Zeaxanthin is one of the xanthophyll carotenoids. Lutein and Astaxanthin are also carotenoids and are so important for vision health. The carotenoids or carotenes are the red, orange and yellow plant pigments that protect against oxidation damage during photosynthesis.

The macula of the eye contains very high concentrations of these three carotenoids. The carotenoids protect the macula from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Studies have sown that people with the highest intake of carotenoids have the low- est rate of age-related macular degeneration.

Lutein is a key antioxidant for the eyes. It occurs in high concentrations in the rod cells of the retina, which are largely responsible for the peripheral vision. But the cone cells of the macula, which allow for detailed central vision, have high concen- trations of these carotenoids. They protect the retina by neutralizing the free radicals from sunlight that may damage the eye tissue.

There are very few foods rich in Zeaxanthin. Wolfberry is a sweet, mild fruit the Chinese have used to ensure healthy eyes for 2,000 years. It is also called Goji berries and is a good source of Zeaxanthin.

By Lois Dickey

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant. It is a fat-soluable, vitamin-like substance that works along with certain B vitamins in the metabolism of carbohydrates and other nutrients to produce energy. It is capable of fighting free radicals in both aqueous (watery) and lipid (fatty) environments.

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) has been used as a treatment for multiple ailments. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, ALA is a blood glucose regulator and is significantly involved in the energy production of cells. It has also been shown to be an effective means of glutathione replenishment. R-fraction stabilized alpha lipoic acid (R-ALA) is the active form used by the body.

Recently, scientists have developed an even more highly stabilized and purified form of R-ALA, which will be more bio-available than the original R-ALA.

Stay healthy!

Lois Dickey

Dimethylglycine (DMG)


(BE ADVISED: This article does not intend to diagnose health concerns nor does it constitute a recommendation. Always keep your licensed healthcare practitioner informed when taking vitamins, supplements or medicinal herbs.)

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a nonprotein amino acid found naturally in animal and plant tissue. It is also known as pangamic acid, calcium pangamate, and B15.

Research has shown that DMG can have a dramatic effect on the immune system. This ability is called immune modulation, which means that this substance can help restore or increase the response of the immune system. If the immune system has been compromised by a serious illness, DMG could prove to be helpful since it improves the utilization of oxygen at the cellular level.

DMG has been shown to be very safe for use in supplement form to improve health. (Please, consult a health professional if you are interested in using DMG for a serious illness.)

Stay healthy!
Lois Dickey

Vitamin Department—


 5 hydroxytryptophan is a neurotransmitter used by the body to make seratonin and melatonin.

 5-HTP is used as a precursor to melatonin. 5-HTP may help to induce sleep. Increasing seratonin increases melatonin, the natural hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle. It helps to influence mood.

 5-HTP is about 10 times stronger than tryptophan and readily converts to seratonin. Seratonin is absolutely essential for smooth brain function. If one has a deficiency of seratonin in the brain, symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, pain, migraines, seasonal affective disorder, weight loss, obesity and insomnia can occur.

 Generally, 300 milligrams per day is recommended. For sleep, as little as 100 milligrams before bedtime may be sufficient.

 CAUTION: Use caution if you are taking antidepressant medication and check with your medical professional before taking 5-HTP.

Stay healthy!

Lois, Manager

Vitamin Department

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle grows wild and is found throughout the world. The extract from the dried fruit (seeds) is used in preparing supplements. It has been used for centuries in treating liver disease. The active ingredient is silymarin.

Research has demonstrated that milk thistle protects the liver against damaging toxins. This well-studied herb should be used whenever exposure to liver toxins is anticipated.

Ozone, smog, air pollutants, cigarette smoke, pesticides, alcohol, auto exhaust, environmental chemicals, preservatives, prescription and non-prescription drugs are all very toxic to the liver.

