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Creating Your Own Vitamin Protocol

 Vitamin Program

Basic Foundation Program

By Art Presser, PharmD & Gene Bruno, MS, MHS – Huntington College of Health Sciences

Everyday our bodies make cancer. Everyday our bodies have high blood pressure. Everyday our bodies are challenged by an amazing amount of toxins. That’s the bad news. The good news is that every day our bodies make anticancer, antihypertenive, and poison neutralizing drugs. Our bodies are a living pharmacy.

Nutrient shortages

What do you think our bodies manufacture life- sustaining drugs out of? They manufacturer these natural marvels out of the ingredients stocked on their shelves; ingredients that are replenished daily from the foods taken in and processed. Each vitamin, mineral and other nutrients have a place on the shelf.

Problems occur when shipments are short of, or include ingredients of poor quality that can’t be used. Soon there is an inventory crisis and all the needed drugs can no longer be made. Is that when we get cancer? Is that when the degenerations of aging kick in? Is that when adult onset diabetes is triggered? Is that when we are no longer well?

Unfortunately, many Americans are not getting the full spectrum of nutrients they need, nor are they getting them in sufficient amounts. For example, The Third Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS) revealed that adult females failed to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for five nutrients—calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and zinc and adult males fell short of the RDA for vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.1 This is made worse when you consider that many nutrition experts consider the RDA level of nutrients to be inadequate.

A nutritional insurance policy

Although there are many reasons for these inadequacies, many Americans have tried to compensate by using dietary supplements. As a matter of fact, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 indicated that almost 50% of Americans use dietary supplements to improve their nutrition.3 It is likely that the percentage has increased even more since that time.

Supplementation is, in fact, a good idea—but it should be smart supplementation. Consider a basic dietary supplement program as an insurance policy. Not as something that will change the way you feel (although it may). Not as something with will give you loads of energy (although it may). Not as something that will cure a disease (although it may). If you feel no different after taking vitamins, it’s okay. Think of your basic vitamin program as a supplemental shipment to the pharmacy. When the delivery arrives, the shelves can be stocked to their optimal capacity. That’s how your basic vitamins and minerals work.

You are probably asking yourself, “Where do I start?” “Do I have to buy twenty-five bottles of vitamins?” Or, “Can I get everything I need in one tablet?” The answers are you don’t have to buy twenty-five bottles, but sorry, you can’t get everything in one tablet. You should start with a Basic Foundation Program (BFP)—which will generally consist of four or five tablets.

The Basic Foundation Program Vitamin Program

Building a vitamin program is like buying a car. You start with the basic vehicle, one that is sound, reliable, and will get you where you need to go. However, if you have special needs, you would accessorize it. If you live in an area that has icy roads in the winter, you would have special tires. If you had small children, you might choose seat covers that are easy to clean. If you live in the mountains, you might consider 4-wheel drive. And, if you tow a trailer, you would get the largest engine. Your vitamin program works the same way. Start with a basic foundation and accessorize to your special health needs.

A basic foundation program should consist of vitamins A, D, E, C and the B-complex vitamins. It should also consist of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and all the basic minerals. These nutrients can often be found in sufficient amounts in four formulas:

  1. Multiple Vitamin

    • 5000 to 10,000 I.U. of vitamin A

    • 400 I.U. of vitamin D

    • 50 to 100 mg of balanced B-Complex in a reliable timed-release form

  2. Vitamin C Complex

    • 500 to 1500 mg in a reliable timed - release form

    • With bioflavonoids

  3. Vitamin E/antioxidant formula

    • 200 to 1000 I.U.

    • Other antioxidants

    • Dry tablet

  4. Multiple Mineral

    • 500 to 600 mg calcium

    • Magnesium content 50% of calcium (2:1 ratio)

    • All the other minerals

    • Mineral transporters to improve absorption

“What specific health benefits,” you may ask, will these nutrients provide?” Here, in part, is the answer.

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The Multiple Vitamin

The multiple vitamin will provide sufficient amounts of B-complex, vitamin A and vitamin D. Let’s first consider the role of B vitamins.


Everyone has stress. The B-complex vitamins are intimately involved in the function of the nervous system,4 and so can play a role in helping to counter some of the negative effects of stress. In fact, the ability of humans to respond to stresses can be influenced by nutritional status—including the status of key B vitamins.5 Also, each of the B vitamins are converted into coenzymes in the body. These B vitamin coenzymes are involved, directly or indirectly in energy metabolism. Some are facilitators of the energy-releasing reactions themselves; others help build new cells to deliver the oxygen and nutrients that permit the energy pathways to run. Now suppose the body’s cells lack one of these B vitamin. Let’s take Niacin as an example. Without niacin, the cells cannot make the coenzyme NAD. Withoug NAD, the enzymes invlved in every step of the glucose-to- energy pathway cannot function. Then, since all the body’s activities require energy, literally everything begins to grind to a halt.6 An adequate supply of B- complex, on the other hand, helps assure that energy metabolism functions properly, and that we handle our stress better.

