mg, 15mg for menstruating and lactating women; 30mg during pregnancy
(USA). Safe dosage up to 60mg. Toxic at 100mg.
Caution High doses are poisonous to children. Just 3g ferrous sulphate could be
Healing qualities Prevents and cures iron-deficient anaemia. Protects against
disease via healthy blood cells. Good for the skin. Enhances energy and
stimulates the appetite.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Dried Mild seaweed (29.00), organic liver
(7.00-21.00), pumpkin seeds (15.00), cocoa (10.50), soya flour (9.10), black
molasses (9.20), wheatgerm (8.50), parsley (8.00), lentils (7.60), minced beef
(7.00), millet (6.80), haricot beans (6.70), free-range egg yolk (6:10), cashew
nuts (6.00), peaches, apricots and dried figs (4.06-4.20), oatmeal (4.10),
Enemies Coffee and tea depress its absorption (tannins form insoluble salts with
iron), as do phytates in unleavened bread and phosphates in eggs. Excess
Magnesium - Present in all living cells and necessary for the synthesis of
proteins, nucleic acids, fats and carbohydrates. Especially important for muscle
contraction and the health of the nervous system. Chelated supplements are
available, or take as dolomite with protein food.
RDA 350mg; 600mg for pregnant women; 355mg for lactating women; 400mg for
adolescent males (USA). Safe dosage up to 1,000mg. Toxic at 2,000mg.
Healing qualities Keeps the muscles in good trim. Promotes a healthy
cardiovascular system. Relieves indigestion (a natural antacid). Counteracts
depression. Helps prevent kidney stones and gallstones.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Sage (428), brazil nuts (410), fennel seeds
(385), soya flour (290), wheatgerm (270), cashew nuts (260), peanut butter
(180), Marmite (180), oatmeal (110), shrimps (110), wakame seaweed (107), dried
figs (92), tempeh (70), broccoli (60), Parmesan cheese (45).
Alcohol. Diuretics. High intakes of protein, calcium and phosphate can inhibit
Manganese - Up to 20mg of this essential mineral is stored in the bones, liver
and kidneys. It helps to produce enzymes that are involved in the creation of
cartilage components. It also activates other enzymes that ensure the
utilization of biotin and vitamins B and C. Assists in the production of thyroxine and is important for the proper function of the central nervous
system. Take supplements as gluconate or orotate with protein food.
RDA 2-5mg estimated (USA). Safe dosage up to 15mg. May be toxic at 30mg.
Healing qualities Helps prevent ataxia (lack of
coordination). Good for the memory. Keeps exhaustion at bay. Alleviates
dizziness. Contributes to the health of the skeleton.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Wheatgerm (12.30), split peas (8.00),
oatmeal (3.70), soya flour (2.90), pineapple (1.60), tempeh (1.43), wakame
seaweed 41.40). Present in tea.
Enemies Large amounts of phosphorus (including phosphate preservatives) and
calcium can prevent absorption.
Molybdenum - Functions as part of several enzymes concerned with the metabolism
of carbohydrates and fats, also
the utilization of iron.
RDA 150-500mcg estimated (USA). Safe dosage up to 1,000mcg. Toxic at 1,500mcg
(associated with gout).
Healing qualities Improves health of teeth. Helps prevent anaemia.
Best food sources Whole cereals, dark-green leafy vegetables.
Enemy Depleted soil.
Phosphorus - Present in all living cells and all natural food. In the human body,
the bones contain the most, up to 900g. It needs twice as much calcium to
operate effectively. It is involved with many metabolic processes and
biochemical reactions, as well as the transference of nerve impulses.
Necessary for the absorption of niacin.
RDA 800mg adults and 1-10yrs; 1,200mg 11-25 yrs and for pregnant or lactating
Healing qualities Keeps the heart and kidneys functioning well. Important for
strong bones, teeth and healthy gums. Helps prevent rickets. Assists in growth
and tissue repair. Promotes vitality. Cuts down arthritic pain.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Brewer's yeast (1,750), yeast extract
(1,700), pumpkin seeds (1,189), wheatgerm (1,050), whitebait (860), Parmesan
cheese (810), soya flour (640), brazil nuts (607), basil (490), rolled oats
(405), lamb's liver (400), prawns (350), goose (270), sirloin beef (244),
sweetcorn (130), dried apricots (120), peas (83).
Enemies Antacids. Too much
iron, magnesium or aluminium.
Potassium - Works inside the cells to balance water content and to regulate nerve
and muscle functions. Activates various enzymes.
RDA 2,000mg estimated (USA). Safe dosage up to 5,000mg. May be toxic at
Caution Potassium supplements are inadvisable for people with poor kidney
Healing qualities Keeps the brain clear and muscles and reflexes working well.
Helps to lower blood pressure. Prevents excess fluid retention and useful for
treating hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
Sample food sources (in mg per 1008) Brewer's yeast (1,900), dried figs (1,010),
kelp (978), wheatgerm (950), almonds (860), raisins and sultanas (860), pumpkin
seeds (817), dates (750), jacket potatoes (550), halibut (518), spinach (490),
raw mushrooms (470), chick peas and butter beans (400), tempeh (367), bananas
Enemies Coffee, too much salt, alcohol, diuretics.
