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Archive for the ‘Plain City Health’ Category

Everything You Need to Know About Vitamins. By Our Student Pharmacist, Kelly Usakoski.

Looking at the vitamin and mineral section in the pharmacy can be overwhelming, even for healthcare professionals.   Happy Druggist Pharmacy on Karl Road is participating in the free vitamin program provided by Good Neighbor Pharmacy. Make sure to ask about vitamins when you come in.

Here are some helpful hints and tips about choosing the right vitamins for you.

image 4

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are known as micronutrients that are not produced by the body, with the exception of vitamin D. They are important for growth and daily functioning. The majority of the population gets the vitamins they need naturally from the food they eat. Sometimes if someone has a certain medical condition, or as they age, they may not get the vitamins they need from their diet and may need to supplement their diet with pharmaceutical products.

Can you Have Too Many Vitamins?

There is such a thing as too many vitamins, but it depends on how the vitamins are metabolized by the body.  Some vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they are stored in fat and can accumulate in your body leading to potentially unwanted side effects. Other vitamins cannot be stored in your fat and leave your body through your kidneys, so experiencing side effects from these vitamins are not as common, but may still occur. 

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin A (Retinol) – found in eggs, milk, liver, leafy green vegetables, etc.
  • Vitamin D (Calciferol) – oily fish, fish liver oils, egg yolk, dairy products, etc.
  • Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol) – nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, etc.
  • Vitamin K (Phytomenadione; Menaquinones) – leafy green vegetables, wholegrain cereals, rapeseed, and soya bean oil

Water-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – found in liver, pork, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – liver, kidney, eggs, milk, rice, wholegrains, green vegetables, etc.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – fish, poultry, meat, milk, wholegrains
  • Vitamine B5 (Pantothenic acid) – liver, kidney, eggs, wholegrains, fortified breakfast cereals
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – meat, fish, wholegrains, vegetables
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) – liver, legumes, leafy green vegetables, etc.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) – meat, poultry, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, dairy products
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli
  • Vitamin H (Biotin) – egg yolk, liver, kidney, milk, yeast

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Which Vitamins are Right for You?

When choosing your vitamins, it is important to take into consideration whether or not the product has been certified for Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) for the manufacturer and packager. These practices are defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and help ensure you are getting a product that is better quality and has exactly what the label says it has.  Without CGMP certification, your product has higher potential to be inactive, ineffective, or contaminated with toxic materials like lead. You can look out for the CGMP logo and check if manufacturers have been certified online through the following third-party organizations: National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and the Natural Products Association (NPA).

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Health Conditions and Vitamins

Different health conditions such as pregnancy, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease may cause different types of vitamin deficiencies in patients. It is important to consider what vitamins may be necessary for your health at different stages in your life. Vitamins can also interact with your medications, so it is extremely important to let your doctor know if you start and or stop any of your vitamins.


CDC. Vitamins and Minerals Are Critical. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published April 29, 2020. Accessed April 12, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/about-micronutrients/index.html

Ohio | Free Vitamin Program | Good Neighbor Pharmacy. Accessed April 12, 2021.https://www.mygnp.com/pharmacies/programs/healthy-kids-free-vitamins/?state=oh

Fat-soluble & water-soluble vitamins. ResourcePharm. Published January 18, 2020. Accessed April 12, 2021.https://www.resourcepharm.com/pre-reg-pharmacist/fat-soluble-and-water-soluble-vitamins.html

8 Foods That Are Packed Full of Vitamins. Live Cryo. Published April 27, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2021.http://www.livecryo.com/uncategorized/8-foods-packed-full-vitamins/

Nutrition C for FS and A. Accredited Third-Party Certification Program: Public Registry of Recognized Accreditation Bodies. FDA. Published online September 4, 2020. Accessed April 12, 2021.https://www.fda.gov/food/importing-food-products-united-states/accredited-third-party-certification-program-public-registry-recognized-accreditation-bodies

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Audit Program | USP. Accessed April 12, 2021.https://www.usp.org/verification-services/gmp-audit-program

The NSF Mark. NSF International. Accessed April 12, 2021. https://www.nsf.org/about-nsf/nsf-mark

vitamins.jpg (1732×1732). Accessed April 12, 2021. http://www.livecryo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/vitamins.jpg


Tumeric: The Golden Spice. By Our Student Pharmacist, Ruba Lahoud.


