Our list of 25 supplements visionaries (including one homeopath) was born of hours of debate, struggle and learning. Many were left off; many have passed on. All of these 25 have given of themselves, faced criticism and persevered to grow a healthy industry.
Co-founder and former president of Experimental and Applied Sciences and the founder and chief science officer of IMAGINutrition Inc., a nutritional technology creation, clinical research and intellectual property-driven think tank/incubator. He has been a co-investigator on more than 70 university clinical trials, ranging from AIDS to arthritis.
Years in the biz: 29
What accomplishment are you most proud of?: ?Co-founder of EAS and the impact our commitment to science before sales and proving that product-specific science on unique compositions can indeed become a powerful sales and marketing platform.?
What disaster (aka learning experience) was the most instructive?: ?After EAS, I co-founded a medical foods company with the same person with whom I co-founded EAS. Our products were clinically researched and developed with men living with HIV, intending to prevent muscle wasting. Despite our efforts and evidence, we failed to take heed of our market research and focus groups that revealed most of our target could not afford an additional $2-$3 per day. We still launched, and I gained a fantastic tax write-offâand a disastrous learning experience.?
What herbs/supplements do you take daily?: N-Acetylcysteine, natural vitamin E (unesterified), creatine monohydrate with pinitol, whey protein, milk thistle (standardized extract), Co-Q10, multi-species refrigerated probiotic, vitamin C (acid form), magnesium citrate, grape skin extract, multinutrient, multimineral, borage oil, ultra pure fish oil, glucosamine sulfate, lutein and zeaxanthin. Also, ?3-5 cups of green tea, one cup of non-alkali processed hot cocoa, slightly sweetened, and fresh pressed Echinacea purpurea juice whenever I feel a cold or flu.?
What herbs/supplements will be the next superstars?: ?Top secret! I do think that Garcinia cambogea/hydroxycitric acid extracts and zeaxanthin have great promise.?
Who is your industry hero?: ?Jeff Bland. I attempted to model myself after him from the moment I heard him on an audiotape in the early ?80s. His pioneering work and brilliance enabled me to forge an image that I, too, could be a scientist that tried to make a difference outside of a laboratory setting.?
What is the future of the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act?: ?I hope that the regulations tighten and FDA implements a more active enforcement campaign. The plethora of rogues and charlatans, and the many companies that operate largely from a vantage of evangelism and eschew investing in science on their actual products, continues to erode the gains that we have made these past two decades. I foresee DSHEA being put to the test, to see if its full implementation can indeed prevent another ephedra era.?
What one supplement/herb would you want on a desert island?: ?Organic green teaâespecially to protect me from the solar radiation.?
Founder, chairman, president and CEO of Natrol Inc., which also includes Laci Le Beau teas, Prolab Nutrition and ingredients division Essentially Pure Ingredients. Also president of Dietary Supplements Education Alliance.
Years in the biz: 24
Accomplishment: ?I?m most proud of being involved with the creation of DSEA, which is a coalition of almost 100 companies and financial supporters that is leading the effort of telling the public about the benefits of dietary supplements.?
Learning experience: ?Initially, we had no intention of getting into manufacturing. But our supplier?s business blew up one night, and that catastrophic event motivated me to bring manufacturing control under our own destiny, allowing vertical integration and greater quality control.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?I take many Natrol productsâMy Favorite Multiple, Ester C, Co-Q10, Cholesterol Balance and My Defense immune-enhancing product.?
The next superstars: ?I believe that arabino galactin will become a nutrient of huge visibility in the industry. Scientific evidence shows it?s extremely efficacious in enhancing the immune system, and if you look at health issues like SARS and the Asian bird flu, the whole immunity area is moving to the front pages of our consciousness. I see continued growth in the omega-3 category and Co-Q10 as well.?
Hero: ?My industry hero is David Seckman of NNFA. He is the most unbiased spokesperson we?ve ever had, and a huge resource. Thank goodness we have him at our time of greatest need.?
DSHEA?s future: ?I think DSHEA will be challenged, and I think there will be addendums and modifications, but I don?t see it being overturned.?
Desert island fave: ?I would probably take My Favorite Multiple; it?s one of the few formulations that has one hundred percent of 18 vitamins and minerals.?
A lawyer specializing in issues relating to dietary supplements, Bass heads the international food and drug practice at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and played a major role in drafting DSHEA.
Years in the biz: 25-plus
Accomplishment: ?I?d have to say the fact that Sen. Orrin Hatch chose to give me a principal role in DSHEA negotiations.?
Learning experience: ?The most surprising event for me has been the fact that most of the industry suppliers have not gotten the message that self-regulation is critical post-DSHEA.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Many.?
The next superstars: ?I?d say calcium-herbal combinations. I think there will be OTC [over-the-counter] drug combinations with other dietary supplements ingredients, and some of those supplements will be herbs. Manufacturers will begin taking advantage of the traditional drug monographs at FDA, which now recognizes there can be traditional medicines.?
