Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol is a fat soluble vitamin which produces the pigments in the retina of the eyes. As a fat soluble vitamin it can be stored in the body and if taken as a supplement should be taken with food as it needs the fat from the food to be assimilated in the body.

Vitamin A’s primary function is in helping with vision, especially in dim light and at night. It also helps with the strengthening of the immune system against infections, keeping the skin and linings of the body, such as the nose, healthy. It also has a beneficial effect on the prostate gland. Vitamin A should not be taken if you are pregnant or thinking of having a baby as an excess amount of vitamin A can harm the unborn child.

Good sources of vitamin A, are, eggs, cheese, oily fish, milk, yoghurt and liver. Most of these sources are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is not a single vitamin but a complex of eight vitamins that co-exist in the same foods. Vitamin B is a water soluble vitamin which means that it does not have to be taken with food and it cannot be stored in the body, so it has to be replenished, like vitamin C.

Vitamin B is found mainly in whole unprocessed foods and in such foods as bananas, potatoes, lentils, chilli peppers, beans, whole grains and molasses. It is also found in meat, turkey and tuna. Vitamin B12 is not available from plants and therefore vegans may suffer from a deficiency unless they take a supplement. The elderly and athletes may need to supplement due to poor absorption by these two groups. Vitamin B may also benefit those suffering from diabetes, both type 1 and 2.

B vitamins are necessary to support and increase the rate of metabolism, maintain healthy skin, hair and muscle tone, enhance the immune and nervous systems, promote cell growth and division and help prevent anaemia, reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and may also help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for humans for normal growth and development. Ascorbic acid is widely used as a food additive to prevent oxidation (see antioxidants). Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, like vitamin B and needs to be taken regularly since it cannot be stored in the body.

Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and not only helps with the repair of cartilage, bones and gums but with the healing of wounds and the formation of scar tissue. It also forms an important protein which is used to make skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Too little vitamin C in the system can give rise to anaemia, bleeding gums, swollen and painful joints, easy bruising, rough, dry or scaly skin and in extreme cases scurvy.

Good sources of vitamin C are kiwi fruits, citrus fruits, green and red peppers, mangoes and pineapples and guavas, the skin of which contains about 5 times more vitamin C than an orange.

Remember that heat destroys vitamin C so eat your red peppers as near to raw as possible and put your health in the black.

Vit­a­min D

Vitamin DVit­a­mins are a group of chem­i­cals that are needed by the body for good health and are derived from the food you eat. Vit­a­min D, although referred to as a vit­a­min is a

steroid hor­mone and not exactly a vit­a­min in the strictest sense of the word. It is a fat sol­u­ble hor­mone (dis­solves in fat instead of water), which also means that it can be stored in the body, unlike vit­a­mins C and the B com­plex of vit­a­mins which are water sol­u­ble and have to be taken reg­u­larly, as they can­not be stored in the body. Vit­a­min D is mostly made in the skin, through expo­sure to sun­light, hence the term “The sun­shine vit­a­min.” Most foods con­tain very lit­tle vit­a­min D although some are now being for­ti­fied with it, such as cere­als, milk, mar­garine and yoghurt.  Nat­ural foods that do con­tain some vit­a­min D are oily fish (sar­dines, salmon, mack­erel, trout, tuna, shrimps, pilchards and her­ring), liver, egg yolk, mush­rooms, cheese, milk and butter. 

Lack of vit­a­min D is very com­mon espe­cially in peo­ple who live north of 35degrees lat­i­tude which includes most of North Amer­ica, Europe and Rus­sia. UVB (ultra vio­let B) rays from sun­light con­vert cho­les­terol (yes cho­les­terol) into vit­a­min D. The sun­light has to fall directly on to the bare skin. UVB rays can­not pen­e­trate glass, so if you sit in a con­ser­va­tory for instance and the sun is beat­ing down, all you get is warmth not UVB rays. For peo­ple of white or very light com­plex­ion a 20 minute expo­sure 2/3 times per week in the sum­mer months, April to Sep­tem­ber and between the hours of 10.00am and 3.00 pm when the sun is at its hottest is suf­fi­cient for the year. For those who have darker com­plex­ions a 40 minute to one hour expo­sure is needed, as melanin, which gives the dark com­plex­ion acts as a nat­ural sun­screen, there­fore a longer period of expo­sure is required. Tan­ning and sup­ple­men­ta­tion are other ways of get­ting your required level of vit­a­min D.

Vit­a­min D is con­verted in the liver to cal­cid­iol and it is this that is used to mea­sure your vit­a­min D sta­tus. Some of the cal­cid­iol is sent by way of the blood to the kid­neys where it is con­verted to cal­citriol, which is used by the body to strengthen bones. Most of the research has been car­ried out in recent years and appar­ently new, pos­i­tive and excit­ing dis­cov­er­ies are being made reg­u­larly. Stud­ies have linked vit­a­min D defi­ciency to var­i­ous can­cers, dia­betes, heart dis­ease, lupus, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, osteo­poro­sis, parkinson’s dis­ease, alzheimer’s, arthri­tis, liver and kid­ney dis­ease, pso­ri­a­sis and prostate can­cer and even depres­sion  in the dark win­ter months. More recently one report stated that  a lack of vit­a­min D in black men was the con­trib­u­tory fac­tor in prostate can­cer becom­ing aggres­sive.