Most people are familiar with turmeric for its unique flavor and its presence in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is a spice native to Southeast Asia. It has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

turmeric picture 1

Health Benefits:

Curcumin, one of turmeric’s most active components, makes up to 3-5% of the spice. As a polyphenol, curcumin has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It has the ability to stabilize free radicals, which can damage the body’s cells. Additionally, curcumin can help support brain health and delay cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin also seems to have anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic effects, possibly through down-regulation of inflammatory cytokines.

It has been demonstrated in an animal study that curcumin is able to significantly lower triglycerides and free fatty acids. This is a promising result, indicating curcumin’s potential for treating obesity and associated diseases. In other animal studies, curcumin showed a chemopreventive effect in areas such as the colon, stomach, and esophagus.

Turmeric picture 2

How to take turmeric?

Despite the health benefits that can be obtained from turmeric, some people may be unfamiliar on how to incorporate it into their cooking. Easy ways to use it is by adding it to tea or a smoothie for vibrant color or by cooking it into different dishes such as egg dishes, roasting veggies, or curries.

Additionally, turmeric comes in a capsule form, fluid extract or as a tincture. According to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center, the recommended dose for adults is as follows:

Cut root

1.5-3 g/day

Dried, powdered root

1-3 g/day

Fluid Extract

30-90 drops/day


15-30 drops, 4 times/day

What are some downfalls using turmeric?

One thing to keep in mind is that turmeric is a fat-soluble spice. Research has shown that around only 1% is absorbed through the digestive system. To address this concern, a number of methods have been used to help increase turmeric’s bioavailability (ability to reach the bloodstream):

  • Adding black pepper: Studies have found that piperine, a major component in black pepper, may increase the bioavailability.
  • Consume with fats.
  • Heat it up: According to one study, boiling turmeric for 10 minutes will increase solubility, which could help elevate absorption.
  • Turmeric Oral Spray – Pioneering Encapsulation Technology (Cyclocurmin): it is a process used by extracting the three active curcuminoids and then encapsulating them in a naturally derived starch known as cyclodextrin.

turmeric picture 3

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.
  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood such as Warfarin, Lovenox. Taking turmeric with these medications may increase your risk of bleeding.



  1. de Jager P. Health Benefits of Turmeric. Massage Magazine [serial online]. May 2012;(192):80. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 29, 2012.
  2. Gomez-Pinilla F, Nguyen T. Natural mood foods: The actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience [serial online]. May 2012;15(3):127-133. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 29, 2012.
  3. Alappat L, Awad A. Curcumin and obesity: evidence and mechanisms. Nutrition Reviews [serial online]. December 2010;68(12):729-738. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 29, 2012.
  4. Singletary K. Turmeric: An overview of potential health benefits. Nutrition Today. 2010 Sep 1;45(5):216-25. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2010/09000/Turmeric__An_Overview_of_Potential_Health_Benefits .8.aspx
  5. Zeng X, et al. Selective reduction in the expression of UGTs and SULTs, a novel mechanism by which piperine enhances the bioavailability of curcumin in rat. Biopharm Drug Dispos. 2017 Jan;38(1):3-19. doi: 10.1002/bdd.2049. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 27882569.
  6. Kurien BT, Scofield RH. Heat-solubilized curcumin should be considered in clinical trials for increasing bioavailability. Clin Cancer Res. 2009;15(2):747. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1957

January is Mental Wellness Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.


As we approach the end of January, I would like to acknowledge January as Mental Wellness Month and spend this post discussing resources for ensuring your mental wellness.

About one in every five people struggle with mental health issues every year and 2020 was especially stressful for many of us, so the beginning of the new year is a great time to reset and pursue help where needed.

As a pharmacy intern, you may expect me to give a medication-based solution to mental health troubles, but the answer is actually a bit more complicated than that. Medications, such as antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, are not considered the first line treatment for mental health issues, at least not by themselves. These medications can be very effective as an add-on to therapy and counseling which are the first line recommendations for most mental health conditions.

Aside from the time-commitment and awkward conversations, counseling has far fewer side effects and the data shows it as being the most effective option and can be customised to suit your needs. In comparison, antidepressant medications can take a few weeks to start working (like the counseling), but carry the potential for plenty of side effects, including nausea and reduced interest/desire. Medications can also take weeks to discontinue. That’s not to say they do not have a place in therapy, because they do, but rather that one should at least attempt counseling before trying medication and, if medication is needed, to continue counseling with medication for the best results.