Hero: ?There are so many people who are special friends in the industry, including [lobbyist] Jack Martin, Loren Israelsen and many others who led the DSHEA effort.?
DSHEA?s future: ?I think DSHEA will stay basically intact, with the addition of adverse-events reports and some other changes, but the public mandate will remain. I don?t see the possibility of a repeal.?
Desert island fave: ?I?d have to say bee pollen. It has as-yet-untapped general immune properties beyond the allergy uses.?
Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.
A former professor of biochemistry at the University of Puget Sound and a senior research scientist and former director of the Nutritional Supplement Analysis Laboratory at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science Medicine. He founded HealthComm International in 1985 and sold it in 2000 to Metagenics, where he is currently president and chief science officer. He is one of the four founders of Bastyr University, founder of the Natural Product Quality Assurance Alliance and co-founder and chairman of the board of The Institute for Functional Medicine. He has also written nine books on nutritional medicine.
Years in the biz: 34
Accomplishment: ?Bringing science-based understanding of the role of nutritional supplements in improving health to the natural foods movement, and having more than 100,000 doctors attend my nutrition seminars in the past 25 years.?
Learning experience: ?The failure of the industry to continue to responsibly manage quality and claims issues after passage of DSHEA.?
Daily herbs/supplements: A multivitamin, antioxidant and glucosamine.
The next superstars: Hops derivatives for inflammation.
Hero: Linus Pauling.
DSHEA?s future: It has a ?cloudy future based upon abuse by some companies. It depends on how responsibly the nutritional supplements industry responds to the present issues.?
Desert island fave: A multivitamin/ mineral, along with a protein supplement.
Has worked in the supplements industry since 1968, when he was a junior in high school and his parents founded Twinlab. After graduating from college, he worked in the operations and shipping division of Twinlab and took over as president in 1996. In 2004, after selling Twinlab to IdeaSphere, Blechman formed R.A.B. Associates, a consulting company to the nutraceuticals industry.
Years in the biz: 35
Accomplishment: ?Nobody has been more influential than Twinlab in pioneering and helping to create the industry. We?ve been on the cutting edge of new markets and new categories.?
Learning experience: In the 1970s, in response to the popularity of The Last Chance Diet (Bantam Books, 1977), Twinlab originated a liquid predigestive protein. ?We were working 24 hours a day to produce enough,? Blechman says. But bad publicity about liquid proteins caused sales to plummet, and Twinlab had to lay off 150 people, leaving only Blechman, his parents and his four brothers to run the company. ?After that, we determined to never be another one-product company again,? he says.
Daily herbs/supplements: ?The profits at Twinlab would be a lot higher if it wasn?t for me,? Blechman jokes, referring to all the supplements he takes. His daily supplement diet consists of MaxiLife Co-Q10 multivitamins, astaxanthin antioxidants, lycopene, lutein, omega-3 fish oil, garlic, vitamins E and C, Cholesterol Success, an elderberry/echinacea/goldenseal combo, Allerin allergy medication and Ultra Fuel.
The next superstars: ?The time is ripe for a hot new diet product or a product that slows down the aging process, [but] unless the media report on new products or science-based studies, I don?t think consumer demand is going to accelerate.?
Hero: His parents, David and Jean Blechman.
DSHEA?s future: Industry and government are both responsible for failures of DSHEA, Blechman says. Not enough companies followed DSHEA regulations, and the FDA didn?t do enough enforcement. He believes retailers need to be more selective of supplements they sell, and consumers need more factual information. But most important: ?We as an industry better start cleaning up our own house and self-regulating,? he says. ?There are times when I?m almost ashamed to be part of this industry.?
Desert island fave: MaxiLife Co-Q10 multivitamin.
Founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council; founder of Herbalgram magazine; former owner of Sweethardt Herbs.
Years in the biz: 29
Accomplishment: ?As far as which accomplishments have the most significance for the herbal movement, I?d have to say the development of Herbalgram and the publication of the German Commission E monograph, with cross-referencing and an introduction that shows the entire regulatory and scientific context.?
Learning experience: ?I think my divorce in 1985 and the loss of my former herb company, Sweethardt Herbs, in 1986, after 12 years as an herb wholesalerâthis combination of losses was probably the most constructive event for me. In the difficulty that ensued, I was able to realize that nobody remembers Babe Ruth for his strikeouts. As it turns out, I couldn?t even get my divorce to work; 10 years later my wife and I got back together.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Being a 57-year-old man, I?d be a fool not to take saw palmetto. I take Co-Q10, a tomato-based lycopene extract and ginseng off and on for its long-term tonic effects.?
The next superstars: ?I think rhodiola has the opportunity as an adaptogen, and efforts are underway to ensure sustainable cultivation.?
Hero: ?There are threeâJames Duke, Norm Farnsworth and Varro Tyler. Norm Farnsworth because of his incredible knowledge of pharmocognosy; Jim Duke because of his knowledge, accessibility, humility and humor; and the late Varro Tyler because he taught me to be critical and always examine the evidence.?
