What Foods Have Vitamin C And Why Do We Need It?

Sailors Died Of Scurvy In The Old Days:  Scurvy is a Vitamin C deficiency.  A diet completely devoid of Vitamin C will kill you in the end.   Lack of Vitamin C causes a breakdown in the connective tissues of the body, as well as the capillary blood vessels.  This l0ng term effects of eating foods which are deficient  in  Vitamin C  are:   loose teeth, bleeding gums,  and sore and weak joints.  The  small capillary blood vessels begin to bleed under the skin, resulting in patches of small red dots. Haemorrhages can occur in serious cases, causing strokes and damage to the heart muscle and the brain.

Vitamin C kills bacteria in the blood stream, which means that it acts as an antibiotic.  Large doses of Vitamin C have cured many infectious diseases, including cases of viral pneumonia and meningitis.  More about Vitamin C in curing infectious disease later – back now to symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin C, as presented in scurvy:

According to Dr Rudolph Ballentine, M.D., scurvy killed more than half the sea men on a ship which set out from England in 1739, heading for the Pacific.  Out of 961 men on board, 626 died on the journey, mostly from scurvy, or Vitamin C deficiency.

Citrus juice had been known, since 1616,  to prevent and reverse scurvy disease:  Sir Richard Hawkins saved his men from the scourges of scurvy by using oranges and lemons in the daily diet.  But it was several hundred years before  controlled experiments were done which proved conclusively that vitamin C prevented and cured scurvy. This proof of Vitamin C being effective as a prophylactic and as a remedy for scurvy was the work of James Lind, who worked at the English Naval Hospital.  There, he  observed around 300 to 400 cases of scurvy each day. His experiment was to give  two oranges and one lemon  daily to two of the sailors in his study who had scurvy.  The other men  in the experiment were given other treatments, including cider vinegar, and sea water, as a remedy for their scurvy.   The two men given the Vitamin C treatment via the citrus fruits recovered quickly from their scurvy and became well enough to nurse the other men, who did not respond from the other treatments.

Eventually, the Royal Navy began using citrus juice, ascorbic acid, on board all their ships.   The cheapest source  of citrus was from India, and this was a small green lime.  This  green lime citrus fruit became part and parcel of being at sea, which is how the term for a sailor,  ‘limey’,  got coined.   The result of the lime treatment was that scurvy was eradicated from the British navy ships within a couple of years of its use,  giving the British the physical power to dominate the French coast during the Napoleonic wars, and annihilate the French navy.

Vitamin C has a history of being shunned by the medical profession and the authorities:  Citrus juice was known, way back  in 1616, to cure and prevent scurvy. Meanwhile, thousands of sailors still died of scurvy, because citrus juice was not adopted as a preventative measure on board ships. It was a few hundred years later that James Lind did controlled experiments on citrus, and even then it was  fifty years after James Lind’s experiment, which proved conclusively that citrus cured and prevented scurvy,  before citrus fruit was to become mandatory on British navy ships.  Even when the proof is there, these easy solutions to health problems are not so easily taken up by the authorities.

It is the same  story today, with Vitamin C:  Vitamin C is a natural antibiotic and therefore negates the need for vaccinations of various kinds.  Hundreds of doctors, naturopaths and alternative therapists all over the world swear by Vitamin C therapy for the prevention and cure of cancer, arthritis,  swine flu, scarlet fever, and many other infectious diseases, yet the authorities still refrain from using Vitamin C in hospitals, or as a regular treatment in medical practice.

What Foods Have Vitamin C?  All fruits and Vegetables contain vitamin C.

The highest sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits of all kinds:  lemons, grapefruit, oranges, tangelos, mandarins, limes.  Cranberries, strawberries,  grapes, blackcurrants, raspberries, mango, paw paw, pineapple, pomegranate,  persimmons, and kiwifruit,  are all high in Vitamin C.  Capsicums, green and red peppers, tomatoes, tamarind, dates, raisins, sultanas, peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, pears,  apples, all contain Vitamin C.  Spinach, silver beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, raw  cabbage,  raw parsley, raw coriander, basil, comfrey, potatoes,  raw carrots, and rhubarb,  are all rich sources of Vitamin C.

