Natural Health R&D

Hi, I'm Kurt

Kurt C.After 15 years in the dietary supplement industry, I've landed here in the product development group at Swanson. It's our job to research and develop the new health products you see every month in your Swanson Health Products catalog and online at

My career has given me the opportunity to engage in many aspects of the natural products business, from merchandising and marketing to customer service and now, to the creation of the products themselves. It's a dynamic industry with its share of challenges and controversies. But if ever there was a worthwhile endeavor it is Swanson's mission of "bringing wellness to the world".

This blog gives me a chance to share with you an insider's perspective on dietary supplements and issues related to natural health care. It also gives you an opportunity to learn about upcoming new products and let us know about items you would like us to research. Plus, I'll get to share dispatches from the road as we travel the country and the world in search of new ingredients to enhance our lives and help us live well, naturally.

Kurt's Employee Order Giveaway! [CLOSED]

Thursday, August 4, 2011 by Kurt C
Ever wanted to know what vitamins, supplements and healthy foods the employees at Swanson Health Products use? Here’s your chance to peek inside an employee order and find out (and win it all)!

Most people are surprised to learn that after 15 years at Swanson Health Products, I still only take one or two supplements regularly. Vitamin D, of course, due to our Northern location, and a multivitamin. Active One is a no-frills capsule with everything I need.

What also surprises people is that Swanson is more than just supplements, now more than ever thanks to our growing inventory. My favorite products are foods, personal care and home care items.

Organic Fresh Roast CoffeeOur Swanson Organic French Roast Coffee is part of every order I place. I used to own a coffee house, so quality beans are important to me. But holy cow have prices gone up! Swanson Organic Coffee is by far the best option out there for those who want high quality certified organic beans at an affordable price.

The spice aisle at the grocery store is another good place to Swanson Organic Spiceswatch the dollars drain from your pocket. That’s why I love our Organic Spices. Great prices, exceptional quality, and just about everything I need to keep my spice cabinet stocked. We cook a lot in my house, so I order a lot of Peppercorns, Paprika and Cayenne (just a few of my favorite go-to seasonings).

My fiancé is a fan of Alba products, which she is thankful that we Alba Products & Tea Tree Oil from Swanson Health Productscarry because they’re way more expensive at the local store where she used to buy them. The Aloe and Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer and the Coconut Milk Facial Wash are two of her favorites.

Last but not least is the miracle product I cannot do without. Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? In that very charming and hilarious movie, the father uses Windex for everything from zits and rashes to cuts and scrapes. “Put some Windex on it!” he says. Well, my Windex is Tea Tree Oil (seriously, my fiancé jokingly calls it that every time I take it out). It really is a wonder product for the skin (and more) and I use it constantly.

So, that’s my employee order. Not a lot of supplements, but a whole lot of savings.

To get a chance at winning this package full of my favorite products
, share this post with your friends by posting it to your Facebook page, Tweeting it or emailing this page. Then come back here and post a comment letting me know where you shared. I will pick a winner (randomly) and notify him/her by email on Monday. Good Luck!

Full giveaway rules here.

NEW PRODUCT: Military Pilots, Models Rely on "Russian Rejuvenator"

Thursday, November 18, 2010 by Kurt C
Last month we introduced Dr. Stephen Langer’s Russian Rejuvenator with ultra-pure Dihydroquercetin (DHQ) , an all natural health product that really has no equal in the United States at this time. We called it the Russian Rejuvenator based on the Russians' decades of experience using DHQ, particularly in combination with Vitamin C as found in our formula.

In Russia this complex—DHQ plus Vitamin C—is known as a general restorative, detoxifying antioxidant and can be found in almost every corner drug store. Thousands of people take it every day. It’s also widely used as a food additive because its natural antioxidant properties help stabilize and preserve packaged foods. During our visit to Puschino and Moscow we enjoyed chocolates, yogurt and milk enhanced with DHQ. You can even find DHQ vodka! (I guess if you’re going to indulge, why not get a jump on your recovery while you’re at it?)

We met a number of people in Russia who shared their experiences with DHQ.

Russian Air Force Pilots Igor Kulikov and Aleksey Badakin with Dr. Stephen LangerTwo former military pilots, Colonel Igor Kulikov and Major Aleksey Badakin, explained that the government actually provided the supplement to help them cope with the physical and mental demands of the job. Flying military jets requires intense concentration, keen visual acuity and steady nerves. The altitude, cabin pressure and stress take an incredible toll on the body. DHQ, the pilots claim, helped them remain strong under pressure and recover quickly after maneuvers.

Swanson Product Development Director talks with former model and entrepreneur Anastasia Savenkova Anastasia Savenkova, a former Russian model who now runs a personal care company, told us how she uses DHQ to enhance her line of beauty products. She credits the gentle effectiveness of her topical products to the flavonoid and believes that daily supplementation helps fight the free radicals that threaten to rob us of our beauty as we age. Judging by her flawless skin and genuine radiance, she’s certainly doing something right.

Some customers have commented that Dr. Langer’s Russian Rejuvenator didn’t deliver the energizing boost they expected; but it’s not about instant, artificial energy like that found in a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull. It’s about supporting your body’s internal defense and restoration mechanisms, reducing those energy demands within the body and thereby helping you feel a greater sense of vitality in your daily life.