DSHEA?s future: ?Based on the way things look now, DSHEA certainly is not secure in its current iteration. There are way too many strong political and social forces lining up to either modify it or eviscerate it. More pharmacologically active supplements, like some herbals, may be set up for more stringent safety evaluation.?
Desert island fave: ?Bee pollen, because it has such a wide range of nutrient valueâperhaps the most concentrated and efficient of any food.?
Bill and Peggy Brevoort
Bill Brevoort discovered herbs in 1967 when he was teaching sculpture at the University of Oregon. He and his wife, Peggy, began importing Chinese herbs to their farm in Oregon and distributing them via what Bill calls a ?hippie school bus network.? They founded East Earth Herb in 1971. Peggy was president of the American Herbal Products Association from 1990-94 and now serves on the board of the American Botanical Council and United Plant Savers and is a member of the Bastyr University Board of Regents. The Brevoorts sold East Earth Herb in 1999 to A.M. Todd Co. and moved to Hawaii, where they have a 10-acre herb and vegetable farm overlooking the ocean. Peggy also works as a botanical marketing consultant.
Accomplishment: Bill: ?Offering to the public a genuine line of Chinese medicinal herbs that followed the best traditions of formulation and herbal medicinal quality.?
Peggy: ?The work I did with AHPA, because I felt we were in a position to change the world, and we did, a little, particularly with the passage of DSHEA.?
Learning experience: Bill: ?Taking refuge with the Venerable Ch?an Master Hsuan Hua in 1974, allowing me to put genuine Buddhist practices into my life.?
Peggy: ?We almost lost our company during a nasty lawsuit. It taught us the value of perseverance, tenacity and good friends.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Bill: ?Peggy and I find the alchemy of growing fresh food and cooking it with herbs from the garden the best of supplements.?
Peggy: ?I do rely on some probiotic products, though, and in times of illness go back to Chinese medicine and echinacea.?
The next superstars: Bill and Peggy: ?Hardly anyone in the industry has taken the time to understand traditional Western herbal medicine, let alone traditional Oriental medicine. The understanding of herbs and supplements doesn?t really happen until you give traditional understanding as much space in your mind as scientific understanding. The word superstars is just marketing hypeâuntil some real understanding of traditional medicine is in place in the industry, we will remain at the edge of the profound benefits of herbs and supplements,? Bill says.
Hero: Bill and Peggy: Industry pioneers, including, as Peggy says, ?The marvelous strong women in this industry who have put their diverse talents and energy and love into this industry and kept their sense of humor and play throughout. You know who you are.?
DSHEA?s future: Bill: ?This industry was given a gift in DSHEA, and the industry has taken advantage of DSHEA to market questionable products. The karma is coming back to haunt us.?
Peggy: ?The question may partly depend on the answer to what is the future of the political climate for natural health care in the United States. Depending on how our industry presents itself and its products to our regulatory agencies and the general public, we have an opportunity to influence their thinking on further legislation or modification thereof.?
Desert island fave: Bill and Peggy: Ginger.
Former vice president of global business development for dietary supplements at Capsugel; now retired. Founding chairman of the International Alliance of Dietary Supplements Associations.
Years in the biz: 33
Accomplishment: ?I guess it would be my role as founding chairman of IADSA. We inaugurated the alliance in March 1998 with 18 associations from 14 countries and now have 43 associations from 36 different countries.?
Learning experience: ?Some people, whom I won?t name, have been taking potshots at people in our industry, but the basis for their remarks are unfounded and in many cases they?re doing it to generate income for themselves. It?s been a disappointment to have to fight that battle.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?I?ve been taking saw palmetto, ginkgo, garlic and hawthorn for 10 years or better. I also take milk thistle, glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3s, a daily multi, and extra potassium, zinc, niacin, magnesium and calcium.?
The next superstars: ?I think with our aging population, herbs such as saw palmetto will see advantages, because it?s an herb the user can actually feel working. Also, any botanicals under study by the National Institutes of Health will have new opportunities.?
Hero: ?Loren Israelsen, for his work in DSHEA and for showing me that an individual can make a difference and that regulatory status of products that are regulated as medicines or not allowed can be changed; it takes providing information and creating awareness.?
DSHEA?s future: ?I think there are those who would love to overturn it. I don?t think that is going to happen. The American consumer won?t let it happen, and associations such as NNFA, IADSA, AHPA and CRN are working together to make sure it doesn?t happen. We often hear that the law is inadequate; the reality in most cases is that it simply hasn?t been enforced as written.?
Desert island fave: ?Probably saw palmetto.?
Annette Dickinson, Ph.D.
The president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition was an original staffer who served in various scientific and regulatory positions for the association.
Years in the biz: 30
Accomplishment: ?I?m especially proud of the role of CRN?s regulatory affairs committee in developing the framework for strong good manufacturing practices regulations for the industry, beginning soon after DSHEA was passed. Personally, I am proud of my efforts in helping persuade FDA to approve a health claim for folic acid and in authoring a comprehensive publication on the benefits of nutritional supplements.?