Selenium - This essential trace element works in collaboration with vitamin E.
They are both antioxidants; in other words, they prevent damage to cells and
premature ageing due to oxidation. Any supplements of the mineral selenium is best taken on an empty
stomach. Just how much is available in the diet is dependent upon the soil in
which the food is grown. For example, there is usually more in crops grown in
America than in Britain.
RDA 70mcg (USA). Safe dosage up to 1,000mcg. Toxic at 3, 000mcg.
Healing qualities Helps maintain youthful skin and trim muscles. Useful for
treating dandruff. Protective against
heart disease and cancer. May relieve menopausal symptoms. Important for the
Sample food sources (in mcg per 100g) Wholemeal bread (35.00), mackerel (35.00),
Cheddar cheese (12.00), soya flour (11.00), free-range eggs (11.00), almonds
(4.00), oatmeal (3.00), garlic (2.00), skimmed milk (1.00).
Enemies Depleted soil. Food processing.
Sodium - Essential as this mineral is, people in the West are dying from too much
of it. It is a major cause of high blood pressure and heart disease. There is no
need to have salt on the table or to add it to cooking, as sodium is widely available in many natural foods. There is also far too much of it in
processed fare, especially meats and condiments, which should be avoided.
Of the approximate 90g of sodium found in the human body, most is divided between the bones and
the body fluids. It regulates the fluid balance, preventing excessive loss, and
it also governs various functions of the nerves and muscles.
RDA 500mg estimated (USA). Supplements are not recommended since intake is
already too high, causing serious potassium loss.
Healing qualities Prevents heat exhaustion. Helps to keep the muscles and nerves
in good order. Usually stops cramp. Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Baking
powder (11,800), Taman soya sauce (5,160), gherkins (4,633), salt (3,876), miso
(3,647), yeast extract (900-4,500), olives in brine (2,250), dried seaweed
(872-2,500), bacon rashers (2,140), Feta cheese (1,440), kippers (990), canned
salmon (509-570), wholemeal bread (550), peanut butter (350), lobster (330), raw
celery (140), carrots (95), skimmed milk (50).
Enemy Heavy sweating.
Zinc - This is an important trace element, part of or closely involved with more
than 70 enzymes, some of which are required for the production of DNA, RNA and
also for the synthesis of protein. Among its many activities it is essential for
healthy reproductive organs and for a balanced brain. It takes part in the
formation of insulin and helps maintain the acid-alkaline balance in the body.
It also affects the way muscles contract and is involved in immunity.
Zinc Supplements are available as gluconate, orotate or sulphate and are best taken
on an empty stomach.
RDA 15mg from llyrs (EU and USA). More for lactating women. Safe dosage up to
60mg. Toxic at 400mg.
Caution If you have a risk of cardiovascular disease, do not take high doses of
zinc (100mg or more) for prolonged periods, as the beneficial blood fats (i.e.
the HDLs) may be reduced.
Healing qualities Its presence in saliva enhances taste. Useful for the treatment of infertility. Controls cholesterol deposits.
Can prevent diabetes by contributing to the formation of insulin. Maintains the
health of the prostate gland. Eases menstrual flow. Can be used in the treatment
of schizophrenia. Helps keep the brain alert. Speeds up healing of wounds.
Boosts immunity. Eliminates white spots on the nails.
Sample food sources (in mg per 100g) Oysters (45.00), other shellfish
(5.30-7.20), wheatgerm (17.00), organic lean beef and lamb (5.30), soya flour
(3.90), miso (3.32), oatmeal (3.00), cheese (1.60-2.30), tempeh (1.81),
free-range eggs (1.30), lentils (1.00), butter beans (1.00), peas (1.00),
parsley (0.90), brown rice (0.70), raw broccoli (0.60).
Enemies Food processing, depleted soil, excessive perspiring (up to 3mg per day
can be lost), phytate in unleavened bread.
Water - Those of us who live in countries where water is plentiful
often take it for granted. The turn of a tap brings it gushing forth and we can
put the kettle on and make as many cups of tea as we like. In fact we have to
remind ourselves that we cannot live without it.
In hot countries dehydration, often through excessive loss of water in
diarrhoea, especially among children, causes countless deaths. Most of our cells
contain about 75 per cent water and they will quickly die if this level falls.
Indeed water plays an important part in a host of their chemical reactions.
Being a good solvent many nutrients can be carried about the body in the watery
fluid of the blood. Waste substances can also be excreted in water via the
As we all know, water regulates our temperature by cooling our bodies in the
form of perspiration. We also lose it when we breathe out and of course when we
urinate. We must therefore replenish this loss in our diet. Make sure you drink
plenty (ideally at least 3 pints/1.5 litres daily and preferably filtered) so
that your body can function efficiently.
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