Vitamins A & D

Vitamin A is helps maintain the health of all tissues, particularly the skin and mucous membranes (the protective gooey stuff that lines all potential entrances to the body and in the case of Vitamin A, the respiratory tract linings). Vitamin A is necessary for the formation and maintenance of tooth enamel and the health of gums. It is an antioxidant and promotes good thymus function, which is a stimulant to the immune system. Finally, vitamin A is essential for night vision.

Vitamin D is called "the sunshine vitamin" because the rays of the sun can convert a form of cholesterol derivative under the surface of the skin into vitamin D. It promotes healthy bones and teeth by regulating the absorption and balance of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract.

Vitamin C Complex

Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen protein found in skin, connective tissue, cartilage and bone; it is also an antioxidant nutrient. It is essential for wound healing, affects immune responses, helps maintain strength in blood vessels, helps protect the body against infections, bacterial toxins, viruses, influences formation of hemoglobin, absorption of iron from intestinal tract, and deposition of iron in liver tissue, and assists in the secretion of hormones from adrenals.

Bioflavonoids are substances that are found wherever vitamin C is found in nature. They have been shown to improve the therapeutic action of vitamin C, acting synergistically in strengthening capillary walls. This is an important consideration for individuals who bruise easily since brittle, fragile capillaries burst easily upon impact causing the characteristic discoloration of bruising.

Vitamin E/Antioxidant Formula

Vitamin E has many important functions in the human body such as antioxidant protection against free radicals—perhaps it’s most important function. It is also involved in blood vessel repair and protection against muscle degeneration. Research has indicated that vitamin E has a cardioprotective function, and may actually reduce the risk of heart attack.7

In addition to vitamin E, the antioxidants selenium, carotenoids, and l-glutathione (among others) should be used as well. Why are antioxidants so important? Antioxidants delay naturally occurring chemical reactions we call oxidation, which are destructive in nature. They target primarily bad oxygen. When oxygen turns bad it is called a free radical. Free radicals are life long enemies that you can’t see, feel, or hear as they go through the body, leaving damage in their path. Damage which is noticed, only over time, in every organ, tissue, and cell of the body.

Multiple Mineral

Since a multiple mineral contains all the nutrient minerals, it would take more space than this article provides in order to list the benefits of each. However, here are a few main benefits.

Calcium’s role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis is well established.8 Magnesium also plays a well-established role in bone health.9 Iron is necessary for manufacture of red blood cells. Zinc is necessary for normal growth, and it functions in wound healing and tissue repair.

Other supplements

Once you have poured your foundation you are ready to build a house if you choose. Women might choose to add more calcium at bedtime if they do not consume large amounts of calcium in their diet. Those with a familial history of cancer or heart disease might consider taking extra antioxidants. Those who work-out regularly might consider raising their nutritional intake without adding the calories. People with health challenges might choose to integrate natural medicine with modern medicine.


Smart SupplementationTM is a free series of educational literature created by Huntington College of Health Sciences (HCHS) as a public service. Although copyrighted, it may be freely photocopied and distributed, but may not be altered in any way. Smart SupplementationTM is not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition, consult your physician.


  1. Moshfegh AJ, Tippett KS, Borrud LG, Perloff BP. Food and Nutrient Intakes by Individuals in the United States, by Sex and Age, 1994-96. The Third Nationwide Food Consumption Survey. 0092962.html.

  2. Lieberman S, Bruning N. The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book, Second Edition (1997) Avery Publishing, Garden City Park, NY. pp. 17-36.

  3. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.

  4. Whitney E, Rolfes S, Understanding Nutrition, Sixth Edition, West Publishing Company, Minneapolis/St. Paul, pp. 296-321.

  5. Sauberlich HE, Clin Biochem (1984) 17(2):132-42.

  6. Whitney E, Cataldo C, Rolfes S, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, Fifth Edition, West/Wadsworth, Belmont, California, p. 353-4.

  7. Stephens NG, et al, Lancet (1996) 347(9004):781-6.

  8. Whitney E, Cataldo C, Rolfes S, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition (1998) Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont, California. pp. 426-433, 439-448.

  9. Dimai H-P, et al, J Clin Endocrinol Metab (1998) 83:2742–48.