Learning experience: ?I think we?re currently living it. We are paying a price for not focusing more on maintaining strong relationships with Congress after DSHEA was passed.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?My husband and I start every day with a multivitamin with minerals and add extra vitamin C, E and calcium.?
The next superstars: ?I believe there is too much emphasis in our industry on ?what?s next.? At the same time, we certainly should follow the science where it takes us, and the science is especially strong for omega-3s.?
Hero: ?I don?t go in for heroes, generally, but collectively the members of the CRN board over the years have shown a level of leadership and an ability to deal with difficult issues that I find admirable and for which I am grateful. If I had to name a hero, it would have to be Dr. Godfrey Oakley, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control, who has always been singularly and extraordinarily committed to educating women about the importance of folic acid in protecting against neural tube birth defects. I have simply never seen anyone equal his level of dedication, on any issue.?
DSHEA?s future: ?That depends on how we as an industry respond to the current challenges facing us. There is opportunity for responsible companies to lead the industry, to rebuild relationships with Congress and to encourage regulatory action when it is warranted. We must find ways to encourage more science and to shine a positive light on those companies that abide by regulations and offer consumers high-quality, safe and beneficial products. DSHEA can be preserved if we find a way to address the controversies that threaten to bring it down.?
Desert island fave: ?My multivitamin. I couldn?t imagine doing without it.?
Founded Country Life, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based vitamin and supplements company, in 1975. Subsidiaries include Desert Essence natural personal care, BioChem sports and fitness, Long Life beverages and Iron-Tek bodybuilding formulas.
Years in the biz: 35
Accomplishment: ?Building a [GMP operation] and getting DSHEA passed.? Country Life paid $700,000 to lobbyists, and Drexler personally lobbied Congress for four years to enact DSHEA.
Learning experience: The tryptophan recall. ?I had $500,000 in stock, and I?m still sitting with it,? Drexler says.
Daily herbs/supplements: Country Life?s Max for Men multiple vitamin, Co-Q10, saw palmetto/pygeum, beta-carotene, calcium/magnesium, chromium, Ultra Omega 3-6-9, calcium ascorbate, selenium, Green Edge powder, psyllium seed husk, pycnogenol, and glucosamine/chondroitin.
The next superstars: Minerals and Co-Q10.
Hero: ?My daughter, Jodi Billet, my son, Ryan, and my wife, Francine. They helped me build the business and never complained.?
DSHEA?s future: ?If everybody gets together and does the same thing we did last time, it will survive. But a lot of those industry leaders aren?t around anymore. We?ve also got some big enemies in Congress.? Drexler is part of a coalition of industry members that is lobbying for DSHEA in Washington and is planning to raise $1.5 million to pay for professional lobbyists. As of mid-February, the coalition had raised $500,000. ?A lot of guys [in the supplements industry] making a lot of money don?t even call me back. They rode the coattails of the people giving the money last time,? he says.
Desert island fave: Max for Men.
James Duke, Ph.D.
A former botanist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and author of numerous books on herbs, including The Green Pharmacy (St. Martin?s Press, 1998).
Years in the biz: More than 40 years as a botanist; 27 years in the herbal supplements industry
Accomplishment: ?The one that?s had the most impact, I think, has been my book The Green Pharmacy. But I think I?m more proud of my online phytochemical database at www.ars-grin.gov/duke.?
Learning experience: ?As I wrote my CRC Handbook of Medicinal Plants, I initially gave more credence to phytochemical, in vitro or animal study support for [a plant?s use] than to folklore. But after closer association with clinical herbalists, I was converted to believe that millennial or centennial empirical wisdomâwell-saged folkloreâwas as good if not better than these two-bit in vitro studies.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Critical for me is two celery seed capsules each day for prevention of gout. In midwinter, I take St. John?s wort, until I go to the Amazon, where the days are longerâthen I won?t need it. I also take garlic and echinacea whenever the flu?s going around or whenever I?m going around.?
The next superstars: ?I think that the pre- and probiotic uses of chicory are going to be pretty good. It looks awfully promising, and it?s a damn weed, so why not. It contains many of the same chemicals as echinacea.?
Hero: ?I reckon I lean toward the old famous ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. I am one of the few ethnobotanists who wasn?t one of his prot?g?s, but I got a glowing review from him on my first work in Panama in the ?60s. He was always generous with his time.?
DSHEA?s future: ?I?m cautiously pessimistic. I think our herbal supplements industry is a thousand times safer than pharmaceuticals, but the pharmaceuticals companies have a lot more money to corrupt the press with the St. John?s wort and kava [misinformation] they?ve put out.?
Desert island fave: ?I?d take garlic, whether on a desert island or in Moscow. I call it herbal duct tape. It?s not only antiseptic, but, amazingly, has 13 immune-boosting compounds.?
Director of herbal formulation at Rainbow Light. A licensed acupuncturist and fourth-generation herbalist and botanist. Author of 25 books on health and herbal medicine. Co-founded the American Herbalists Guild and has served on the board of trustees and as vice president for the American Herbal Products Association.
