top vitamins and minerals
Robin Wald, M.S.
found in the October 1998 issue of Natural Living
it does: Sharpens eyesight, boosts immune function, fights
infection, and promotes tissue healing.
take it? Vegans are at risk for vitamin A deficiency, since
it’s found only in animal foods. (Beta-carotene is converted to
vitamin A in the body on a limited basis, but isn’t a substitute
for getting vitamin A directly or in its pure form. You need both!)
Recommended for infections, excessive menstrual bleeding, peptic
ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, acne, and hypothyroidism.
much? 5,000-10,000 I.U. Don’t exceed 5,000 I.U. if you’re
pregnant, since it can potentially cause birth defects. Vitamin A
can raise liver enzyme levels, so check with a doctor before
supplementing if you have a history of alcoholism or liver disease,
or plan to take doses above 25,000 I.U. (Under usual circumstances,
too much vitamin A can also cause hair loss.)
Carotenes (Beta-carotene, Alpha-carotene, Lycopene)
they do: Fight free radical oxidation, the fiendish process
which causes cell breakdown, rapid aging, cancer, and degenerative
disease. Lycopene (found in high concentrations in tomatoes) is the
most powerful, followed by alpha-carotene, then beta-carotene.
take them? Antioxidants are good basic prevention tools, warding
of cancer and heart disease and slowing the aging process. Exposure
to stress, pollution, chemicals, and pesticides increases your need
much? The usual dose of beta-carotene is 25,000 I.U., but a
therapeutic dose as high as 300,000 is safe (though it may turn skin
yellow). For best effects, pop a pill with several carotenes in
combo. And eat your fruits and veggies!
they do: Energize! B’s are key for energy metabolism, brain
power, and nerve cell function.
take them? You’re run-down, fatigued, fuzz-headed, or stressed
out. Or you’re on the Pill, taking antibiotics, or drinking a lot
- activities that deplete B-vitamin stores and interfere with their
absorption from foods.
much? A good quality multi should include all of the B-vitamins,
including thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic
acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin, folic acid, and cobalamin (B12)
in a dosage range between 5-50 mg of each.
it does: Juices metabolism, immune function, and nervous system.
Helps cells multiply, and ensures healthy pregnancy. It is also a
natural anti-depressant, helping produce neurotransmitters. Plus, B6
fights heart disease and osteoporosis by breaking down
artery-clogging amino acid homocysteine in the blood.
take it? For healthy menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy, and
to treat PMS, enhance energy and mood, and fight disease. If
you’re on the Pill, you’re at high risk for B6 deficiency.
much? 50-100 mg of B6 or pyridoxal 5-phosphate (its activated
form). Check to see how much is in your multi, then supplement to
fill the gap.
it does: Helps cell production, nerve cell and immune function,
energy metabolism, and homocysteine metabolism (see vitamin B6).
Short-term deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia (treatable with
a supplement); long-term shortfalls can mean brain damage.
take it? You’re super-tired, get frequent colds, take the
Pill, or drink alcohol. A simple blood test can let you know if
you’re B12/folic acid anemic and need to supplement. Strict vegans
should always take extra B12, since it exists only in animal
foods (the form in fermented foods like tempeh and miso are not
much? At least 100 mg for vegetarians. If you’re already
deficient, take 2,000 mg per day for several months to re-establish
normal levels or have your doctor give you B12 injections.
it does: Keeps cells splitting and DNA synthesizing, and boosts
homocysteine metabolism. Folate deficiency in the first trimester of
pregnancy may cause birth defects.
take it? You plan to have a kid someday. Women of childbearing
age should take at least 800 mg of folic acid. Extra folate also
treats B12/folate-deficient (macrocytic) anemia, cervical dysplasia,
and gingivitis, and helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.
much? 400 mg in a multi. You can take additional folic acid in a
tablet, always with B12, since too much folic acid can mask a B12
deficiency. An oral folic acid rinse is good for gums. And eat those
it does: Fights free radicals, immune-enhances, stimulates
adrenals, detoxifies, and acts as an anti-histamine. It also helps
make collagen, the protein that literally holds the body together.
take it? To boost immunity. Vitamin C is recommended for
infections, stress, allergies, asthma, cervical dysplasia,
infertility, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, hepatitis, herpes,
periodontal disease, heart disease, and cancer. Take extra C when
you’re injured, to speed healing.
much? For general health, 500-3,000 mg of ascorbic acid is a
good start, though a therapeutic dose is just below "bowel
tolerance" – the amount which causes diarrhea. (Take ˝
teaspoon of buffeted powdered C in water each half-hour until
diarrhea occurs. Your ideal dose is 75% of this amount, divided into
2-3 doses over the day.)
it does: Acts as a super-powerful antioxidant. Also offers major
protection against heart disease by reducing "bad" LDL
cholesterol and increasing "good" HDL cholesterol. Low
levels of E are linked with cancer, diabetes, and reproductive
take it? You live with stress, pollution, and/or high-fat diet.
