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