A lot of Vitamin C is destroyed in cooking, which is why those daily salads, and the eating of fresh fruit,  are very important.  However, cooked broccoli, potatoes with their skins left on, spinach,  and many other Vitamin C rich foods still retain some of their Vitamin C after cooking if they are not cooked for too hard or too long.

Resource Books:  “Diet and Nutrition – A Holistic Approach”, by Rudolph Ballentine, M.D., published by The Himalayan International Institute,  Honesdale, Pennsylvania, USA, 1978.

“New Choices in Natural Healing”, edited by Bill Gottlieb, editor of ‘Prevention’ magazine, published by Rodale Publishing Inc., Pennsylvania, USA, 1995.

“Your Health – Vitamins and Minerals”, by Russell Frank Atkinson, published by Doubleday Press, NSW, Australia, 1982.

What Foods Have Vitamin B And Why Do We Need It?

What Is Vitamin B Complex?  B Vitamins are particularly interesting, because it is through the early discovery of one  B vitamin that the science of vitamin therapy grew.


Vitamin B Complex can be broken down into several different categories.  Here are the main ones:

Vitamin B1 is Thiamine, also called Aneurin;

Vitamin B2 is Riboflavin;

Vitamin B3 is Niacin, also called vitamin PP;

Vitamin B6 is Pyrodoxine;

Vitamin B12 is Cobalamine.  Other less well known ones  are Vitamin B13, which is called Orotic acid;  Vitamin B15, which is called pangamic acid; and Vitamin B17, which is known as laetrile or amygdalin.

Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, and Folate, or Folate Acid, also belong to the B Complex group of vitamins.

Here is an outline of what the specific B Vitamins all do:  Generally, it is best to take the whole B Complex, so that one category of B Vitamin does not cause imbalances in the body.

Vitamin B1, Aneurine, also called Thiamine  is the anti-beri-beri vitamin.  It is mainly an energy giver, being  part of an enzyme system which is essential for good digestion, for the health of the nervous system, for maintaining a healthy heart, and for promoting growth.

Food Sources of Vitamin B1, or Thiamine:   Vitamin B1 is  found in the outer husk of grains such as rice.  This is why eating grains and seeds which have not had their outer goodness processed away, such as brown rice, is better for the health. Wheat germ is an excellent source of Vitamin B1, Thiamine.  Yeast, nuts, potato skins, egg-yolk, ox liver,  sheep or chicken liver, pork, and legumes and pulses such as peas, lentils, broad beans, black-eyed beans, haricot beans, and soy beans,  are other good sources.

Deficiencies of Vitamin B1, or Thiamine, cause beri-beri.  Deficiencies can occur with people who consume too much alcohol,  and in people whose diets are missing this essential component to good  nerve health. Party drugs and some prescription medicines could cause a lack of Vitamin B1, Thiamine.  It is mainly a lack of Thiamine which causes alcoholics to suffer the ‘trembles’, to experience double vision, and to lose their ability to walk properly, with a shuffle developing.

When milling techniques during the 1700’s and 1800’s became sophisticated enough to remove the outer brown husk of rice, many rice-eating nations became afflicted with problems of beriberi.  This disease causes a wasting of the muscles and nerves, and eventual paralysis.  Thus came the discovery of  Thiamine in 1911, when this vitamin was isolated  from rice bran.  It was given the name ‘vital amine’ which means ‘essential for life’.  These two words were later put together to form the term ‘VITAMIN’, which today encompasses the whole range of vitamins which are, essentially,  ‘essential for  life’.

Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin.  This is another vitamin, like Vitamin A,  which is important for the health of the eyes.  Sensitivity to light can indicate riboflavin deficiency.  Riboflavin is one of two very important co-enzymes which is essential in digestion.  Riboflavin is another energy-giving vitamin, which also helps facilitate the utilization of oxygen in the cells.  It is a yellow-coloured water-soluble vitamin.  Its yellow colour can be seen in the urine within about half an hour after taking a Vitamin B Complex tablet, which has Riboflavin in it.

Foods Rich In Riboflavin:  Good amounts are  found naturally  in milk and cheese.  Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and silver beet, spinach and comfrey all have good amounts of riboflavin.  Tomatoes and orange juice contain riboflavin.  Brewer’s yeast, and fish and ox livers, legumes and pulses, and seeds such as sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, are rich in riboflavin.  Egg white contains riboflavin.

Deficiencies of Riboflavin:  A deficiency of Vitamin 2 Riboflavin, although fairly uncommon,  usually shows up with dry cracks at the corners of the mouth.  The area about the nose can appear oily, and vertical wrinkles which arise from the top lip and move upwards towards the nose, can also signal a deficiency of Riboflavin.  Eye sensitivity, with sensitivity to light, can indicate the need for more riboflavin in the diet. Deficiencies of this B vitamin, riboflavin,  have been rare up until now, at least in Australia and New Zealand, where milk has been a cheap commodity for generations.    However, I suspect that many children in New Zealand today might again be suffering Riboflavin Vitamin B2 deficiencies because the  high price of milk and the low income of a lot of families prohibit many families from buying it.
Some people on low incomes who were interviewed on television here recently said that they cannot afford to buy milk very often.

Vitamin B3, or Niacin.  Also its relatives, Niacinamide and Nicotinic Acid:   Niacin is known as the PP Vitamin, meaning ‘Pellagra Preventative’.  While it is considered to be the most important nutrient in combating pellagra, B12, riboflavin, and protein are also required in beating this disease.

Pellagra is a disease which became prevalent in corn-eating countries, after the traditional Indian ways of processing the corn had been abandoned for technologically efficient commercial methods of processing it.  These new methods resulted in the grain being devoid of Vitamin B3, Niacin.  Whereas beri-beri disease became epidemic in rice eating countries after modern processing methods, which discarded the bran, took over, pellagra disease escalated to epidemic proportions in the corn eating countries  when the new methods of processing arrived.

These diseases taught us much about these B vitamins and how important they are for good health.

One method used by native American Indians to prepare corn grain for eating was to soak the grain overnight in a lye of hardwood ashes and water.  This liberated the niacin from the corn.  In Mexico, even today, another method using lime water is used to enhance the nutritive value of corn.  The lime water technique also releases Niacin from the corn.

So – we cannot live without Niacin.  It is important for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, and in aiding the utilization of oxygen by the cells.  It is another essential vitamin which is needed by the nervous system.  Deficiencies of niacin can lead to mental disturbances.

Foods Which Contain Niacin:  Whole-grain cereals and breads, broccoli, asparagus, baked potato with the skin left on, all meat, chicken and fish, peanut butter, legumes such as lentils and peas, and soya beans.

Too much Niacin given in a supplement can have alarming effects:  It can cause an immediate hot flush in some people.  It is not meant to be harmful, and high doses of niacin have been used by health practitioners to treat certain conditions successfully.  However, it is best to use niacin in moderation. Use in combination with the other B Vitamins and other nutrients, with good nourishing food, to restore a condition of health.

Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine:  This vitamin plays a key role in fat metabolism, in keeping the health of  the nervous system, in maintaining the immune system,  and in regulating hormones. It is helpful in lessening the effects of aging.

Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 is commonly deficient in people who suffer premenstrual problems. Vitamin B6 can act as a diuretic, to help remove  excess fluid from the body.  Fluid retention can build up just before a period.  Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine  has been used as a treatment for some types of diabetes, for kidney stones, depression, and to help alleviate the effects of alcohol or drug abuse.  It can also help lessen the cravings for alcohol and other drugs.

