A Historical Look At The Nutrilite Brand Of Supplements

The concept of a multivitamin/multimineral supplement is common place today, but back in 1934, there were no known multivitamin/multimineral supplements.

What hasn’t changed since that time period is the fact that people still find it difficult to know if they are getting enough nutrients in their daily diets.

Back in 1934 a pioneer was born in the area of nutrition, when Carl Rehnborg, founder of the NUTRILITE brand, created his first historic nutrition product.

The Dream of One Man – Carl Rehnborg

In the early 1920’s Carl Rehnborg was living in rural China. In the midst of unbelievable malnutrition and disease, he noticed a critical connection between the foods people ate and the outcome of their overall health.
* In rural (farming) communities, fresh fruits and vegetables were available to most people, and thus the people were much healthier overall. * In the urban (cities) areas, diets consisted of more sugar, salt, and fat, Carl noticed that the instances of critical diseases, such as scurvy, dropsy, pellagra, beriberi, and xerophthalmia dramatically increased from that of rural communities.

It was during the political unrest and rise of Chiang Kai-shek, that Carl found himself isolated and alone in a protected outlying portion of the country. There, he conceived the idea of using nutritional elements missing from the typical diet as a way to improve overall health.
* Carl supplemented his meager diet with soups from what was available: local herbs, grasses, and vegetables, along with rusty nails (for iron), and lime stone and ground-up animal bones (for calcium). * He shared his broth with a few friends, although the flavor was far from palatable. * Months later, Carl and his friends who ate the nutrient-rich broth emerged from their protected outlying portion of the country much healthier than those who had eaten only army rations.

When Carl Rehnborg returned to the United States in the late 1920’s, he set up a small laboratory on California’s Balboa Island, where, over the next six years, he conducted experiments using different plant varieties.
* Carl developed a way to dry these plants while still preserving their important nutrients. * He also created a formulation of alfalfa, watercress, and parsley, which became the basis of his first product.

Ultimately in 1934, Carl Rehnborg created the first multivitamin/multimineral supplement sold in North America.

The Legacy of NUTRILITE

Since the first NUTRILITE product was introduced in 1934, the company has become a leader in nutrition research, development, and innovation.

Today, under the leadership of Carl’s son, Dr. Sam Rehnborg, the next generation of scientists, researchers, and technicians is preserving the rich Nutrilite heritage by continuing to produce high quality, innovative supplements.

Because they are made from whole plant concentrates, many NUTRILITE supplements contain a wide array of phytonutrients.

Throughout his life, Carl Rehnborg believed this was the optimum way to achieve good nutrition the way nature intended.

Today, manufacturing operations in Buena Park, California, and Guangzhou, China, produce up to 10 billion NUTRILITE tablets, capsules and softgel capsules annually.


Back in 1934, Carl began selling his new supplement person to person, friend to friend, through word-of-mouth referrals.

When some of these early customers began referring new customers to Carl, he suggested they sell the product themselves, rewarding them with discounts on their purchases.

Just as Carl had created the first multivitamin/multimineral supplement sold in North America, he also pioneered an early multi-level marketing system and a revolutionary new business model still in use today.

The two people who guided the NUTRILITE brand to its present-day business success story were Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel. Rich and Jay had been distributing NUTRILITE products for 10 years before they founded Amway in 1959, so they were dedicated to the quality of the products and committed to the integrity of the brand.

Today, the NUTRILITE brand is sold exclusively by Amway and Quixtar Independent Business Owners worldwide.*

Carl Rehnborg’s innovative work was the start of a multi-billion dollar company.

“Independent Business Owners have made Quixtar the number one retailer in the online Health & Beauty category, and 14th among all e-commerce sites …”

*During 2008-2009, Quixtar is adopting the Amway Global name in North America. This change is part of a larger transformation of our business opportunity that includes exceptional new products, expanded support, and enhanced compensation. So when you read the name Quixtar on this site, think Amway Global.

My next article entitled “The Uncommon Practices and Quality of NUTRILITE Farming” will show principles of quality and value that have helped shape the NUTRILITE brand.

See you on the Beaches of the World,

Kevin McNabb