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20 Top Industry Influencers

This industry has been forged by pioneers and supported by a foundation of believers that health is in fact in each of our hands. VR highlights some of the landmark individuals whose efforts over the last 20 years (and beyond) have helped make this industry what it is today.

The Faces (and Forces) Behind DSHEA. The industry is eternally grateful for co-authors of DSHEA, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) co-authored DSHEA, but acknowledgement must also be paid to Attorney Scott Bass, a leader in FDA law who was instrumental in drafting the legislation, and Hal Drexler, founder of Country Life, who played an integral part in helping to get DSHEA passed.

Linus Pauling. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, Pauling’s research and published books have given new understanding to the benefits of vitamin C. VR President and Publisher Dan McSweeney describes Dr. Pauling as a “distinguished scientist, trail-blazing health expert, peace activist and bona fide genius.”

Adelle Davis. One of the country’s best known nutritionists, she was born in 1904, and lived an active 70 years. Author of four best-selling books, throughout her career, she worked with physicians, and today is still held in high regard by many, including Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Zone. Davis’ legacy is celebrated today as: “The first lady of nutrition whose writings are the foundation of health.”

Joe Bassett. Co-owner of two Bassett’s Health Food stores (opened 1969), he was a member of National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA, now NPA). During first term as president from 1993-95, Bassett was critical in leading the charge for DSHEA. His second term as president was 1997-99.

Loren Israelson. The president of UNPA (United Natural Products Alliance) since 1992, Israelson has been involved in commercial and regulatory issues involving dietary supplement industry since 1980. He served as the former vice president/general counsel of AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) as well as the co-founder/counsel to EAPC (European American Phytomedicine Coalition). Israelson has also authored more than 150 articles and book chapters, and has lectured in more than 30 countries on dietary supplement and functional food issues.

Howard Schiffer. Founding Vitamin Angels, an incredible not-for-profit organization, in 1994, he has touched the lives of millions of undernourished children across the globe by distributing life-saving supplements.

Paul C. Bragg. Considered the Father of the Health Movement in America, he opened the nation’s first health food store. Also offered the industry Bragg Live Foods, which are still “must-haves” in stores to this day.

John Mackey. As the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, he has made the concept of health food stores accessible to consumers across the country. Whole Foods is a mission-driven company with an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture, and has led the charge in eliminating GMO products.

Participants of the Nurse’s Health Studies, which are among the largest and longest running investigations of factors that influence women’s health. The participants helped establish important findings, such has how vitamin D intake can reduce colon cancer risk.

Elwood Richard. After having established a successful health food store (Fruitful Yield) at a young age, he founded NOW Foods in 1968. While he retired in 2005, he remains active with the company, serving as Chairman of the Board.

John & Susan Carlson. Pioneers of the natural products industry, they founded Carlson Laboratories in 1965 and were active with the company through 2010 until they retired.

Jarrow Rogovin. Founder and current president/chairman of the board of Jarrow Formulas, he has been a constant force in the industry, from his efforts supporting the passage of DSHEA to promulgating a 128-request FOIA (freedom of information act) to the FDA regarding the last NDI Guidance.

Steve Mister. The president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Mister takes an aggressive approach to combating bad press in the media. Under his leadership, CRN has launched new initiatives to “enhance consumer confidence in the supplement industry.” Prior to joining CRN, Mister served in several legal and legislative roles for CHPA (Consumer Healthcare Products Association).

Mark Blumenthal. The founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC), Blumenthal is revered as one of the world’s leading botanical experts. As the editor and publisher of ABC’s HerbalGram, he takes an active role communicating the truth about herbal supplements and ingredients.

Michael McGuffin. The president of AHPA (American Herbal Products Association), he was a member of Board of Trustees for 10 years prior. McGuffin has been active in herbal industry since 1974, having owned both retailer and manufacturing businesses in the field. He has been published in scholarly and scientific journals, and is a staunch supporter of the industry and is a vocal defender.

Dr. Andrew Weil. Author and teacher on holistic health, he is the founder/professor/director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and publicly raises awareness about the benefits of combining western medicine with alternative therapies, including omega-3s, vitamin D, herbal remedies, medication and spiritual strategies for health.

Dr. Jeffrey Bland. An internationally recognized leader in the nutritional medicine field for more than 25 years, he founded HealthComm International, Inc. in 1984, where he served as CEO until it merged with Metagenics in 2000. Dr. Bland served as Chief Science Officer for Metagenics and President of MetaProteomics for 12 years. In 2012 formed the nonprofit Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute (PLMI), and was the first member of the Board of Trustees of Bastyr University.

Dr. Mahemet Oz. While the “Dr. Oz Effect” can be viewed as an obstacle for retailers (when they’re not stocked with whatever he mentions), he must be credited with bringing the latest natural health & supplement news to the masses (more often than not) in a positive light.

Tieraona Low Dog, MD. A colleague of Dr. Weil’s who is an integrative medicine practitioner, thought leader in health care, inspirational speaker and teacher.

Dr. Stanley Zlotkin. A professor of pediatrics, nutritional sciences and public health at the University of Toronto, Dr. Zlotkin invented Sprinkles in the late 1990s, in response to a request by Unicef, The United Nations Children’s Fund, to come up with an effective way to treat childhood anemia in poor countries. Until then, the normal treatment was iron supplements delivered via a pill or syrup, which could have an unpleasant taste and uncomfortable tummy impacts on tiny bodies. Sprinkles, a specially coated, powdered form of the supplement, is simply added to the child’s normal food—usually a rice or corn porridge of some type—and has none of the side effects or bad taste.


VR 20 Years
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