For Expectant Mothers:  Pyridoxine is thought to be essential in the development of the nervous system of the growing child:   Some young babies who have suffered epilepsy in early childhood have been found to have very low levels of pyridoxine.  Morning sickness can often be alleviated with pyridoxine supplement, taken in a B complex tablet.  Expectant mothers and breast feeding mothers need to take more Vitamin B6 pyridoxine so that she and her child do not suffer deficiencies.  Women generally are advised to take 1.6 mg of Vitamin B6 per day, but are advised to step this up to 2.2 mg if pregnant, and 2.1 when nursing a child.

Deficiencies of Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 can build up over time without one realizing it.  This can result in long-standing semi-depression characterized by a lack of energy and a negative attitude.  It is worth taking a slightly higher than normal  dosage of B Complex over a period of about a week if you feel you might be suffering a long-term deficiency of Vitamin B6 Pyrodoxine.

Antibiotics and oral contraceptives can make one deficient in Vitamin B6.

Foods Which Have Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine:  Fish and chicken, bananas, avocado, green peppers, potatoes with skins on, spinach,cauliflower, soybeans, lima beans, raisins, dates.

Folate, Folic Acid:  Expectant mothers also need to have a little more of this vitamin, to aid tissue growth and repair and to enhance  red cell development of her growing child.  180 mcg is the daily dose recommended for average adults, but 400mcg per day is recommended for expectant mothers, and 280 mcg if nursing a child.

What Foods Contain Folate, or Folic Acid?:  All beans and peas, chicken, tuna, wheat germ, mushrooms, oranges, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, comfrey, bananas, strawberries, rock melon.

Vitamin B12, Cobalamine:  This is important for the health of the nervous system, for healthy skin, for the formation of new tissue growth, and the formation of red blood cells.  People can become anaemic with too little Vitamin B12 in their diets.  It is commonly deficient in vegetarians, unless they take measures to replace meats with the appropriate Vitamin B12-rich foods, such as salmon, eggs, cheese, tuna, crab meat, mussels, oysters, mung bean sprouts and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and tempeh.

Expectant mothers need more Vitamin B12 Cobalamine to grow healthy red blood cells for her child.  2.0 mcg is the daily dose  recommended for the average adult, and 2.2 mcg if you are pregnant, 2.6 mcg if you are breast feeding.

Biotin:  This is needed for the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates.  30-100 mcg are needed daily for men and women.  Biotin is destroyed by raw egg white, which is the reason that, in treating cancer with diet, raw egg yolk is given daily, but not the white.   Biotin is found in peanuts, peanut butter, eggs, oatmeal, wheat germ, chicken, cauliflower, nuts, almonds, lentils, green and dried peas,  and soy beans, lima beans, haricot beans, and black-eyed beans.

Pantothenic Acid:  This is also needed for the fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.  It is sometimes recommended for people who have hypoglycaemia, and  blood sugar level problems.  Along with zinc, it can help to reduce food allergy symptoms in many people.

Deficiencies of Pantothenic Acid can manifest with the ‘burning feet syndrome’.   Deficiencies of this vitamin can mimic pellagra. Eczema, ulcers, and prematurely greying hair can be a sign of Pantothenic acid deficiency.

4-7 mg or Pantothenic Acid is needed per day.  It can be gained from eating fish.  Whole grain cereals, such as brown rice, mushrooms, avocado, broccoli, peanuts, cashews, almonds, lentils, soybeans, and eggs are all rich in pantothenic acid.

Vitamin B13,  Orotic Acid:  This more obscure B vitamin is thought to be helpful to sufferers of multiple sclerosis.  It is found in root vegetables and whey.

Vitamin B15m Pangamic Acid, is another more obscure B vitamin.   Pangamic acid is found, like Laetrile, in the kernels of apricots and other fruits.   Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and almonds are also high in Pangamic acid.  This vitamin has been found to be helpful increasing the blood supply to the brain and heart, which would make it useful for treating alzheimer’s patients.

