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IdeaXchange

What today's well-informed parents want from supplement makers

Photo courtesy Zen Honeycutt zen-honeycutt.png
The founder of Moms Across America explains just how far caretakers fighting to solve their child's health issues will to go to procure truly clean supplements.

As the director of a nonprofit focused on health and empowering activism to create healthy communities, I interact daily with other mothers who have faced unimaginable health challenges with their children and families. They are passionate about protecting not only their child but in making a difference and preventing pain and struggle for others.

The challenges they have faced—including severe autism, self-inflicted harm, violence towards family members, incontinence, life-threatening allergies, diets of only six foods, rashes, seizures, asthma, cancer treatments and more—have only spurred them into being extraordinary human beings. Much like the intense carvings of a sculptor, each incident has chiseled them into finely tuned and masterful caretakers. And taking care of their children and family means researching EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

Here is a typical conversation with a mother in our Moms Across America network about a supplement we may be considering for our Health Solutions Store.

Mom: Is it organic?

Me: No.

Mom: Oh well, forget it.

Me: But they test for pesticides and it passes.

Mom: Hmm. Do they batch-test?

Me: Yes.

Mom: Do they post the results?

Me: There is a QR code you can scan that shows the results.

Mom: Okay, I like that. But what is this—why does it say “natural” lemon flavor?

Me: They said that natural means it must be from an animal or plant, and it cannot be a synthetical chemical.

Mom: Ok. So which animal or plant? And is the flavor an oil? An extract? Is it juice from the anal gland of a beaver? (Seriously, that is a thing.)

Me: I will find out.

Mom: Also, what is the gel cap made of?

Me: It says it is vegan—vegetable-based.

Mom: Yeah well, that could be GMO corn for all I know. Or soy husks. My son is allergic to both. And they could have glyphosate sprayed on them. How do I know?

Me: Yeah, well, we don’t.

Mom: And what about the cellulose ingredient? Cellulose from what? Again, corn? Soy? Wood chips? And are there glyphosate residues? Dicamba?

Me: I will ask them.

Mom: And do they test for heavy metals? I am concerned about the heavy metals being found in baby food. They said it came from the vitamins added to the food.

Me: I will ask.

Mom: And just so you know I am glad to see there is no PEG in here. I picked up a magnesium supplement from a company yesterday that had “nature” in the brand name and it had PEG in it! That stuff can cause hallucinogenic reactions in my nephew! Don’t ever accept a supplement with PEG in it.

Me: Ok. Anything else?

Mom: No GMOs, of course. I prefer it to be organic but if it’s not it needs to be batch tested for pesticides and heavy metals. I don’t want ANY “Natural” flavors or fragrances. No synthetic dyes or coloring. No carrageenan, no BPAS or PFAS or plastic bottles if you can help it. I prefer glass containers to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals. If it has vitamin C or E in it I want to know where exactly it comes from because a lot of sources can be GMO. No "synbio" yeast or vanillin. No sugars in fancy names. No soy or corn in fancy names either. And if it’s made in the U.S. I will pay more for that.

This is typical scrutiny of a mother who has faced an extremely challenging health issue with her child. She will go to great lengths. and I mean Timbuktu and back, to protect her child. She will research and dig deeper than any doctor would ever care to go. She will expect your customer service people to know.

It’s best to avoid offensive ingredients. Stay clean, simple, bare minimum—and don’t cut corners.

The payoff is that when a mother finds a supplement that not only works, but is clean as a whistle, she will tell EVERYONE. This is because it feels like a badge of honor; she has trudged through the labels like a hiker in the Himalayas, she has waded through the crocodile-infested swaps of misleading commercials, she has filtered out the half-facts and filthy lies and has found the Holy Grail of vitamin C or magnesium supplement that helps her child poop, sleep or eat. Whatever it is, and she will shout it from the rooftops!

And when other moms who may not have experienced what this Super Mom has faced, but know all about it because she chronicled her life on Instagram or Facebook, see this mom touting a supplement, they will think to themselves, Well if it passes her sniff test, I will get it. I don’t have the time to sort through a bazillion supplements. I am going to trust Victoria because she has been through hell and back, and she wouldn’t let anything get past her to her kid.

This is how brands are born. Through the hardship of our mother’s trials and tribulations and their commitment to sharing their triumphs along the way.

When a supplement manufacturer takes the highest road, the cleanest ingredients, the most stringent testing and packaging, we feel like you are right there with us on that trek of parenting special needs kids, nearly at the peak of the Himalayas, and we cherish your partnership. We will share the glow of that one perfect moment we have each day with our child, of recognition, of love, of peace and healing, akin to the sunrise over a horizon, because there is hope.

Thank you.

Zen Honeycutt is a mom of three boys who had allergies and autism symptoms which improved when they ate organic. She founded Moms Across America to raise awareness about GMOs and exposure to toxins, offer GMO free and organic solutions and support leadership to create healthy communities.

Have some big ideas or thoughts to share related to the natural products industry? We’d love to hear and publish your opinions in the newhope.com IdeaXchange. Check out our submission guidelines.

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