Healthy Beginnings

Basic Supplements You Shouldn’t Live Without: Vitamin C, Magnesium and Vitamin D

Humans don’t make vitamin C. Only primates, Guinea pigs, fruit bats and man don’t make vitamin C. All the other creatures on the planet make vitamin C in their livers. A goat that weighs 150 pounds makes 14,000 mg of vitamin C every day, and more when they are under stress. Frank scurvy is rare in modern society but people with a bad diet (no fresh fruits and vegetables) can get it. However, this may not be an optimal level for good health. Vitamin C is necessary for manufacturing ligaments and proteins. Bleeding gums, anemia, psychiatric disorders, musculoskeletal pain, collagen disorders, sudden death prevention and stress all require more vitamin C.

Two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Ph.D., took 18 grams of vitamin C per day. Too much vitamin C causes diarrhea. When people are sick they can take much more vitamin C and, as they improve, loose bowels ensue and one needs to reduce the dose. Our great, departed friend, Robert Cathcart, MD, of Incline Village, gave a patient one pound of vitamin C in 24 hours for a severe flu – that’s 454,000 mg given orally and intravenously. Alpha Fowler, MD, of the Common- wealth of Virginia School of Medicine did lengthy research and showed that he could reduce the death rate from sepsis (overwhelming infection) by giving only 13,000 mg of vitamin C around the clock intravenously from 62 percent to 38 percent, a very small dose by modern, integrative standards. We give 25,000 to 50,000 mg for a cold or flu.

Vasco da Gama set sail around the world in 1492 from Portugal and started with three ships and 1,500 men. Three years later he returned with 50 men and one ship. All the rest died of scurvy from a lack of fresh food. In the early 1800s James Lind, MD, of England gave sailors a lime per day to resist scurvy so that they could stand for their watches. It took the Admiralty 60 years to implement this treatment, hence the term for English sailors as “limeys.”

There are great books documenting the importance of vitamin C.1 Hippocrates recorded scurvy as early as 1500 BC. It has been forgotten and rediscovered many times. The RDA (recommend daily allowance) was a wartime level of 60 mg per day to prevent frank scurvy, but it is far from maintaining optimal health. Please supplement with vitamin C.

Magnesium the Miracle Mineral

Magnesium activates nerves and muscles, especially in the heart where it quiets irregular heartbeats and prevents the spasm of arteries, which precede heart at- tacks and strokes. It is calming and a laxative and is an important co-factor with ATP, our body’s energy currency. More than 3,500 proteins have binding sites for magnesium. Symptoms of deficiency include constipation, irregular menstrual flow and reproductive difficulties, insomnia, muscle spasms/twitches, loud noise sensitivity, anxiety, irritability, ADD, autism, palpitations, angina, nocturnal leg cramps and migraine headaches. Magnesium is important for maintaining optimal heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, reduced colon cancer risk, cholesterol reduction and brain health.

Many doctors prescribe drugs that lower magnesium levels. These drugs include diuretics, statins, and anti-anxiety and pain medications.

The simple salts of magnesium such as oxide and citrate are laxative and poorly absorbed. Magnesium glycinate is my favorite form because it is well absorbed and great for muscle relaxation, anti-cramping, sleep promotion and anti-anxiety. Magnesium glycinate is also a laxative, which is important for many people (especially for those living in the dehydrating, dry desert of Nevada). Researchers in China found that for every 50 mg increase in magnesium, colon cancer was reduced by 7 percent. A British study found a 13 percent decrease. The recommended daily magnesium intake is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women, but most citizens get only about 20 percent of that amount per day.2 Supplementing magnesium is extremely important.

Vitamin D – More Than a Vitamin

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in our body and is easily one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. It is able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis, or cancer cell death. Intake of D3 (never take the synthetic D2 form) can prevent tens of thousands of deaths from breast and colon cancer. Further studies reveal aged and elderly people reduce their chance of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43 percent.

Studies have also shown that optimizing vitamin D levels could help prevent at least 16 types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers. It appears to have a role in preventing all cancers.3

Vitamin D has long been known to make strong bones and prevent osteoporosis and rickets. It also prevents serious infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, septic shock, respiratory infections and influenza. Vitamin D also helps prevent behavioral disorders such a seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread.4 Optimal levels can be easily determined by blood tests. Levels of 50 to 70 ng/ml can usually be achieved by supplementing 5,000 iu per day for adults. Some people require several times that amount. Children should take 1⁄2 that dose or less. Sunshine exposure is great but impractical for most people, especially during the winter. Vitamin A intake can negate the positive effects of vitamin D. There are very few serious side effects to vitamin D supplementation.

These three nutrients are vital to supplement for our long-term health.

For more information, call Gerber Medical Clinic at 775-826-1900 or visit


  1. “Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, infectious Diseases and Toxins.” By Thomas Levy, MD, JD.
  2. King M. “Magnesium Lowers Colorectal Cancer Risk,” 3. www.mercola.comMarch11,2010.
4. Hoilick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007; 357: 266-281.