(In other words, you exist.) Supplement to fight cancer, heart
disease, stroke, and diarrhea, and to slow aging. Vitamin E also
treats skin disorders, PMS, ulcers, hepatitis, infection, lupus, MS,
AIDS, cervical dysplasia, and breast disease.
much? 400 I.U., or a therapeutic dose from 400-1,200 I.U.
Natural d-alpha-tocopherol combined with tocotrienols is best. If
you’re taking blood- thinning medication, consult your doctor.
it does: Builds bones. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that your
body synthesizes from sunlight. It also helps prevent breast and
take it? To prevent osteoporosis and reduce cancer risk. Vitamin
D should be part of a multi- or bone-support supplement. Take extra
in the winter months, when there’s less sunlight.
much? 200-800 I.U. in a good multi. Butter and egg yolks (or
cod-liver oil and cold-water fish, for non-veggies) are rich food
& Inositol, the Lipotropic Factors
they do: Burn fat. Lipotropic factors unclog the liver, aiding
fat metabolism, and they keep the brain humming.
take them? You’re trying to lower cholesterol, lose weight,
sharpen memory, and/or detox your liver.
much? Look for a lipotropic supplement with 100-300 mg each of
choline (or phosphatidylcholine) and inositol (or
phosphatidylinositol), then take 1-3 times per day.
it does: Builds bones and teeth, and prevents preeclampsia and
hyper-tension during pregnancy.
take it? To stop osteoporosis – the bone loss leading to
"old ladies hump." Calcium is also key to healthy
pregnancy and breastfeeding.
much? 800 mg for women over 24. If you are under 24, pregnant,
or lactating, you should take 1,200 mg. Best bet: A bone-building
complex combining calcium with magnesium, vitamin D, and trace
it does: Works with B6 to boost energy and enhance brain
function, and builds strong bones.
take it? You’ve got PMS, high blood pressure, and/or general
fatigue – or you’re pregnant. Magnesium is also useful for
muscle cramps, hypoglycemia, and heart rhythm disturbances, and to
much? 400-1,000 mg.
it does: Energizes, keeps oxygen moving, and boosts immunity.
Low iron (anemia) is the most common nutrient deficiency in the
United States – resulting in fatigue, mental fuzziness, and
take it? You’re menstruating, pregnant, or anemic.
Supplementing can raise aerobic capacity, so it’s especially
useful for anemia-prone endurance athletes.
much? 15 mg for females age 11-50, in a good multi. A prenatal
multi supplies the recommended 30-mg per day for pregnancy. Take
iron with vitamin C, to enhance absorption – but separately
form vitamin E, calcium and zinc, which make absorption tougher.
it does: heals wounds, boosts immune function, and help hormones
take it? To maintain good health, heal wounds, and ensure
healthy pregnancy and breast-feeding. Zinc is depleted by alcohol,
antibiotics, and the Pill, and some veggie diets are low in it.
It’s also useful for treating anorexia, bulimia, liver disease,
much? 15-30 mg. For specific conditions, take up to 60 mg. Zinc
should be taken with copper (in a ratio of 15 mg zinc: 1 mg copper)
to prevent a zinc-induced copper-deficiency anemia.
it does: Keeps blood sugar in check, fighting hypoglycemia and
diabetes. Chromium also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and it
can improve your lean muscle mass to body fat ratio, promoting
take it? Because you eat too many refined carbs! The more baked
goods, pasta, and bread you scarf, the more chromium you need.
Supplement if you’re hypoglycemic, have high cholesterol, or want
to increase muscle and shed fat.
much? 200-600 mg of chromium picolinate (the best form).
it does: Like C, E, and the carotenes, selenium protects cell
membranes from free radicals. Low levels are linked to cancer,
infertility, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts.
take it? For healthy conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding,
and to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative
much? 50-200 mg of selenium per day along with other
Minerals (Iodine, Copper, Manganese, Boron, Silica, Vanadium,
they do: Build bones, cartilage, skin, teeth, hair, and nails.