Years in the biz: 35
Accomplishment: Teaching, writing and educating people about herbs and natural medicine.
Learning experience: ?I have had students eat things on herb walks that I?ve warned them about. I?ve seen major reactions and have learned the importance of clearly communicating to students just how powerful plants can be.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Rainbow Light?s Advanced Nutritional System, C and E. Medicinal mushrooms and raw garlic during the winter to support the immune system, and California poppy for sleeplessness.?
The next superstars: ?Medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps, maitake, shiitake and reishi as immune boosters and cancer fighters. California poppy for its calming effects.?
Hero: Life extension specialist Paul Bragg, for his ?Total Body Program? philosophy of health.
DSHEA?s future: ?I think that it will continue in a modified form. We?re going to have to be more accountable for the purity and quality of our products. If we practice self-regulation to put our customers? health before profits, we?re going to be OK.?
Desert island fave: ?If I had to choose one that would do a lot of different things, I?d go with garlic. Garlic would protect me against infections, heart disease and cancerâplus it tastes good.?
President of industry consulting group LDI Group Inc. Past president and general counsel for Nature?s Way, and a key adviser to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during the passage of DSHEA.
Years in the biz: 25
Accomplishment: ?The passage of DSHEA. It?s fair to say that I was involved from the beginning in conceiving the idea of a response, which turned out to be DSHEA, to deal with FDA?s overly aggressive behavior toward the industry. We did what everyone thought could not be done.?
Learning experience: ?That would also be DSHEA. The night it passed, after 72 hours of last-minute negotiations, I was in a state of shock. I called a dear friend and said, ?I?m not sure we?re grown up enough to handle this.? I had an uneasy sense that we had been granted a gift greater than our ability to understand and appreciate.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?I take fish oil and Co-Q10 every day. I?m taking oat fiber on a pretty regular basis, and I frequently use, internally, oregano essential oil, basil essential oil and, in moments of great need, oil of thymeâwhat I call the thyme bomb.?
The next superstars: ?Again, I think essential oils are going to be a wonderful new category for internal use. I?m very excited about that potential.?
Hero: ?Richard Schultesâthe father of modern ethnobotany. It was through him that the whole notion of ethnobotanical wisdom developed. He went into the Amazon and gained the trust of native peoples. A whole generation owes their understanding to him. I have a black and white photo of him on my altar at home as a daily reminder.?
DSHEA?s future: ?It?s too close to call. There could be a repeal, amendment or other fence-in legislation that makes DSHEA a shell rather than a living thing. The future of DSHEA, I believe, truly rests in the hands of our industryâmeaning we have some very tough choices to make and have to make them quickly.?
Desert island fave: ?I?d take lavender. It?s calming, and lavender on the skin is beautiful to help keep the skin from frying.?
Founded Metagenics in 1983 with his family and is currently CEO.
Years in the biz: 21
Accomplishment: ?Metagenics was the first to introduce high-potency Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics and microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate for complete bone nourishment.?
Learning experience: ?Metagenics? successful battle with the Federal Trade Commission over the right to make truthful statements for calcium supplements in reducing the rate of bone loss. The battle was very costly and very important to the company and the entire industry because it helped preserve the right for Metagenics and other companies to make truthful, nonmisleading claims.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Multigenics multivitamin, vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3, vitamin E, MCHC calcium, alpha-lipoic acid, L-5 methyl tetrahydrofolate, UltraMeal soy-based medical food.
The next superstars: Special hops extracts.
Hero: Linus Pauling.
DSHEA?s future: ?The regulation will improve the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements.?
Desert island fave: UltraMeal.
Founded Nature?s Plus in 1971. For 13 years prior to that, he worked for a Swiss pharmaceuticals company.
Years in the biz: 33
Accomplishment: The standards at Nature?s Plus. ?Ephedra, shark oils, starch blockersâthere were lots of things we never sold because they weren?t things we thought would help people with their nutrition and health,? Kessler says.
Learning experience: About 25 years ago, Kessler was trying to sell his products to a large store in New York City. The store owner asked for independent assays on all Nature?s Plus products. Kessler said no, but later realized the request wasn?t unreasonable. ?We created an independent assay program that costs millions of dollars to do every year,? he says. The results are bound in book form and sent to retailers.
Daily herbs/supplements: Source of Life multivitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C, astragalus, ProstActin, Ultra Omega 3-6-9 and a Spiru-tein shake.
The next superstars: ?Enzymes and anything else that can help low-carb dieters digest protein. Also, liquid multivitamins.?
Hero: Milton Bass, attorney with the National Nutritional Foods Association and the father of Scott Bass. Kessler views Bass as the father of the supplements industry because of Bass?s actions to protect the industry in court and Congress.
