As the kids go back to school and we gear up for the “cold and flu season” here are some thoughts on how to be best prepared and keep yourself healthy. This article focuses on four key nutrients that can do just that.

The best way to protect ourselves is with a strong immune system. Without that we are prone to these unwanted invaders.

To best understand our internal immunity we look at the relationship between four important nutrients – Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Ionized Calcium (Calcium in the blood stream), and the essential fatty acids (from here on referred to as Vitamin F).

Vitamin C is known to support the immune system. Among its many functions is to support the adrenal glands and its hormone production. These hormones are involved in boosting the immune system and rallying it to attack the offender.

Vitamin D has many functions. One of its roles is to move Calcium into the blood stream from the tissues.

Vitamin F (the essential fatty acids) also has many functions. One of these is to move Calcium from the blood stream into the tissues.

Calcium has many functions. We tend to think mostly of its role in our bone health and in fact 99% of the body’s calcium is in the bones. However, that remaining 1% is needed to support the immune system and is found in the body’s other tissues.

When Calcium is low in these tissues, it creates an environment that allows viruses to become virulent. Calcium actually attacks foreign invaders in the tissues in a process called the “calcium wave.” Low calcium also triggers high temperature and fevers. As invaders take over the body mobilizes its defenses raising body temperature to help kill them.

Let’s look at an interesting scenario – the polio outbreaks that used to occur in the summer. The story behind this was that all the kids were together playing. But, that doesn’t really make sense as kids are together all year round, and you’d think it would be worse cooped up in school. Now let’s put all the information from above together.

In the summer, kids are playing outside in the Sun. With the Sun blazing down the body increases the amount of Vitamin D it makes. The Vitamin D moves Calcium from the tissues into the blood stream. One of the first ramifications of this to see is sunburn – tissue damage. If the person stays out too long it can even evolve into sunstroke. The relationship between Vitamin D and Vitamin F is now out of balance. The low Calcium level in the tissues leaves the person more susceptible to the virus. One of the solutions is to increase the amount of Vitamin F and to make sure you have sufficient ionized Calcium.

Another virus in the news is the HPV virus. This is the one that has been linked to cervical cancer. As a side note there are some cancer researchers who believe that viruses are at the root of many cancers. Anyways, the incidence of diagnosis of HPV virus peaks at the end of the summer. This provides another connection to the ramifications of increases of Vitamin D without adequate amounts of Vitamin F and Calcium, and likely Vitamin C too.

The best food sources of Vitamin D are: Eggs, fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout), liver, and milk products. The best milk product is organic butter. The best supplement source is Cataplex D from Standard Process.

The best food sources of Vitamin F are: flax seeds and flax seed oil, lecithin, seafood (halibut, salmon, scallops, shrimp, snapper, and tuna), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, wheat germ, and winter squash. The best supplement sources are Black Current Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, and Cataplex F from Standard Process.

The best food sources of Vitamin C are: Acerola berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, kiwi, oranges, papaya, red bell peppers, and strawberries. The best supplement sources are Cataplex C and Cataplex A-C-P from Standard Process.

The best food sources of Calcium are: bone meal, cheese (best are Cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss), collard greens, flaxseed, liver, milk, molasses, mustard greens, sesame seeds, spinach, turnip greens, wheat germ and yogurt. The best supplement sources are Calcium Lactate and Calcifood from Standard Process.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Coeur d’Alene, ID. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (208) 771-6570 or go to