Iodine helps form thyroid hormone; molybdenum detoxes the liver;
copper helps you absorb iron and produce red blood cells; and boron
To prevent osteoporosis, among other things. You need
trace minerals along with calcium and magnesium for strong bones. If
you have hypothyroidism, you may need extra iodine. And take copper
to correct iron-deficiency anemia or when supplementing with zinc.
much? Your multi or bone-building complex should include trace
minerals. Sea vegetables are also a source.
they do: Prevent disease, by building cell membranes and nerve
cells and forming hormone-like prostogladins. The essential fatty
acid (EFA’s) include linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha –linoleic
acid (omega 3). EFA- low diets are linked with chronic degenerative
disease, including cancer, heart disease, and strokes.
take them? To stay healthy – the typical American diet tends
to lack these "good fats." EFA’s help treat PMS, skin
disorders, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, and menopause.
much? 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil, high in both omega 3 and
omega 6. Or you can take omega 6 fatty acids in the form of GLA
(gamma-linoleic acid) or evening primrose oil, and omega 3’ as a
combination of EPA and DHA fish oils, for non-vegetarians, 1-2 1,000
mg capsules are a good therapeutic dose.
– Quercitin, Pycnogenol and Proanthocyanidins
they do: Fight inflammation, prevent cancer, and act as
anti-histamines, anti-virals, and antioxidants. They’re also key
for collagen, blood vessels, and skin.
take them? As general disease fighters, and for allergies, easy
bruising, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and viral infections like
HIV and herpes.
much? Look for a bioflavonoid complex or a C supplement with
bioflavanoids. Other sources include grapes or grape seed extract,
berries, citrus fruits, red wine, and green tea.
and Digestive Enzymes
they do: Boost digestion. Enzymes and bromelain (a plant enzyme
from pineapple) help your body use the food you eat. Bromelain is
also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
take them? You have an upset stomach, are overweight, and/or
want to reduce symptoms of indigestion. Bromelain also helps treat
much? 1-3 capsules at the start of each meal.
it does: Energizes! Coenzyme Q10 produces ATP, the body’s
energy source, and protects against lipid peroxidation – a fancy
phrase for the destruction of cell membranes.
take it? You’re fatigued, or you want to improve your workout.
Co Q10 will enhance muscle performance and aerobic capacity,
boosting energy. Also use it to treat heat disease, high blood
pressure, and immune deficiency, and to help prevent cancer.
much? 30-150 mg.
– Friendly Bacteria
points out that the Chinese viscera may have the same name and even
some overlapping functions but yet are quite different from the organs
of modern Western medicine. Each of the five Chinese medical viscera
also has a corresponding tissue, sense, spirit, and emotion related to
it. These are outlines in the table above.
they do: Befriend your intestines. Good bacteria include
lactobacillus, acidophilus, and bifidobacterium bifidum. Out-of whack
gut flora (the normal bacteria in the digestive system) can result in
candida overgrowth, poor nutritional absorption, allergies, immune
disorders, and colon cancer.
take them? You’ve finished up a course of antibiotics, or you
have recurring vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections,
irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or allergies.
much? One teaspoon of a refrigerated powdered probiotic supplement
in some water once or twice per day, or the recommended dosage in
here to go to a printable dosage chart for all these great nutrients
TO LIGHTEN LIVER SPOTS
Bleaching Scrub (Yin/yang)
natural enzymes soften the skin while exfoliating and bleaching
it. Lemon is a great source of much-needed vitamin C and is also a
great bleach. Honey moisturizes and revitalizes.
tablespoon raw honey
the papaya and place in a bowl. Mash thoroughly, then add the
lemon juice and honey. Mix well, and rub on skin. Leave for 5
minutes, rinse off, pat skin dry with a soft towel.
nutrient program for before and after surgery
program, created by Elson Haas, M.D., is designed to speed tissue
healing after surgery and to strengthen the immune system. Follow
these recommendations for about three to four weeks prior to your
surgery and four to six week after.
20,000 IU (Caution: this is a high dose of vitamin A. Only use this
amount one to two weeks before surgery and two to three weeks
Vitamin C: 4-6
Vitamin D: 400
IU (vitamin E has been shown to slow healing time – this is a low
Vitamin K: 300
(B2): 25-100 mg
Niacin (B3): 25
acid (B5): 1,000 mg
(B6): 50 mg
(B12): 200 mcg
Folic acid: 800
Biotin: 300 mcg
Boron: 2-3 mg
Copper: 2-3 mg
Iron: 20 mg
selenomethione: 200 mcg
Zinc: 60-100 mg
2 billion organisms
You do not need to purchase all of these supplements individually.
A multivitamin may cove the bases for many of the vitamin and mineral
recommendations; then you could supplement only those nutrients with
the higher-recommended dosages, like vitamins A and C. Work with your
health-care provider to come up with the best program for your
Haas, Elson. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkeley, California:
celestial Arts, 1992.
