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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Everyone with even an ounce of common sense has grave concerns about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s “Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues,” which was released last July. This Agency sprang this trap on both industry and consumers without seeking any prior input from us at all. It had almost 17 years to seek our opinion before coming out with this document, and then decided to give us a miserly 90 days to respond with our comments, which period was just extended by an additional two months. Why should we be concerned about this document?

Will recent events cut the number of dietary supplements available in half and increase the cost of those that remain? Do we need to take action again? A couple of recent events remind me of a discussion we had with Constitutional Attorney Jonathan W. Emord, Esq., in October 2003 about action being required to protect everyone’s health. We called upon the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson and others.