The statements made here are backed by scientific research.  However, it must be remembered that many of the following statements do not have FDA approval, nor do they necessarily have the support of a consensus of physicians

Vitamin C                     Vitamin D
Beta-carotene               Vitamin K
Vitamin E
                     Folic Acid              
Vitamin A                     Lecithin                              
The B Vitamin               Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)


Beta-carotene      top of page  

Vitamin E          

Below is the standard drill on Vitamin E.  However, well controlled studies have failed to show any benefit from Vitamin E in regards to preventing cancers or heart disease.  The only somewhat consistent finding is that it has a small, but identifiable, statistical increase in strokes.  There's even been a recent study associating Vitamin E and prostate cancer. I'll leave this rhetoric below, but my bottom line is that I no longer take it.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It may be found in nut and vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and spinach. It is difficult to get enough Vitamin E from your diet, therefore supplementation is recommended. Vitamins E, taken in the proper dosage, has been shown to help prevent cancer, boost the immune system function, alleviate respiratory problems and help fight heart disease.  Recent studies point to the effectiveness of Vitamin E in protecting the heart may only occur in the presence of other anti-oxidants.  There is also a body of research that touts the effects of Vitamin E for improving brain function. Vitamin E is fat soluble and therefore stays in the body longer than water soluble vitamins such as the B vitamins and vitamin C. Since Vitamin E, stays in the body longer, it is important, not to take too much Vitamin E because it could interfere with blood coagulation. Proper dosing of Vitamin E is problematic. Higher levels of E have been associated with strokes.  So, what's high?  But there's more to it than that. The type of vitamin E that you take probably matters.  In nature Vitamin E comes as mixed tocopherols.  What is commonly sold is d-alpha tocopherol, a synthetic extraction of the natural blend of tocopherols that it may be argued was what we were evolutionarily designed to ingest.   


Good dietary sources of beta-carotene are cantaloupe, spinach, various dark green leafy vegetables, romaine lettuce and apricots. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, has been known for its antioxidant effects in the prevention of many cancers and heart disease. There was a Finnish study a few years ago that showed an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers who used beta-carotene. There is, therefore, some debate over the effectiveness of beta-carotene alone, in our diets.  Recent research has shown that foods rich in beta-carotene are also rich in lycopene, lutein, zeaxantin and alpha carotene, all strong disease fighting carotenoids.  What these amount to is good health for your eyes, especially in regards to preventing Macular Degeneration (the leading cause of adult blindness).  A commonly recommended dose is 20,000 IU of beta-carotene per day, to be obtained primarily from the food you eat and secondarily, from supplementation.

Vitamin C
Research Article
Vitamin C & E Protect the Heart
Research Article Preventing Age Related Poor Vision

Vitamin C, beta-carotene and Vitamin E are known as important antioxidants. What is an antioxidant? We know that the body needs oxygen to survive. Free floating oxygen coverts into free radicals (unpaired electrons). We need some free radicals, but not too many, to fight disease. If too many free radicals stay in the body too long, they can cause damage. An antioxidant destroys free radicals by destroying itself. Since the lifespan of an antioxidant is quite short, they must be replaced continually.

Vitamin C helps regulate the release of insulin in the body. It also helps the healing process and promotes collagen growth. Depletion of vitamin C in the body can cause scurvy (rare today) whose symptoms may include bleeding gums, hemorrhages, dementia, muscle pain, joint pain and bone pain. Vitamin C may be found in many types of berries, oranges, various melons, green and red bell peppers, kiwi fruit, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. We recommend 2000 mg per day of Vitamin C, to be obtained from the food you eat and from supplementation.

Vitamin A                              Research Article Preventing Age Related Poor Vision

Vitamin A, a naturally occurring group of retinoids from plant sources, is one of the building blocks for a vibrant immune system. Vitamin A, an antioxidant, is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps prevent infection and also prevents macular degeneration. Vitamin A also helps slow the aging process and assists in protein metabolism. Taking too much vitamin A could be toxic, especially for the liver. Therefore, we recommend taking no more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day, to be obtained from your diet and supplementation. Foods rich in vitamin A are carrots, cantaloupe, beet greens, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and spinach.

The B Vitamins    

All of the B vitamins are important for proper metabolism. Vitamin B1, thiamin, helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Thiamin can be found in beef, pork, oatmeal, beans and oranges. Too little thiamin in the diet can cause the disease beriberi. Symptoms of thiamin deficiency include difficulty walking, swollen limbs, overall weakness, heart enlargement, depression and various mood changes. Severe thiamin deficiency can destroy brain cells and impair memory. We recommend 100 mg of thiamin daily.

Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is crucial for many activities in the body. Vitamin B2 is a powerful antioxidant and also helps convert amino acids into neurotransmitters, which are necessary for proper brain function. Vitamin B2 deficiency can impair vision and also result in severe dermatitis. Good sources of riboflavin are fish, poultry, asparagus, broccoli, yogurt and spinach. It would be difficult to get too much riboflavin since it is secreted in the urine, two hours after ingestion. It causes the urine to have a bright yellow color. Alcohol and birth control pills interfere with riboflavin absorption. We recommend 100 mg of Vitamin B2 daily to be obtained from your diet and from supplementation.

Vitamin B3, more commonly known as niacin, is found in tuna, chicken breasts, some fortified cereals and veal. Niacin, given in the proper dosage, assists in lowering cholesterol levels. Too much Niacin, however, may cause liver damage. Niacin has also proven useful in certain allergic conditions because it prevents the release of histamine. Since niacin may cause flushing, nervousness, headache, itching, diarrhea and nausea, it should be taken under the supervision of a trained physician. We recommend 50 mg of niacin and 150 mg of niacinamide daily to be obtained from your diet and from supplementation.

Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid, is the anti-stress vitamin. Vitamin B5 is crucial for the formation of antibodies, essential for the production of adrenal hormones, assists in the proper utilization of vitamins by the body and helps convert protein, carbohydrates and fat into energy. Vitamin B5 may be found in saltwater fish, pork, nuts, mushrooms, various fresh vegetables, eggs, liver and whole wheat. We recommend 400 mg daily of Vitamin B5.

Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 is found in avocados, chicken, beef, soybeans, brown rice, eggs, oats and peanuts. According to Dr. John Marion Ellis, Vitamin B6 is as important to your body as oxygen and water. Vitamin B6 is necessary for proper metabolism, especially essential fatty acids, and assists in the creation of necessary neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6 is important in the formation of eicosanoids. A shortage of Vitamin B6 can lead to various types of nerve damage and insulin resistance. Too much Vitamin B6 may cause various nerve disorders or photosensitivity. We recommend 50 mg of Vitamin B6 daily to be obtained from you diet and from supplementation.

The fatty covering that protects nerve fibers in your body is called the myelin sheath. Vitamin B12 is necessary in the production of the myelin sheath. Severe deficiencies of Vitamin B12 may cause a deterioration of the myelin sheath, which is evident in patients with multiple sclerosis. Low levels of Vitamin B12 may cause increased homocysteine (a substance that is formed from protein metabolism) levels which, in turn, may cause more clotting in the arterial walls. Vitamin B12 is important in the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can be found in ham, cooked oysters, crab, tuna, salmon, clams and herring. We recommend 400 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily to be obtained primarily from you diet.

Biotin, a B-complex vitamin, is needed to process the protein and fat we consume. Biotin can be manufactured by the body but is also found in eggs, various cereals and milk. People with elevated blood sugar levels seem to have lower Biotin levels. We recommend 600 mcg of Biotin daily to be obtained primarily from your diet.

Vitamin D       Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is needed to transport phosphorus and calcium in the body so that bone growth occurs in children and bone remineralization occurs in adults. Vitamin D enhances the immune system, assists in the regulation of a person's heartbeat, is needed for proper thyroid function, helps prevent muscle weakness and helps in normalizing the blood clotting process. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy skeletal system and healthy teeth. Vitamin D can be stored in body fat for up to nine months in an infant and for several months in a healthy adult. Experts say that ten minutes of summer sun provides the body with enough Vitamin D for the day. Other sources of vitamin D may be found in eggs, sardines, halibut, salmon, herring, tuna, sweet potatoes and fortified milk. Rickets, a disease causing bone deformation is caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D should always be taken in conjunction with calcium. For decades the advise was to take 400 iu per day.  Recently, this was increased to 800 iu per day.  I feel that this recommendation falls far short of what it really takes to get an adequate Vitamin D intake.  Testing my patients randomly reveals a good 90% of them are Vitamin D deficient. I have found that I commonly have to have them take 2000-4000 iu per day to achieve normal levels.  The key to proper Vitamin D intake is to have your blood level checked; and then again if supplementation is recommended.  The optimal blood level of Vitamin D is somewhat controversial.  It should be over 30, but articles state the upper range as 40 to 100.  The problem is that some studies show negative effects if the level is too high.  In my practice I aim for a 30-40 range.

Vitamin K        Vitamin K's primary responsibility is to help blood clot. Your intestinal bacteria makes approximately half of the Vitamin K you need. Since newborns do not have enough Vitamin K in their body at birth, they are usually given a shot of Vitamin K when they are born. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin K is needed for the metabolism of osteocalcin, which is the protein in bone tissue. Vitamin K also plays a role in transforming glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver. We recommend 60 mcg daily of Vitamin K. Good sources of Vitamin K are broccoli, green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, oatmeal and soybeans.

Folic Acid      Folic acid is an extremely important vitamin that is involved in many activities in the body. Because folic acid is necessary for nerve formation and regulation and especially, nerve formation in the fetus, women, in their child bearing years, whether pregnant or not, should routinely take supplemental folic acid (400 mcg daily) to help prevent serious birth defects such as spina bifida and other neuronal disorders. Folic acid helps in the formation of red blood cells, the production of energy, the formation of white blood cells and is crucial for the synthesis of DNA, which is the genetic code of your body. Adequate intake of folic acid has been shown to be helpful in treating some anxiety disorders and depression. Women with adequate folic acid levels in their bodies had a lesser incidence of cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells in the cervix) which can be a precursor to cervical cancer. Folic acid may be found in many fruits and vegetables. Good sources of folic acid are navy beans, pinto beans, asparagus, broccoli, okra, spinach and brussel sprouts. We recommend 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid daily to be obtained from your diet and from supplementation.

 Lecithin (Phosphatidylcholine)      Cell membranes are primarily composed of lecithin, a fatty substance found in every cell in the body. Lecithin is composed of the B vitamin choline, linoleic acid and the vitamin inositol, which is needed for hair growth, helps reduce cholesterol levels and assists in preventing hardening of the arteries. Lecithin assists with fat metabolism, improves brain function and helps in the absorption of Vitamin A and Vitamin B1. Lecithin may be found in egg yolks, grains, fish and various legumes. We recommend 700 mg daily of lecithin and 200 mg daily of inositol, to be obtained from your diet and from supplementation.

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)     Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA) is a primary ingredient in folic acid. It also helps in the metabolism of Vitamin B5. PABA is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent sunburn and skin cancer. PABA helps with red blood cell formation, assists in protein metabolism and is integral in maintaining proper intestinal health. Good sources of PABA are various organ meats such as kidneys and liver, whole grains, spinach, molasses and mushrooms. We recommend 50 mg of PABA daily, to be obtained from your diet and from supplementation.