DSHEA?s future: Kessler believes there will be a lawsuit from ephedra manufacturers based on the risk-benefit criteria cited in the ephedra ban. If the manufacturers win, ?Congress will be upset and will pass a bill that will injure all of the dietary supplements industry,? he says. If the manufacturers lose, supplements regulation could become a flawed system based on risk-benefit claims rather than product danger evaluations as stated in DSHEA. He believes the solution is for Congress to pass a bill eliminating ephedra but protecting other supplements. He was in Washington in February lobbying for the legislation.
Desert island fave: Source of Life multivitamins.
Kilham, known as The Medicine Hunter, has worked in herbal retailing, manufacturing and consulting since 1971.
Years in the biz: 33
Accomplishment: ?The hundreds of seminars I?ve done for the industry on educational topics.?
Learning experience: Alar, tryptophan and other scares were ?fantastic learning experiences,? Kilham says. ?We learned to put out credible communication extremely quickly.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, tongkat ali, ginger.
The next superstars: Supps for aging baby boomers, including those for sexual enhancement, brain function, arthritis and eye health; stress-busting supps, including Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, ginseng and ashwagandha; and blood-sugar-modifying herbs, including banaba.
Hero: Dr. Jeffrey Bland.
DSHEA?s future: ?It depends entirely on whether the FDA stops lying. It claims it has no regulatory power over dangerous herbs, but it has proven it does.?
Desert island fave: ?A garlic plant, because garlic does so much.?
President and founder of the Herb Research Foundation, an internationally recognized research and educational resource. McCaleb was director of research at Celestial Seasonings, headed the research committees of the American Herbal Products Association and the Herb Trade Association, and served on the board of directors for AHPA and HTA. In 1995 was appointed by President Clinton to the seven-member Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels. He is co-author of the critically acclaimed Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs (Prima Publishing, 2000)
Years in the biz: 28
Accomplishment: ?The Foundation has helped companies and individuals all over the world to explore and develop opportunities in natural products. Our sustainable development work helps herb harvesters, farmers and small businesses while protecting the environment. And we have educated millions of people about the safety and benefits of herbs for health.?
Learning experience: ?We have all seen the devastation of the herbal supplement business and the loss of consumer confidence. Standardization has commoditized herbal supplements, and the inability of the industry to self-regulate allowed opportunists to ruin the image. The lesson is that greed is the enemy of quality, whether it?s companies cheaping out on ingredients or consumers buying the cheapest brand that passes a ?test and tell? analysis.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Multivitamin plus C, E, calcium, probiotics and omega oils. Ginkgo, Siberian ginseng, which I refuse to call ?eleuthero,? saw palmetto, green tea, ginger and echinacea as needed. With all those pills, who needs food??
The next superstars: ?Rhodiola is taking off, while no one knows yet about the other far-north adaptogen, rhaponticum. Herbs for animals will be hot, including antibiotic herbs for animal feed, supplements for horses and pets. Everything for aging boomers will be big: men?s and women?s herbs, herbs for the eyes, joint health and memory. For younger folks, mental [including academic] and sports performance. And of course, weight loss products and sexual performance products just won?t ever go away.?
Hero: ?[Sen.] Tom Harkin. He has been a staunch supporter of the rights of Americans to have access to a wide range of natural options, both in professional practitioners and self-care products. He has also shown a strong dedication to upholding environmental and social consciousness in government and industry.?
DSHEA?s future: ?Government will agonize about how to control supplements, but ultimately they will remain available, with a growing consumer base and increasing political influence. FDA and some of its allies in Congress would love to shut supplements out of health care, but in fact, the role of supplements will expand to fulfill the goals of health optimization that the public wants.?
Desert island fave: ?Only one? Oh, cruel fate! I would have to choose ginger. It?s a spice, a tea, antiseptic, a cough remedy, pain and inflammation reducer, anticarcinogen and cardioprotective. Since chocolate is not an herb or supplement, I?m going to have some of that too. It?s great with ginger.?
Started in retail and manufacturing in 1974. President of the American Herbal Products Association since 1999. Managing editor of AHPA?s Botanical Safety Handbook and Herbs of Commerce. Member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee?s Dietary Supplement Subcommittee. Treasurer of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
Years in the biz: 30
Accomplishment: Botanical Safety Handbook (CRC Press, 1997)
Learning experience: ?Understanding the Dietary Supplement GMP rulemaking process has been very instructive. Organizations that represent the trade are learning how to work together more effectively, and in a manner that directs rulemaking toward assuring product quality.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Coromega omega-3 fish oil supplement for cardiovascular and general health.
The next superstars: ?Those that are related to the aging population of my generation. Things like hawthorn for cardiovascular health, saw palmetto for men and black cohosh root for women.?
Hero: ?Attorney Tony Young, for the consistency, commitment and the high standard of ethics he displays in dealing with industry-related FDA issues.?
DSHEA?s future: ?DSHEA needs to be modified to include a requirement for reporting serious adverse events to the FDA. It needs to satisfy the needs and demands of the consumers it serves.?
Desert island fave: ?It would be an herb that would attract pollinators that would, in turn, bring the seeds from other herbs, so that eventually my island would be covered with many herbs.?