Overview of the Chinese Medical Map
understand Chinese medicine, one must first understand the concepts of
Yin and Yang since these are the most basic concepts in this system.
Yin and Yang are the cornerstones for understanding, diagnosing, and
treating the body and mind in Chinese medicine. In a sense, all the
other theories and concepts of Chinese medicine are nothing other than
an elaboration of yin and yang. Most people have probably already
heard of yin and yang but may only have a fuzzy idea of what these
concepts of yin and yang can be used to describe everything that
exists in the universe, including all the parts and functions of the
body. Originally, yin referred to the shady side of a hill and yang to
the sunny side. Since sunshine and shade are two, interdependent sides
of a single reality, these two aspects of the hill are seen as part of
a single whole. Other examples of yin and yang are that night exists
only in relation to day and cold only exists in relation to heat.
According to Chinese thought, every single thing that exists in the
universe has these two aspects, a yin and a yang. Thus everything has
a front and a back, a top and a bottom, a right and a left, and a
beginning and an end. However, a thing is yin or yang only in
relation to its paired complement. Nothing is in itself yin or
is the concepts of yin and yang which make Chinese medicine a holistic
medicine. This is because, based on this unitary and complementary
vision of reality, no body part or body function is viewed as separate
or isolated from the whole person. The table below shows a partial
list of yin and yang pairs as they apply to the body.
it is important to remember that each item listed is either yin or
yang in relation to its complementary partner. Nothing is absolutely
and all by itself either yin or yang. As we can see from the above
list, it is possible to describe every aspect of the body in terms of
yin and yang.
(pronounced ‘chee’) and blood are the two most important
complementary pairs of yin and yang within the human body. It is said
that, in the world, yin and yang are water and fire, but in the human
body, yin and yang are blood and qi. Qi is yang in relation to blood,
which is yin. Qi is often translated as energy and energy is certainly
a manifestation of Qi. Chinese language scholars would say, however,
that qi is larger that any single type of energy described by the
modern Western science. Paul Unschuld, perhaps the greatest living
sinologist, translates the word qi as influences. This conveys the
sense that qi is what is responsible for change and movement. Thus,
within Chinese medicine, qi is that which motivates all movement and
transformation or change.
concept of Qi is difficult to define, although everybody really knows
what it is. It is often translated as breath, life-force, vitality,
energy, or simply as that which makes us alive. If there is no Qi,
there is no life. A wilting plant is lacking in Qi; a feeble person
and a weak voice both show a lack of Qi; strong, lively, energetic
people have plenty of Qi. There is a lot of Qi at a children’s
party; and there is a lot of Qi in quiet strength. In illness, the Qi
is depleted, causing tiredness and depression; or it may be disturbed,
causing irritability and over-reaction.
of us know from our own experience what this Qi is and when it is
flowing smoothly. Acupuncture makes a detailed study of Qi, dividing
it into many different kinds depending on its function – such as
nourishing or protecting. The proper quality, distribution, and even
flow of Qi is of the utmost importance to health.
Chinese medicine, qi is defined as having five specific functions:
is qi which is responsible for protecting the exterior of the body
from invasion by external pathogens. This qi, called defensive qi,
flows through the exterior portion of the body.
transforms substances so that they can be utilized by the body. An
example of this function is the transformation of the food we
into nutrients to nourish the body, thus producing more qi and
being relatively yang, is inherently warm and one of the main
function of the qi is to warm the entire body, both inside and out.
If this warming function of the qi is weak, cold may cause the flow
of qi and blood to be congealed similar to cold’s effect on water
is qi which holds all the organs and substances in their proper
place. Thus all the organs, blood, and fluids need qi to keep them
from falling or leaking out of their specific pathways. If this
function of the qi is weak, then problems like uterine prolapse,
easy bruising, or urinary incontinence may occur.
provides the motivating force for all transportation and movement
in the body. Every aspect of the body that moves is moved by the
qi. Hence the qi moves through the blood and body fluids
throughout the body. It moves food through the stomach and blood
through the vessels.
Chinese medicine, blood refers to the red fluid that flows through out
vessels the same as in modern Western medicine, but it also has
meaning and implications which are different from those in modern
Western medicine. Most basically, blood is that substance which
nourishes and moistens all the body tissues. Without blood, no body
tissue can function properly. In addition, when blood is insufficient
or scanty, tissue becomes dry and withers.
and blood are closely interrelated. It is said that, "Qi is the
commander of the blood and blood s the mother of Qi." This means
that it is qi which moves the blood but that it is blood which
provides the nourishment and physical foundation for the creation and
existence of qi.