The con­nec­tion between lack of vit­a­min D and rick­ets in chil­dren is well doc­u­mented. A recent sur­vey has found that the num­ber of reported cases of rick­ets in the UK has risen in recent years. This has been attrib­uted to the fact that many chil­dren spend most of their time indoors, usu­ally on com­put­ers or game sta­tions and when they do go out­side their arms and legs are cov­ered up. A study by a lead­ing Amer­i­can hos­pi­tal showed a cor­re­la­tion between type 2diabetes and a lack of vit­a­min D.  Appar­ently, those whose type 2 dia­betes was worse had a lower level of vit­a­min D. This rela­tion­ship between low vit­a­min D lev­els and dia­betes was even worse in “peo­ple of colour” than in whites. Despite the above men­tioned cor­re­la­tion, the hos­pi­tal has stated, how­ever, that the pub­lic should not jump to con­clu­sions. Another hos­pi­tal, in Hol­land this time, has reported sim­i­lar results.index Sunshine

Vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments are avail­able in tablet, drops and spray forms. It is highly rec­om­mended that you use drops (two drops each morn­ing on your tongue) or a spray into your mouth, as these are more effec­tive in deliv­er­ing the daily require­ments than tablets, which take longer to break down in your sys­tem. It is also advis­able to take vit­a­min D3 as opposed to D2 as the for­mer is more nat­ural and the lat­ter syn­thetic and less effec­tive. New reports are sug­gest­ing that there is no evi­dence of this. Research also shows that those with a low level of vit­a­min D also suf­fered from arte­r­ial stiff­ness, which is a major risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease and strokes.

Cur­rent sci­en­tific research sug­gests that all the cells in your body have vit­a­min D recep­tors and con­se­quently need vit­a­min D for their well being. This lat­est research also sug­gests that vit­a­min D is also respon­si­ble for the reg­u­la­tion of over two thou­sand genes in your body and plays a major role in:

Cell for­ma­tion and cell longevity

Skin and pan­cre­atic health

Heart health


Aging process

Sleep pat­terns

Hear­ing and eye health

Res­pi­ra­tory and repro­duc­tive health

Weight man­age­ment includ­ing the metab­o­lism of fats and carbohydrates

Strong healthy bones, because it helps with cal­cium uptake

Hair, mus­cles

Immune sys­tem

Proper food digestion

Stud­ies have shown that if every­one had opti­mal lev­els of vit­a­min D, the rate of can­cer would drop by as much as 70% almost imme­di­ately. These said stud­ies also show that rates of can­cer have a cor­re­la­tion with the amount of sun expo­sure peo­ple get. Appar­ently peo­ple who live away from the equa­tor have a higher inci­dence of com­mon can­cers than those who live nearer the equa­tor and this is con­sis­tent across dif­fer­ent cul­tures and eco­nomic levels.

As you get older your skin becomes thin­ner and as a con­se­quence absorbs less ultra vio­let rays (UVB). Long trousers and long sleeved shirts and blouses and stay­ing indoors dur­ing sum­mer also inhibit the intake of UVB rays. So, if you live above 35 degrees north lat­i­tude, if you are fat, get­ting on in years and dark skinned then you should pay par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to your vit­a­min D level. When tak­ing a sup­ple­ment, how­ever, it is impos­si­ble to rec­om­mend a stan­dard dose, as peo­ple come in all colours, sizes and ages, but two drops of vit­a­min D3 daily or one spray should be suf­fi­cient from April to Sep­tem­ber, to see you through the year.

A read­ing above 60nmo/L is con­sid­ered ade­quate when mea­sur­ing your vit­a­min D level. If your level is below 32nmo/L you have a seri­ous defi­ciency. The test is nor­mally referred to as a 25 Hydrox­yvi­t­a­min D test, short­ened to 25 Hydroxy.

Symp­toms of vit­a­min D defi­ciency are usu­ally gen­eral aches and pains and some­times this defi­ciency is mis­di­ag­nosed as fibromyal­gia as the symp­toms are sim­i­lar. A chronic defi­ciency can­not be reversed overnight and it takes months of sun­light and sup­ple­men­ta­tion to rebuild the body’s bones and ner­vous system.

Con­sid­er­ing the impor­tance of vit­a­min D and the role it plays in your well being you should have the 25 Hydroxy D test car­ried out on your next visit to your doctor.

Vitamin E


Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which gives a significant boost to the immune system. It is not a single vitamin but forms part of a compound of 8 vitamins. Vitamin E helps with male infertility problems, skin conditions, arthritis, aging, prostate conditions, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and alzheimer’s disease. A deficiency can cause retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy and impairment of the immune system

Food sources of vitamin E are almonds, avocados, brazil nuts, broccoli and cod liver oil.


Vitamin K

Vitamin K consists of two vitamins K1 and K2 both of which are fat soluble, meaning that they can be stored in the body and should be taken with food. Vitamin K1 is derived from plants and K2 is produced by bacteria in the large intestines. Long term use of antibiotics could reduce the amount of vitamin K in your body.   Vitamin K is involved in maintaining good bone health as you age and a deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, anaemia, bleeding gums and nose bleeds.

Vitamin K1 is found in avocados, parsley, cruciferous vegetables (greens) and kiwi fruit. Vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs and natto (a fermented Japanese soy product).

“Put Your Health In The Black”