Below are the resources that the Ohio State Government recommends to Madison County residents, though ohiocares.ohio.gov can be used to find local resources for wherever you live (in Ohio).

There are also national hotlines available such as 1-800-662-4357.

madison mh 

Life After the Vaccine. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sam Berens.


As more people receive their COVID-19 vaccine, everyone is beginning to ask when their lives can get back to normal.

You might assume that you no longer need to wear a mask if have received the vaccine, but there is actually not enough information available for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others.

The goal is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, so experts need to completely understand the protection that the COVID-19 vaccine provides to others in real-world conditions before a decision is made on wearing masks and social distancing.

The CDC plans to continuously update what they know about the vaccine as they continue learning.

One of the most important factors necessary for life getting back to normal is how many people are getting vaccinated.  While it has been difficult for many of us during these times, we all can make a difference in getting our normal lives back by encouraging others to get the vaccine. There are a lot of people that will not be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons, so those that are able to get the vaccine should try to get their vaccine to protect those who cannot.

As we continue to vaccinate everyone, I think it is important to remember all the ways that we can help slow the spread of the virus.

It is possible to spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick, so following these recommendations can protect you and everyone around you:

  • Continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth to protect yourself and others.
    • Remember that some people are not able to wear a mask due to medical issues, so you are also protecting them by wearing a mask correctly.
  • Try to stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds.
    • Continue minimizing your social interactions to the best of your ability.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of the virus, especially if you have been or are in a public place.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that may be dirty on a daily basis.
    • When disinfecting surfaces, be sure to use a product that is known to kill the virus.
  • Monitor your health daily by checking for symptoms and taking your temperature.
    • Try to stay ahead of the virus by being alert to protect yourself and others.

While the end of the pandemic is finally in sight, we still have a lot to do to get back to our normal lives. It is estimated that 70-80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve indirect protection from COVID-19. We are far from this goal at this time, but we can get there if we work together.

References: CDC.gov/coronavirus


January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.

glaucoma vision

With hindsight being 2020 (especially in 2021), January marks the beginning of National Glaucoma Awareness Month so we here at Plain City Druggist thought that it might be helpful to discuss just what glaucoma is and how to watch out for early signs that you might be developing it.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the slow loss of vision caused by damage to the optic nerve situated at the back of your eye. More specifically, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type in the United States and is most often caused by increased eye pressure damaging your optic nerve. Currently, glaucoma is not curable, but early treatment with medication and/or surgery can help prevent further damage and loss of sight.

Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms:

  • Loss of peripheral (or side) vision, most often the area closest to your nose or the outer edges of your vision
  • Untreated glaucoma can lead to blindness

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Patients over the age of 60
  • African American or Hispanic patients over the age of 40
  • Patients with a family history of glaucoma

Prevention and Treatment:

Because glaucoma is a disease that gets worse over time and the damage done to your sight is irreversible, prevention and early treatment are the key to stopping the damage from glaucoma before it causes sight loss or blindness because once the damage is done, it cannot be undone.

Glaucoma can be difficult to notice for many patients because it happens slowly and starts at the edges of the vision, so it is important to have regular eye exams which can detect early glaucoma and help treat it before more permanent damage is done.

If an eye doctor detects glaucoma, usually through a dilated eye exam, there are a few different treatment options to protect your eyes. These include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe daily eye drops, such as latanoprost and/or timolol, to lower the pressure in your eye or reduce the fluid build-up. These medications may not make you feel any differently, but are important to take regularly since they will prevent future damage to your eyes.
  • Laser therapy: You may also qualify for a quick and simple laser treatment to help drain the fluid from your eyes. The treatment can be done on one or both eyes while at the eye doctor’s office and most patients recover on the same day as the procedure. It may take 4-6 weeks to work, however, and does not work for everyone, so consult your eye doctor to see if laser therapy is an option for you.
  • Surgery: Your doctor may recommend traditional surgery if medications or lasers fail to reduce the pressure in your eye(s). This option is least common and has the longest recovery time.

In conclusion, make 2021 a healthier year by getting a routine eye exam and maybe you can avoid adding eye drops to your list of medications in the new year.