Last week I spent Friday in Denver learning all about Nutrilite products, and enjoying lunch and a chat with Kara Goucher, an elite marathoner who uses and promotes the Nutrilite brand. Altogether, it was a fun, informative day and I really was pleased with what I learned about the company.
The first stop was the Convention Center, where I got whisked into the Rock N Roll Marathon race expo and walked through an interactive display that explained how Nutrilite products are made, where the ingredients are sourced from, and why they are different than other supplements.
If you know me personally or have read AskGeorgie for a while, you probably know that I’m not an easy sell on supplements. Like most dietitians, I’ll tell you to first look to food first for your vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, rather than synthetic compounds packed into a pill. Since the dietary supplement industry is so poorly regulated, I also have a healthy skepticism when it comes to believing that what’s stated on the label is actually in the product, and I also have reservations about the undeclared sources of ingredients used in many dietary supplements.
Okay, so maybe I was lured by the chance to meet the amazing Kara Goucher, but while talking with the representatives from Nutrilite, I really was impressed and pleasantly surprised with what they had to share. Among some of the facts I was interested in: Nutrilite products are made from organic fruits and vegetables, grown on Amway’s own farms. This means that they have control of the ingredients from seed to harvest, through processing and into the final product. That appealed to me a lot more than the typical supplement ingredients, which are are purchased from any corner of the planet (wherever is cheapest) and may be contaminated, not standardized, not consistent batch-to-batch, impure, and so forth.
Since I spent a lot of time in graduate school working with plant phytochemicals, I am always skeptical of how much bioactivity can remain after a plant is dried, powdered, possibly heated and refined, compressed into a tablet, and sits for months if not years in a warehouse before being consumed. When I voiced this concern to the Nutrilite representatives, they had very good answers for steps that are taken to avoid degradation. For example, since the products are grown on Nutrilite’s own farms and processed locally, the time between harvest and processing is minimized. Further, every batch of concentrate is tested and standardized, and the products don’t sit in warehouses at all; they are shipped immediately to consumers. While I can’t say that this eliminates my concern, I was encouraged to hear that many steps are in place to preserve the bioactivity of the phytochemicals in the fruit and vegetable concentrates Nutrilite uses in making their supplements.
So after touring the interactive display, we walked back to the hotel where we enjoyed a great catered lunch and the chance to talk with Kara Goucher. Lunch itself (the food I mean) was awesome. In keeping with the Nutrilite focus on phytochemicals and human health, there was a rainbow array of colorful salad fixings, delicious turkey wraps, soup, and fresh fruit to fill up on while we talked.
Kara (tall and lean! gorgeous! friendly!) shared her experience with Nutrilite products while we ate. She said her favorite products include the ROC2O sports drink and energy chews while she trains, and she also uses the fruit and vegetable concentrates when she travels, since getting in lots of produce is difficult when on the road. She noted that she suffered from nausea from most sports drinks, and switching to the ROC2O was like an epiphany since it was the first time racing that she didn’t throw up her drink. Also, since she is drug tested on an almost weekly basis, Kara has to be very careful about what supplements she can take and is glad to know the Nutrilite products are all certified by NSF and WADA so she can trust them.
We also got to talking about her new baby, living in different parts of the country, and training/racing/nutrition strategies. I was glad to hear Kara focuses on getting protein with her meals, pays attention to post-workout nutrition, and doesn’t feel the need to count carbohydrates or calories or anything to manage her nutrition routine. She said that when she started paying more attention to recovery nutrition following runs, she found her body could handle a lot more training, so much that it amazed her and really took her athletically to another level. (See guys, I always say that post-workout meals are the most important parts of a sports nutrition plan!)
I brought Kara a copy of Fuel Up, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that she makes something from it and likes it. That would be awesome.
After lots of thank you’s and coming back home (with a ton of Nutrilite products to sample) I did some more homework on the Nutrilite brand. In short, their record is bulletproof. Every independent laboratory test of their products showed they contained exactly what was stated on the label, dissolved according to standards, and met all purity guidelines. The manufacturing facilities where Nutrilite products are GMP certified – which is voluntary, but indicated a stringent level of quality control and excellent manufacturing procedures. They also hold a USP (US Pharmacopoeia) certification, another sign of quality among dietary supplements.
So where do we go from here….I’ll comb through the products I have and let you know my thoughts on any standouts. After learning all about this unique company and their products, I would definitely recommend them as a reputable source of dietary supplements, one I would trust myself or with my athlete clients. I’ll still be chomping on ten or more vegetables a day for my phytochemicals, so I don’t think the fruit/vegetable concentrates are intended for me. But since I do take fish oil and vitamin D, I’ll be interested to try those Nutrilite products myself. I’ll be sending some of the sports nutrition gels to my athletes to test out and let me know their thoughts.