The human liver performs about 500 vital functions in the body! So, it is important to understand that some of our everyday practices could seriously interrupt liver functions and cause diseases that can otherwise be avoided. Knowing which foods and supplements can benefit the liver can take you a long way in staying healthy (1).

Let’s clarify what a recent study of multivitamins actually found and put this one study in perspective with the larger body of scientific evidence on multivitamins. The “take home” message is that most people are not getting the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals solely from their diets and are healthier with supplementation to overcome their multiple deficiencies. Secondly, no, there is no valid scientific evidence that taking multivitamins shortens anyone’s life. Dr. Robert Smith and I will discuss some of the most important details later in this column.

What started out as just an idea has now become reality. When I first heard in early July that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had just released its Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues, almost my first thought was that the watershed date of October 15, 1994, set in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)—which defines as “new” any dietary ingredients introduced into the marketplace after that date and requires their notification to the FDA before sale—had to be changed.

In 1986, Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were hot on the Silver Screen. Americans bought countless cassettes and records of the hit song, “That’s What Friends Are For.” And for many of the participants in the 2011 WholeFoods Retailer Survey, it was right around the time they got their start in natural products retailing. With an average age of 25 years old, these stores’ legacies now span four decades, all of it beginning at an important time in natural products’ history.

Welcome to the 2011 edition of the WholeFoods Who’s Who of Manufacturers and Suppliers, the only reference tool of its kind in the natural products industry. On our eDirectory, you will find listings of hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals who work for these companies. Using this directory, you’ll be able to track down company names when you know the person you are looking for or vice versa.

If you’ve browsed the vitamin/supplement aisle of your local natural products store, you may have noticed the strange bundle of letters and numbers, “CoQ10,” on some labels. Looking beyond its mysterious title, we discuss its benefits and the two forms in which it comes: ubiquinone and ubiquinol.

Now that most scientists recognize that cardiovascular heart disease results from inflammation in the arteries (which leads to plaque that can rupture and cause an acute heart attack or stroke), a new test has been developed that strongly depicts an individual’s risk of this disease. As it has turned out, the Omega-3 Index test is an extremely strong and accurate predictor of heart disease risk.

Flash quiz: If someone walks into your store and says, “My knees hurt. I think I have arthritis.” And you say, “Come over here. We have some glucosamine and chondroitin that may be helpful for you.” Are you acting within the boundaries of DSHEA?

It’s not hard to find information about homeopathy, a fascinating system of natural medicine. Anyone who doesn’t take homeopathic medicine seriously is missing out. Over the past couple of centuries, millions have benefited from this unique form of natural health management.