Vitamin B17, Laetrile or Amygdalin Used In Cancer Therapy: Vitamin B17 Laetrile  is found in the kernels of stone fruits.  All apple seeds, quince seeds, plum stones, apricot kernels, peach and nectarine kernels, and almonds, all contain Vitamin B 17, Laetrile,  This has been used for treating cancer and other degenerative diseases.  NOTE:  Since these kernels all contain traces of cyanide, one has to be careful not to over-dose on the laetrile therapy.  Up to 6-9 apricot kernels could be taken a day, in divided doses.  But the dose needs to be assessed according to body weight.  In some cases, I have heard of people taking only small amounts – two or three kernels a day.  Whilst others have taken up to 6 or 9 a day:  The people on the higher dose were also taking enemas, and castor oil every second day, as Dr Gerson’s cancer therapy recommended.  This would wash away much of that cyanide from the bowel, so you would not suffer poisoning symptoms.   However, if you were not to use enemas, or castor oil every 2nd day,  then only 2 or 3 kernels per day should be taken, otherwise a condition of cyanide poisoning could arise.

Resources:  “Diet and Nutrition – a holistic approach”, by Rudolph Ballentine, M.D., published the The Himalayan International Institute, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, USA, 1978.

“Your Health – Vitamins and Minerals”, by Russell Frank Atkinson, published by Doubleday Books, NSW Australia, 1982.

“New Choices in Natural Healing” edited by Bill Gottlieb from ‘Prevention’ Magazine. Published by Rodale Press, Pennsylvania, USA, 1995.


What Foods Are Rich In Vitamin A And Why Do We Need It?

Vitamin A is vital to good health:  The chemical name for Vitamin A is Retinol.  Retinol is only found in animal foods,  but its relatives, the pro-vitamin carotenoids, are found in many other vegetables, fruits, pulses, nuts, and seeds. This is an essential vitamin for the health of the teeth, bones, hair, nails, skin, and eyes.   It also helps to maintain the good health of the mucous membranes, and helps to prevent cancer developing.   The daily requirement is between 2,500 to 5,000 International  Units:  333 International Units equal one mg.


Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin which is important for growth:  It helps cells to regenerate themselves.   Being fat soluble means that it can be stored in the body to a certain extent, and it also means that you should take care with supplements of this Vitamin, as it IS possible to take it in excess, which will result in poisoning.   Excessive amounts of Vitamin A through supplementation can result in the liver and spleen becoming enlarged, with bone pain, hair loss, itchy skin, and headache.  An excess of Vitamin A  could occur with taking tablets and too much cod liver or halibut oil.  However, you would not be likely to over-do Vitamin A if you are eating a balanced diet which includes some of the Vitamin A foods.

According to Russell Atkinson, studies done on a group of super healthy people  at the University of Alabama showed this group to be taking a dietary allowance as high as 33,000 IU of Vitamin A a day, which is extremely high.  Russell indicates that both zinc and lecithin are needed for Vitamin A to be utilized properly in the body without high amounts remaining in the liver:  He speculates that these people who consumed such a high dietary allowance of Vitamin A would have also had ample supplies of zinc and lecithin in their diets, which allowed them to process the Vitamin A/beta carotene foods efficiently.

Vitamin A For Good Eye-Sight:  Vitamin A is considered to be one of the most essential vitamins for maintaining the health of the eyes, and in keeping good eye-sight.  A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to night-blindness and corneal degeneration, called xerophthalmia.  This condition of corneal degeneration developed in Denmark during the first world-war, when Denmark began to export most of its Vitamin A-rich butter off to France and Germany, and ate cheap margarine substitutes themselves.   When the government recognized the cause of the deficiency and retained some of the butter for the Danes, the situation of wide-spread xerophthalmia repaired itself.  Vitamin A  was famously given to pilots during the second world war, through dietary measures,  so that they could see better while piloting their planes at night, although this ‘technology’ was nothing new:  Hippocrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, observed that ox-liver cured night blindness.  His famous words were:  “Let medicines be your food,  and food your medicine.”