Michael Murray, N.D.
Co-author of Textbook of Natural Medicine (Churchill Livingstone, 1999) and more than 20 other books. He is director of product development and education for Natural Factors and a faculty member and regent at Bastyr University. He also has a database of more than 60,000 studies about natural health.
Years in the biz: 25
Accomplishment: Introducing natural products to the United States, including ginkgo biloba extract, glucosamine sulfate, silymarin, enteric-coated peppermint oil, saw palmetto berry extract and anti-ACE peptides.
Learning experience: ?The 5-HTP peak X fiasco taught me a lot about how the media is often more concerned about creating a story rather than reporting the truth.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Murray says he gets supplements ?at a very good discount, so I take about 40 to 50 different supplements virtually every day.? The three key supplements he takes are MultiStart multiple vitamins, Enriching Greens drink and a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplement.
The next superstars: PolyGLYCOPLEX. PGX is a soluble, fiber-based weight-loss aid that has been shown in clinical studies to lower cholesterol levels, reduce after-meal blood glucose levels and lower insulin secretion.
Hero: Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council. ?His tireless efforts, effervescent enthusiasm, integrity and tremendous talents are truly admirable,? Murray says.
DSHEA?s future: ?DSHEA will eventually be supplanted by some sort of monograph system similar to how over-the-counter drugs are now regulated.?
Desert island fave: MultiStart for Men.
Founder and president emeritus of Bastyr University. Recognized by the American Holistic Medical Association as a ?Pioneer in Holistic Medicine.? Appointed in December 2000 to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and to the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee in February 2003. Founding editor of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician?s Journal. Co-authored the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine and the Textbook of Natural Medicine.
Accomplishment: Founding Bastyr University.
Learning experience: ?Being unable to effectively protect the public from people who fraudulently use the term naturopathic doctor.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Glucosamine sulfate, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, bilberry extract, fish oil and mixed carotenoids.
The next superstars: ?Omega-3 fatty acids, because they are the most common and important deficiency for the average American.?
Hero: Metagenics President and CEO Jeffrey Bland, for ?showing us how to apply science to the field of natural medicine.?
DSHEA?s future: It will continue to act as a protector of the consumer and will ?tighten up? so that the few unscrupulous companies can?t use it to mislead the public.
Desert island fave: ?Vitamin C, because it helps to protect the body in so many different ways.?
Founder and co-owner of Herb Pharm, a grower of certified organic medicinal herbs and manufacturer of liquid herbal extracts. The internationally respected researcher, teacher and lecturer on medicinal herbs and herbal health care is also the author of the self-published Therapeutic Herb Manual (1997).
Years in the biz: 25
Accomplishment: ?We have become a leading manufacturer and seller of certified organic herbal products, even though when we started 25 years ago, all the big herb players told us we were too idealistic and would never succeed.?
Learning experience: ?Hiring a very expensive marketing consultant and then realizing our instincts were much more accurate and effective than his ?expertise.? We quickly fired the consultant and renewed our faith in ourselves.?
Daily herbs/supplements: Liquid herbal extracts of maca root, ginseng root and eleuthero root. The next superstars: ?Because of its hundreds of years of traditional use by Peruvian Indians as a sexual health- and fertility-enhancing food, plus verification by modern pharmacological research, maca root has great potential for becoming an herbal superstar.?
Hero: Mark Blumenthal. ?He has done more than anyone to promote herbal health care in America, and all herb companies owe him a great deal for their success,? Smith says.
DSHEA?s future: ?I think DSHEA will survive, but only if we continue to defend it,? he says. ?Let?s face it, the FDA will always be our antagonist, and we will forever have to fight for our rights to health and medical freedom.?
Desert island fave: ?Echinacea because its immune-system-enhancing actions can successfully treat a broad array of disease conditions.?
Dana Ullman, MPH
Founder of Homeopathic Educational Services. Holds a master?s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Author of seven books on homeopathy, including Essential Homeopathy (New World Library, 2002) and Homeopathy A-Z (Hay House, 1999).
Years in the biz: 33
Accomplishment: ?Back in 1999, UC-Berkeley honored me as alumni of the month, as someone who graduated from Berkeley both as an undergrad and from the School of Public Health. It?s always nice when they choose to honor a heretic. My greatest accomplishment, though, may be my newest project, an e-book called Homeopathic Family Medicine, which we can update on a regular basis. It?s available for download on our Web site, www.homeopathic.com.?
Learning experience: ?It very well may have happened a few weeks ago, when I accepted an interview with John Stossel for a piece on homeopathy. Even though I was extremely cautious in dealing with him, I never expected such junk science and junk journalism to come out of a national news source.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?I?m a big appreciator of green powdered stuff. I add spirulina to a smoothie every morning. I?m also big on Co-Q10 and mixed antioxidants. Those are my keys.?
The next superstars: ?I predict that homeopathic arnica is going to hit the big time. Quite shortly, two major studies in surgery journals will show its value in reducing swelling, discomfort and pain.?
