The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
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Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)

Vitamin A, B, C, D, E & K
What Vitamins Do and Why You Need Them

Vitamins play very important roles in our body, and if we are lacking in any one vitamin, all kinds of health issues can arise. Conversely, if we have a health condition, we may be lacking in certain vitamins (or other nutrients) and replenishing those vitamins can actually help heal that condition. This, in fact, is how natural medicine works—by restoring to the body what it is lacking so that it can heal, on its own. We don't need drugs to manage symptoms; we need proper nutrition—including vitamins—to help the body do what it knows how to do: heal. On this page you can learn about each vitamin and some of its major functions in the body, and where to go to get additional information. Dr. Angela Agrios, ND (my personal naturopathic doctor) has reviewed all of the information on this page. Vitamins are important! Read on to learn about vitamins.

Vitamin A Supports Vision, Immune Function And Skin Health
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that has many functions in the body. It helps iron incorporate into red blood cells, which helps the body with proper oxygenation. It is essential for an effective immune system because 1) it helps with the integrity of skin and mucosa, and 2) Vitamin A supports the production and differentiation of white blood cells. Vitamin A also supports good vision, especially in low light.

Vitamin A Functions
Good Vision
Strong Immune System
Healthy Skin
Red Blood Cell Production
White Blood Cell Function

Vitamin A Food Sources
As a carotene (pre-cursor): dark leafy organic vegetables and yellow/orange veggies
As Vitamin A: liver, kidney, raw organic milk, raw organic butter, cod liver oil

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Vitamin A Supplementation
2,500 IU to 25,000 IU per day (or higher under medical supervision)
Vitamin A may be toxic in higher doses for some people.
Pregnant women should not take Vitamin A above 2,500 IU.
Vitamin A is either manufactured in the body from a “carotene” (from plants) or used directly by the body if the source is actually “Vitamin A” (from an animal source).

Conditions Effectively Treated With Vitamin A
Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, rough skin, prevents sunburns)
Eye conditions (dry eyes, impaired night vision, conjunctivitis)
Gastrointestinal disorders (ulcers, Crohn’s disease)
Menstrual disorders—heavy bleeding
Immune function: anti-viral (e.g., upper respiratory infections, measles, Epstein Barr virus, Herpes)
Helps to prevent kidney stones

Vitamin A Resources
Book: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Dr. Michael Murray, N.D.

Vitamin B - B vitamins: will be posted in a few weeks.

Vitamin C Supports A Healthy Immune System And Creates Radiant Skin
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that cannot be manufactured in the body. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, which is a protein that is a major structural component of skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bone. Vitamin C is important in supporting proper immune function. Vitamin C also serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radical damage and degeneration.

Vitamin C Functions
Strong Immune System
Builds collagen (elastic, young looking skin—anti-aging!)
Antioxidant (protects cells from damage and degeneration)

Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Scurvy: bleeding gums, poor wound healing and extensive bruising
Cardiovascular disease
Weak immune function

Vitamin C Food Sources
Citrus fruits
Vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, peppers, potatoes and Brussels sprouts
Maximum vitamin C is attained from fresh foods

Vitamin C Supplementation
Ascorbic acid (most popular) – tablets, capsules, powders, etc.
Buffered ascorbic acid (to lesson gastrointestinal irritation)
Mineral ascorbate (sodium ascorbate & calcium ascorbate are most popular)
Oral: 1 Gram to 9 Grams per day
Intravenous (IV): 15 grams to 75 grams (by a medical professional)

Conditions Effectively Treated With Vitamin C
Cardiovascular disease
Common cold

Vitamin C Resources
Book: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Dr. Michael Murray, N.D.

Vitamin D: Bone Health, Strong Immune Function and Blood Pressure Regulation
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin required for normal calcium metabolism, which makes it important to bone health. Vitamin D also has important immune modulating effects. It enhances appropriate immune function to help us prevent getting sick. It also decreases overactive immune responses such as inflammation and autoimmune disease.  Lastly, Vitamin D is cardiovascular protective due to its role in the regulation of blood pressure and insulin secretion.