In many experiments and clinical studies, especially in Europe, milk thistle has been shown to prevent and reverse liver damage and to neutralize free radicals. It also stimulates growth of new liver cells and replaces old damaged cells in liver tissue. Milk thistle boosts levels of glutathione, plus it curbs inflammation, thus helping to rejuvenate the liver.

Dr. Juhan Whitaker, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute says, “If I could recommend only one supplement for liver support, it would be the herb milk thistle.”

Stay healthy!
Lois Dickey, Manager

Vitamin Department


Magnesium is an important essential mineral involved in almost every aspect of the body’s function. Magnesium deficiency is so common, particularly in the elderly. Approximately 60% of the mineral is found in the bones and 26% in the muscles, with the remainder in soft tissue and body fluids. The highest concentrations are found in the liver, heart, kidneys and brain.

Magnesium deficiency is associated with ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Magnesium supplementation is important in preventing and treating osteoporosis and may be helpful in asthma, migraine headaches, kidney stones and strokes.

Calcium gets the headlines, but magnesium deficiency is more likely to be a bigger problem. Some nutritionists believe the ratio of calcium to magnesium should be reversed. High calcium intakes, without additional magnesium, actually inhibits magnesium absorption.

Population studies have shown better survival rates in areas where the water has high levels of magnesium. The difference in death rates probably relates to higher levels of magnesium in the blood, protecting hearts from ventricular fibrillation when heart attacks occur.

There are several kinds of magnesium, such as oxide, citrate, glycinate (chelated) aspartate and orotate. The orotate and aspartate forms of magnesium are not as available. Another form of magnesium, Magnesium Threonate, is able to pass the blood/brain barrier.

Magnesium is an essential cofactor in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Magnesium and B6, or P5’P, must be present or the body cannot assimilate and properly use amino acids. P5’P is the more biological (active) form of B6. Unlike B6 there is no fear of toxicity with P5’P, even in children.

Stay healthy!
Lois Dickey, Manager

Vitamin Department


Glutamine is an amino acid that is not categorized as “essential” because it can be made in the body in sufficient amounts under normal health conditions.  However, when the body is under stress (trauma, cancer, infections, burns, healing) the value of glutamine increases and the quantity may increase as well.

Glutamine has many roles in the body and is one of the most plentiful amino acids in the brain with low blood sugar levels.

The most important function of glutamine is in the strengthening of the immune system.  The immune system and gut live on glutamine.  If the body does not produce enough glutamine, one can experience memory and focus problems, muscle loss as well as immune dysfunction.  People with low glutamine levels have higher rates of arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

There are so many uses for glutamine in the body.  Those listed above are some of the more important uses.  It is important to keep in mind that B6 is essential to convert all amino acids.  Pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (P5P), the active or coenzyme form of B6, is essential to carbohydrate, fat and especially protein metabolism.

Consult with your health care provider to determine if you have low levels of glutamine or any other amino acid.

Stay healthy!
Lois Dickey, Manager

Vitamin Department


Tocotrienols – Tocotrienols are vitamin E-like compounds that are powerful antioxidants. There is some evidence that tocotrienols are actually more effective in lowering cholesterol than vitamin E.

Niacin – Niacin reduces LDL and raises HDL cholesterol levels. Do not substitute Niacinamide, as it does not have cholesterol lowering capabilities. Niacin must be used with caution by diabetics and should only be used under the care of a health care professional.

Pantethine – Pantethine is a component of pantothenic acid, B5. It has a lipid-lowering action not shown by pantothenic acid, which makes it useful in cardiovascular problems.

Garlic – Garlic is an herb that has been used medicinally for many years. It has been shown to exert vasodilation and diuretic properties, making it useful to those with high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It reduces blood clotting and lowers cholesterol.

Tumeric – The active ingredients in tumeric are the curcuminoids. It is a powerful antioxidant. It lowers cholesterol, prevents the oxidation of blood lipids and inhibits platelet aggregation.

Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 enhances energy at the cellular level, especially in the heart, enabling the heart muscle to pump blood more efficiently. It also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Fish Oil – Fish oil supplements are derived from cold water fish rich in omega-3 oils containing EPA and DHA. EPA is a fatty acid used by the body to produce certain types of prostaglandins that have beneficial actions, such as reducing inflammation, reducing the stickiness of platelets, preventing clot formation and dilating blood vessels.

Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) – OPCs are incredible free-radical scavengers that help control the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. They are particularly abundant in grape seeds and pine bark. Grape seed extract and pycnogenol (derived from pine bark) are important supplements for cardiovascular disease.

Good Health! Lois

Vitamin Department

Killing Us Softly…

What substance do you think the following paragraph describes?
It removes rust spots from chrome car bumpers; cleans corrosion from car battery terminals; removes grease from clothes (just put some in your washer and run through a cycle).  It’s great to clean a stained toilet: put some in and let it sit for one hour, then flush clean.  It has a pH of 3.4, which is very acidic.  (Car battery acid is around 2.0.  The pH of human blood is normally 7.4 and if the pH of our blood drops below 7.2, you die.)  It will dissolve a tooth or human bone: put a tooth in this stuff and in ten days it will be gone! It will also dissolve a common metal nail and loosen a rusted bolt in minutes, because it is extremely corrosive.

Did you guess a household cleaner, disinfectant or maybe even an industrial chemical? Sorry.  The substance I’m referring to is the all-American cold drink.  That’s right.  Soda pop.

The average consumption of soft drinks per person per year in 1942 was just sixty 12-oz. cans.  Now, children drink over 900 cans a year.  The biggest consumers are 12-19 year old males.

One reason for the increase in consumption, aside from the ubiquitous advertising, is that the size of the bottles and cans have grown in size from 6-1/2 ounces to 12 ounces to the present 20 ounce bottle today.

Many soft drinks now contain artificial sweeteners to cut down on calories from sugar.  Two of the main ones used are saccharin and aspartame. Both have been linked to urinary bladder cancer.  Acesulfame-K, another artificial sweetener approved in 1998 is considered suspect by some cancer experts.  Now Splenda, an artificial sweetener used in many sodas has been linked to liver and kidney problems, thymus gland shrinkage and reduced growth rates.

Soft drinks now account for over 25% of sugar consumption and sugar is an empty calorie food. All you get when you drink a can of soda is calories (and caffeine, artificial flavoring and acid), which can be used for energy or stored as fat. Caffeine has a diuretic action which robs the body of minerals.

Several additives used in soft drinks can cause occasional allergic reactions. Yellow  No. 5 dye causes runny noses, hives and asthma, as well as lymphoma, thyroid tumors and chromosomal damage. Cochineal, a red coloring agent, can cause life-threatening allergic reactions and other dyes can cause hyperactivity in sensitive children.

Soft drinks are now connected to a host of health problems such as diabetes, obesity and other blood sugar disorders; heart disease; osteoporosis and bone fractures; nutritional deficiencies; eating disorders and food addictions; neurotransmitter dysfunction and neurological and adrenal disorders.


Source: Excerpts from “Everlasting Health” by Robert Bernardini, M.S.

Vitamin Department


In certain areas soil can be low in selenium and thus in widespread selenium deficiency.  Plants (crops) can be low in selenium even if they look normal.

Selenium is an essential trace element.  It is a component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, working in conjunction with vitamin E to protect against oxidation or free-radical damage.

The importance of selenium in reducing the incidence of certain cancers (lung, prostate, colorectal and skin) is well documented and impressive.  There is strong epidemiological evidence of a similar role for selenium in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Some evidence exists that selenium levels are also inversely related to cataract formation.  Glutathione peroxidase, a major antioxidant in the eye, is selenium- dependent.

CAUTION: For those with yeast sensitivities, the selenomethionine form can be used.


Source: “The Best Supplements For Your Health”,
Donald P. Goldberg, R.Ph.
Arnold Gitomer, R.Ph.
and Robert Abel, Jr., M.D.