To Your Health
September, 2011 (Vol. 05, Issue 09)
To obtain adequate levels of vitamin D and prevent such conditions, the recommended daily allowance for adults is 1,000 IUs, but a therapeutic dose for immune health and cancer prevention is much higher.
The importance of vitamin D3
has hit "mainstream medicine" and doctors are routinely testing for D3
levels. At my clinic, we've observed that it might take as much as 10,000 IUs a day to increase blood levels when low, and about 5,000 IUs a day to maintain them. It is also important to regularly check kidney function, as in rare occasions, vitamin D in high dosages can adversely affect the kidneys.
Dietary sources: Fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, fortified foods.
Another valuable vitamin for overall health is vitamin E, which effectively helps to prevent blockages in the coronary arteries. Additionally, vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent to protect the liver, which can metabolize and excrete some forms of vitamin E. Antioxidants such as vitamin E effectively protect cells from free-radical damage, which contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions.
There are several types of natural, food-based vitamin E supplements available, including alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol, so it is important to ensure that your supplement includes all these fractions. Foods that are naturally high in vitamin E include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts, and the recommended daily allowance for adults is 15 milligrams. The therapeutic dosage is 200-400 mg a day of mixed tocopherols.
Dietary sources: Nuts, seeds, vegetables oils (soybean, canola, etc.), green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin K is one of those vitamins that you don't hear a lot about in the media or the doctor's office, but it is an important nutrient for heart and bone health. There are two natural forms utilized by the body: vitamin K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is used for blood coagulation, while K2, which is mostly found in meat, liver, cheese, and egg yolks, is used for calcium regulation. Both forms of the vitamin work together to prevent cardiovascular disease, as K2 controls calcification in your arteries and K1 helps to thin the blood.
Calcification of the arteries is a form of cardiovascular degeneration that can begin at an early age but usually goes unnoticed until more serious problems arise. K2 helps prevent this process by deciding where calcium gets delivered in the body and ensures that the calcium you consume is deposited in your bones, not in your blood vessels and other soft tissues. K2 also helps promote blood vessel elasticity by safeguarding elastin, the core protein in the muscle fibers primarily responsible for the elasticity of the arterial wall. For these reasons, vitamin K is an important nutrient for overall health; the recommended daily allowance for adults is about 1 mg a day.
Dietary sources: Vegetables (e.g., spinach, asparagus, and broccoli), beans (including soybeans), strawberries, eggs, meat.
While all these vitamins are required in adequate amounts for optimal health and well being, certain vitamins may be needed in higher amounts at different times, depending on your lifestyle, diet, environment, and possible deficiencies. Since the body cannot synthesize or manufacture most vitamins itself, these nutrients must be supplied directly through a proper whole foods diet with additional nutritional supplementation. Obtaining recommended amounts of all these vitamins will promote overall well-being by helping to boost energy, regulate the body's systems, balance metabolism, enhance immune function, assist in the formation of bones and tissue, and help convert fat and carbohydrates into usable energy. Remember to talk to your health care provider if you are considering taking any of these vitamins as supplements so they can recommend an appropriate dosage.
IsaAc Eliaz, MD, LAc, MS, has been practicing integrative, holistic medicine for more than 25 years. He is the medical director of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Sebastopol, Calif., where integrative health practitioners work with patients to treat cancer and other chronic illness. Learn more at www.dreliaz.org.