Vitamin D Functions
Maintain normal serum calcium levels
Cell differentiation: cells divide appropriately, and not prolifically (e.g., cancer and tumors)
Strong immunity and immune response (prevents cold & flu, cancer prevention)
Blood pressure regulation
Insulin secretion (better blood sugar control)

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Rickets: soft bones in children (e.g., proper mineralization does not occur)
Osteomalacia: soft bones in adults, usually elderly
Muscle Weakness and Pain
Weak immune system (e.g., get sick a lot)

Vitamin D Sources
Sunshine, several times a week approximately 10 minutes a day (no sunscreen)
Darker skinned people require more sun time than lighter skinned people
Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines)
Fish liver oils
Sunscreen at SPF 8 or higher reduces Vitamin D production by 95%

Vitamin D Supplementation
Avoid Vitamin D2, which is synthetic Vitamin D (conventional prescription)
Vitamin D3 is the recommended form of Vitamin D to take (health food stores)
2,000 IU to 10,000 IU per day (don’t exceed 10,000 IU per day)

Conditions Effectively Treated With Vitamin D
Recurring bone fractures
Soft bones
Low immune function
Autoimmune disease
High blood pressure

Vitamin D Resources
Book: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Dr. Michael Murray, N.D.

Vitamin E Is An Important Antioxidant That Prevents Aging and Degeneration
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is an antioxidant that protects our cell membranes from degeneration and aging. Vitamin E supports oxygenation of our body by maintaining the health of our red blood cells and cardiovascular tissues. It keeps our immune function strong by protecting our white blood cells. Vitamin E is also very important to the health of our neurons and nervous system.

Vitamin E Functions
Antioxidant (fights free radicals)
Protect cell membranes
Prevent chemicals and heavy metals from entering cells
Proper immune function - Protects white blood cells and the thymus gland cells
Cardiovascular: protects the membranes of red blood cells to prevent anemia, and decreases oxidative damage in our cardiovascular tissues
Nervous system health: protects our neurons

Risk Factors For Vitamin E Deficiency Include:
Fat malabsorption syndromes (celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, etc.)
Premature birth
Hereditary disorders of red blood cells
Dialysis patients

Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency
Nerve damage
Muscle weakness
Poor circulation

Vitamin E Food Sources
Oils (wheat germ oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil)
Nuts and nut oils
Leafy greens

Vitamin E Supplementation
Mixed Tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) are full spectrum tocopherol supplementation (highly recommended)
d-alpha-tocopherol is the natural version of alpha tocopherol Vitamin E
dl-alpha-tocopherol is the synthetic version of alpha tocopherol Vitamin E (not recommended)
The natural form of Vitamin E is fat soluble
The synthetic form of Vitamin E is water soluble (not recommended)
500 to 1,000 IU per day

Conditions Effectively Treated With Vitamin E
Cardiovascular disease
Parkinson’s disease
Cystic Fibrosis
Intermittent claudication
Hormone Imbalances (e.g., PMS)

Vitamin E Resources
Book: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Dr. Michael Murray, N.D.

Vitamin K Is Essential For Healthy Blood Clotting And Strong Bones
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is responsible for many functions related to cell growth and regulation. Vitamin K is essential for the proper function of proteins involved in the process of blood clot formation, which is known as coagulation. Healthy coagulation ensures that we stop bleeding when we are injured or our tissues are damaged. Vitamin K is also important for the mineralization of our bones.

Vitamin K Functions
Blood clotting
Mineralization of bone
Cell growth and regulation

Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms
Impaired blood clotting (e.g., easy bruising, bleeding gums, nose bleeds, blood in the urine or stool)
Skin hyperpigmentation
Deficiency symptoms can also be due to taking anticoagulant drugs

Vitamin K Sources
Leafy greens (Vitamin K1)
Vegetables (Vitamin K1)
Vegetable oils (Vitamin K1)
Green Tea (Vitamin K1)
Also made in the gut by beneficial bacteria (Vitamin K2)
Synthetic forms (Vitamin K3) – not recommended

Vitamin K Supplementation
Fresh green juice drinks
Wheat grass juice
150 to 500 micrograms per day

Conditions Effectively Treated With Vitamin K
Excessive menstrual bleeding
Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn
Cardiovascular disease (because calcium has deposited into the arteries instead of the bones, due to Vitamin K deficiency)

Vitamin K Resources
Book: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Dr. Michael Murray, N.D.