Chinese medicine, blood provides the following functions for the body:
nourishes the body. Long with qi, the blood goes to every part of
the body. When the blood is insufficient, function decreases and
tissue atrophies or shrinks.
moistens the body tissues. This includes the skin, eyes, and
ligaments and tendons or what are simply called the sinews of the
body in Chinese medicine. Thus blood insufficiency can cause drying
out and consequent stiffening of various body tissues throughout the
provides the material foundation for the spirit or mind.
Chinese medicine, the mind and body are not two separate things. The
spirit is nothing other than a great accumulation of qi. The blood
(yin) supplies the material support and nourishment for the spirit
(yang) so that it accumulates, becomes bright (i.e., conscious and
clever), and stays rooted in the body. If the blood becomes
insufficient, the mind can "float", causing problems like
insomnia, agitation, and unrest.
with qi and blood, essence is the most important, essential material
the body utilizes for its growth, maturation, and reproduction. There
are two forms of this essence. We inherit essence from our parents and
we also produce our own essence from the food we eat, the liquids we
drink, and the air we breathe.
essence which comes from our parents is what determines our basic
constitution, strength, and vitality. We each have finite, limited
amount of this inherited essence. It is important to protect and
conserve this essence because all bodily functions depend upon it,
and, when it is gone, we die. Thus the depletion
of essence has serious implications for our overall health and well
being. Happily, the essence derived from food and drink helps to
bolster and support this inherited essence. Thus, if we eat well and
do not consume more qi and blood than we create each day, then when we
sleep at night, this surplus qi and more especially blood is
transformed into essence.
Viscera and Bowels
Chinese medicine, the internal organs (called viscera so as not to
become confused with the Western biological entities of the same name)
have a wider area of function and influence than in Western medicine.
Each viscus has distinct possibilities for maintaining the physical
and psychological health of the individual. When thinking about the
internal viscera according to Chinese medicine, it is more accurate to
view them as spheres of influence or as a network that spreads
throughout the body, rather than as a distinct and separate physical
organ as described by Western science. This is why
the famous German sinologist, Manfred Porkert, refers to them as orbs
rather than as organs. In Chinese medicine, the relationship between
the various viscera and other parts of the body is made possible by
the channel and network vessel system which we will discuss below.
Chinese medicine, there are five main viscera which are relatively yin
and six main bowels which are relatively yang. The five yin viscera
are the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys. The six yang bowels
are the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, gallbladder,
urinary bladder, and a system that the Chinese medicine refers to as
the triple burner. All the functions of the entire body are subsumed
or described under these eleven organs or spheres of influence. Thus
Chinese medicine as a system not have a pancreas, a pituitary
glands, or the ovaries. Nonetheless, all the functions of these
Western organs are described under the Chinese medical system of the
five viscera and six bowels.
this system, the five viscera are the most important. These are the
organs that Chinese medicine says are responsible for the creation and
transformation of qi and blood and the storage of essence. For
instance, the kidneys are responsible for the
excretion of urine but are also responsible for hearing, the strength
of the bones, sex, reproduction, maturation, and growth, the lower and
upper back, and the lower legs in general and the knees in particular.
addition, each Chinese medical viscus or bowel possesses both a yin
and a yang aspect. The yin aspect of a viscus or bowel refers to its
substantial nature or tangible form. Further, an organ’s yin is
responsible for the nurturing, cooling, ad moistening of that viscus
or bowel. The yang aspect of the viscus or bowel represents its
functional activities or what it does. An organ’s yang aspect also
warming. These two aspects, yin and yang, form and function, cooling
and heating, when balanced create good health. However, if either yin
or yang becomes too strong or too weak, the result will be disease.
Xing –the Five Phases or Elements
Five Phases are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Just as Yin/Yang represents a spinning unit of rest/activity,
of dark/light, of inward and outward movement, so the Five Phases
represent five different movements or aspects of energy, five
energetic tendencies, five vibratory rates.
are two Yin seasons (Autumn (Fall) and Winter) and two Yang seasons
(spring and Summer)
here to view the
Table of Correspondences According to the Five Elements
is the season or growth and burgeoning energy. It exemplifies the
change from Yin to Yang, pushing what is inside outside with the
forceful impetuosity of the Wood Phase. Its climate is Wind – fast,
mellow fruitfulness and a certain sadness characterizes the Western
notion of Autumn. In Chinese philosophy it is also linked with
sadness, a time of withdrawal and contraction as Yang turns to Yin,
the Metal Phase where the leaves dry up and fall and the fruits are
set containing the seeds for the coming year.
here for a table of correspondences between zang organs and
secretions, emotions, colors etc.
come back soon for more!!
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