alive logo

Vitamins C and D: a Perfect Pair


Read on to learn how both vitamins are essential for life, and a combination of the two is better insurance for a healthy tomorrow.

Vitamin C

Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling was first to suggest that vitamin C has a profound effect on the immune system. He suggested two possible effects: first, high doses of vitamin C would be greatly beneficial for cancer patients, even curative; second, regular supplementation could decrease the number of colds per year. Though both hypotheses have been disputed by the scientific community, Pauling’s work can be seen as the foundation for what we know about vitamin C today.

The common cold
Prevention of the common cold is the most widely perceived benefit of vitamin C. Pauling suggested that 1 to 2 g of daily vitamin C would substantially strengthen the immune system, reducing frequency of the common cold. While much interest exists in this theory, researchers have found that vitamin C helps shorten the duration of a cold rather than decrease the number of colds per year.

Wound healing
Vitamin C is beneficial for wound healing due to its ability to stimulate collagen synthesis.

Numerous theories exist about the cause of plaque buildup in the arteries. One theory suggests that free radicals react with a fatty substance called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), forming a gummy paste along the arterial wall. Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C protects against free radical damage and prevents the change of LDL into that dangerous, sticky substance in the arteries.

Vitamin D

In November of 2000, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin published a study that concluded vitamin D could be a natural inhibitor of multiple sclerosis (MS). Until this point, interest in vitamin D and its impact on serious diseases had been scarce.

Throughout the following decade vitamin D would be labelled a miracle nutrient, promising to improve everything from life expectancy to warding off gum disease, MS, and cancer. Perhaps all the attention to this single nutrient, which we can manufacture from 20 minutes of sunlight per day, is just hype. A closer look at the evidence suggests otherwise.

Heart health
In January of 2010 a study of 3,890 individuals confirmed a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. The Framingham Heart Study suggested that individuals with visceral adiposity, better known as belly fat, are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Healthy bones
While many women take a calcium supplement for healthy bones, the need for adequate amounts of vitamin D cannot be overstressed. It appears that vitamin D converts into the active metabolite calcitriol, which in turn modulates genes that increase calcium absorption. Always consult your health care practitioner before taking calcium supplements to ensure they are right for you.

Current published studies have not conclusively confirmed that vitamin D levels directly relate to decreased cancer mortality rates. However, in a review of the diet, lifestyle, and medical history of 12,000 individuals, researchers found higher levels of vitamin D intake were associated with lower levels of colorectal cancer.

Related Articles



Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

Neil ZevnikNeil Zevnik