Hero: ?There are so many, but I?d have to say Mark Blumenthal, because he?s a natural mensch and a stand-up herbalist.?
Desert island fave: ?I guess I?ll go with ginseng as a general tonic.?
General manager of Planetary Formulas. Founder and executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
Years in the biz: 23
Accomplishment: ?By far, the development of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. The monographs we have produced have been regarded worldwide as the most comprehensive and critically reviewed information on herbal medicine.?
Learning experience: ?Probably the passage of DSHEA, though I?m proud of helping to stimulate grassroots support for its passage. DSHEA has led to a tremendous backlash. We thought we?d won the war, but DSHEA is now being attacked vehemently in the media and in Congress.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?The general tonics I like most include reishi mushroom, schizandra, astragalus, bilberry and hawthorn.?
The next superstars: ?Everybody carries mushrooms, but they never really caught on the way they did in Asia. Cordyceps has the potential to be a tonic for performance endurance, resistance and general health.?
Hero: ?Michael Tierra has been a primary mentor of mine. Michael was a traditional herbalist who also studied Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. His book, The Way of Herbs, was one of the first books written by a practitioner, and he?s taught thousands of students.?
DSHEA?s future: ?It?s the luck of the draw. If another correlation is made in the media between a supplement and someone dying, nothing can keep DSHEA from being overturned. If the industry is successful in its education and lobbying campaign, there will still undoubtedly be modification of DSHEA, but the basic fundamentals would not be overturned.?
Desert island fave: ?Probably bilberry; it?s just a really incredible broad-spectrum antioxidant.?
Founder and formulator of Zand Herbal Formulas. Blends Western innovation with traditional Eastern philosophies in her formula development approach. Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Doctor of Naturopathy and a board-certified acupuncturist. Practices natural medicine and lectures nationally on the subject.
Years in the biz: 25+
Accomplishment: ?More than 25 years ago, I had this dream that I would be a participant in popularizing the use of herbs. It?s thrilling, 25 years later, to see that Americans have embraced natural medicine. I feel like I was one piece of that enormous puzzle.?
Learning experience: Following a remarkably successful, one-session treatment that she received from an Oriental medicine practitioner to treat poisoning, Zand referred a sick friend to the same master. She later learned that her friend did not fare as well following his treatment. From this, she learned that ?the same medicine doesn?t work for everyone. Things really have to be customized to each individual.?
Daily herbs/supplements: ?Homemade pureed green vegetable soup, alpha-lipoic acid, DMAE and immune-boosting mushrooms like reishi and cordyceps.?
The next superstars: Those that can do jobs that conventional medicines have not been able to perform. ?Recent research demonstrates that cat?s claw has an ability to repair DNA, giving it efficacy in treating immune-related illnesses like MS [multiple sclerosis] and arthritis. I?m also a huge fan of all of the mushrooms for their immune functions.?
Hero: Jack LaLanne. ?I remember seeing him when he was 65 years oldâhe was towing 10 boats while swimming, and his legs were shackled! He was such a wonderful example of superior health and strength.?
DSHEA?s future: ?I think it will continue to be an effective format for our industry, and [I believe] that the creation of set standards is an enormous step forward.?
Desert island fave: ?Reishi mushroomâit oxygenates the blood and is a very effective mood elevator. Reishi protects against biological, emotional and environmental stresses.?
CEO of Applied Food Sciences LLC. Former president of nutraceutical testing lab Industrial Laboratories. Founded the Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement in 1998. President and CEO of Oncology Sciences Corp., a holding company for technologies related to cancer treatment.
Years in the biz: Almost 10
Accomplishment: ?The founding and success of the INA, and my relationship with the Chinese Food and Drug Administration, which has enabled me to act as a conduit for information related to TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] and botanical ?legitimacy.??
Learning experience: ?Negative publicity in the L.A. Times on St. John?s wort. The incident revealed how powerful the media is, how important it is to be diplomatically assertive and the importance of having quality programs in place to preempt these types of expos?s.?
Daily herbs/supplements: A catchall anti-aging Chinese herb product from a company in China and a natural detoxifying product called Glucarate.
The next superstars: Lifestyle supplements that simply maintain a healthy body. ?I think we will move from a treatment-based to a prevention-based system of health care. What I?m calling ?lifestyle products? should fit that paradigm.?
Hero: Peggy Brevoort, who started a Chinese herbal products company in the 1970s, for her passion for the products, her business savvy, her involvement in education and outreach, and her contributions to legitimizing botanical products.
DSHEA?s future: ?It will come under attack. Consumer confidence must be restored, and the consumer voice should play a huge role in any changes. There must also be a demonstration of industry self-regulation, policing and product education.?
Desert island fave: ?I?m not sure I?d have any.?
Mitchell Clute is a free-lance writer, poet and musician in Crestone, Colo. Kristen Lewis is a free-lance writer based in Arvada, Colo. Vicky Uhland is a free-lance writer and editor based in Denver.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 4/p. 32, 34, 36, 38-42, 44-45.