Vitamin A maintains healthy skin:  This vitamin cures the dry and often scaly skin condition known as ‘goose-flesh’, which appears on the upper arms , as well as the thighs, of people who are deficient in Vitamin A.

Vitamin A  is found in butter, cheese, and milk.  It is also found in liver, eggs, oily fish, and fish roe.  Green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, and orange ones such as carrots and mango, are especially high in beta-carotene, which is utilized by the body to make Vitamin A. Carotene is an ‘anti-infective’ vitamin agent which helps the immune system to fight off diseases such as chicken pox,  scarlet fever,  and other infections.

The list of Vitamin A rich foods are  listed in order as follows, with the richest sources leading the list:

Cod liver oil

Halibut liver oil

Ox liver, and Beef Broth

Lamb liver

Chicken liver


‘Black’ pudding



Mussels and other shell fish


Carrots, Parsnips, Turnip, and Swede:  One large carrot alone can provide the necessary daily allowance of beta-carotene Vitamin A for one adult.

Beetroot, cooked or grated raw.



Paw paw





Dried apricots




Sesame seeds

Sunflower seeds


Goat’s Cheese, Ewe’s or Camel’s milk Cheeses, and all cow’s milk cheeses such as:

Cheddar Cheese

Cream Cheese

Stilton Cheese

Parmesan Cheese



Tomato Puree

Kidney meats


Sweet Potato, Kumara and Yams

Dried prunes

Dried dates


Brussels sprouts

Sardines Tuna and Mackerel

All green or dried beans, lentils and peas


Full Fat Milk.  Always choose full fat milk in order to get adequate amounts of Vitamin A.  Low fat milks are not so good for growing children or pregnant women, because low fat milks are deficient in Vitamin A.

Note:  Yoghurt, low fat milk, and low fat skim milks are NOT rich in Vitamin A.  This is because the Vitamin A content has been skimmed off to make those Vitamin A rich foods such as butter, cream cheese, or to sell as cream.  This is why milk which has not had the fat removed is actually  BETTER for you nutritionally  than drinking low fat milk.  Full fat skim milk powder will contain some Vitamin A.

Things which are harmful to Vitamin A absorption:  Chemotherapy reduces the amount of Vitamin A in the body.  Many cholesterol-lowering drugs, laxatives, and contraceptives  also affect the Vitamin A content in the body:  Many of  these drugs lead to decreased absorption of carotene and vitamin A.  Working regularly with mineral oil and petroleum products, such as mechanics do, could affect your Vitamin A absorption.

Coeliac disease can cause a deficiency in Vitamin A.  Gastrectomy can cause a deficiency of this, and many other vitamins and minerals.  Stress can affect your Vitamin A absorption. Having excess mucous in the body through an allergy to something like milk can cause Vitamin A deficiency.  Having infections such as the flu, chicken pox, mumps, measles and other comomon illnesses can cause a depletion in the body’s store of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A supplement to help recovery of illness:  Because Vitamin A is anti-infective and restorative to the mucous membranes, it is often useful to give children who are sick with illnesses such as measles or whooping cough extra Vitamin A:  The old fashioned formula for a Vitamin A supplement was cod liver oil.  I used to give my children Halibut liver oil capsules when they had infectious illnesses such as measles, or any bronchial complaint.  I would increase the dosage for a day or two only, by which time the illness was usually abating.  I would  then stop giving the halibut liver oil capsules as an anti-infection remedy.  We would go back to using it about once or twice a week after this, just to supplement the diet.

Resource Books: 
‘Your Health – Vitamins and Minerals’, by Russell Frank Atkinson, 1982, Doubleday Australia, NSW.

‘Collins Family Medical Handbook’, 1981, Collins, London and Glasgow.