Dr. Langer’s Russian Rejuvenator is not a magic bullet of energy. Rather, it offers simple, systematic benefits that are realized over time in a manner one reviewer at described as: “No caffeine buzz or disrupted sleep! I just am willing to get up and do things. It's been a long time since I have had motivation, and I am thrilled.”

If you’re tired of feeling run down and you’re looking for a natural health solution that doesn’t involve stimulants, try Dr. Langer’s Russian Rejuvenator for 30 days. That’s all it takes to realize why thousands of men and women in the former Soviet Union, from pilots to models to average people like you and me, rely on DHQ every day.

Sneak Peak: Swanson Introduces First Ever Macrobiotic Supplement

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by Kurt C
Back in the 1960s an unassuming man from Japan took up residence on the East coast of the United States and quietly started a revolution. His name, Michio Kushi, became synonymous with the era’s movement toward natural foods, holistic wellness and peaceful philosophy—all of which came together in what is known as Kushi Macrobiotics.

John Lennon was an admirer. So was Dr. Benjamin Spock. Hundreds of people made a pilgrimage to the Kushi home to learn from him. Mr. Kushi taught his simple, balanced whole food diet and holistic lifestyle approach as a way to promote world peace through the power of individual transformation and mind-body wellness.

Though Macrobiotics is more than a dietary regimen, it is with this aspect of the lifestyle that the term is most commonly associated. The Macrobiotic diet emphasizes local whole foods (often raw or fermented), nutritional balance and conscious preparation. It eschews red meat and poultry in favor of fish and seafood, and prescribes natural alternatives in place of refined salt, sugar and other common elements of the Western diet.

Dietary supplements had no place in the Macrobiotic universe. Until now.

Swanson Health Products is proud to be among the first U.S. companies to introduce Michio Kushi’s Fermented Superfood Complex featuring preB®--the only supplement of its kind and the only nutritional health product personally formulated and recommended by Mr. Kushi. It's the first macrobiotic supplement.

PreB, the ingredient in Michio Kushi’s fermented superfood supplement, is produced from 55 all-natural whole foods, nearly all of which are grown exclusively for this blend on a remote farm within the Brazilian Pantanal—one of the few remaining areas of pristine, undeveloped land and one of the largest natural wetlands on earth.

This fermented superfood supplement contains well-balanced minerals and vitamins of plant origin as well as organic acids, amino acids, saccharides and phytonutrients. Together, these ingredients stimulate and support the health of good bacteria throughout the digestive system, thereby promoting immune system strength while cleansing and balancing the entire body.

Lee Swanson and our development team met with Michio Kushi, now in his 80s, last year near his home in Boston. He is truly a legendary figure in the natural health products universe and a personal hero of Lee’s, who took great pleasure in our visit.

In addition to popularizing “the Macrobiotic way,” Mr. Kushi established the first natural products store in the U.S., leading the way for companies like Swanson Health Products, which might never have developed without his pioneering vision.

Our November catalog contains much more information on Michio Kushi’s Fermented Superfood Complex, including an interview with Mr. Kushi himself and a look at the ANEW farm in Brazil, where the preB supplement ingredients are produced. This feature content, along with the beautiful video (below) featuring the farm and the preB production process, also will be available on our website at after November 1st.

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Swanson exclusive. Order Fermented Superfood with PreB right now before it debuts in the catalog!

Learn more directly from Mr. Kushi at

In Defense of Omega-3 Supplements (with Respect to the Utne Reader)

Friday, October 15, 2010 by Kurt C
I recently became reacquainted with an old friend, the Utne Reader. For over 20 years this magazine, which bills itself as “the best of the alternative press,” has been publishing forward-thinking original articles and reprinting the best under-the-radar journalism from small magazines and newspapers throughout the country. In my college years and early wide-eyed professional days I read it religiously. Then I grew up, got cynical, and lost touch with that “We can change the world!” enthusiasm.

Luckily, Utne didn’t, and when a colleague handed me the latest copy last week I found that they’re still out there trying to make a difference with a magazine that’s even better than I remembered. And this time, virtually the entire issue was directly relevant to our work here at Swanson as a natural health company providing natural health options. The cover headline: Food Fight: Kitchen Politics, Backyard Gardens and the New American Diet.

I quickly zeroed in on an article about mood disorders and omega-3 fatty acids excerpted from the Colorado Springs Independent.  It features Capt. Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a NIH researcher who basically believes that the rising rates of mental illness could be due to a lack of Omega-3 essential fatty acids benefits. It’s a great article; I encourage you to read it. But what I really want to address is this: a box on the page calls out “WEB EXLUSIVE: Want to read more about omega-3s, including which supplements are best? Visit”

Following the advice took me to this blog post, which basically says that you better watch out and that most qualifying statements used by manufacturers are “marketing hyperbole.” That may be true in many cases, but not when it comes to Swanson EFAs with ecOmega™ fish oil.

The blog post contends that “the industry . . .has not agreed on definitions of purity or quality” when in fact there are many controls on production, and since 2006 the Council for Responsible Nutrition has maintained a voluntary Omega-3 Monograph that establishes minimum standards. Not only do our Omega3 supplements comply with this monograph, they exceed the purity standard by a minimum of 75 percent.

Our ecOmega fish oils are produced by Marine Nutraceutical Corporation in a pharmaceutical-drug licensed facility according to pharmaceutical protocols with full traceability, pharmaceutical quality assurance and quality control. The oil is triple distilled and every batch is tested by independent labs to ensure that it is free of over 250 environmental contaminants, including six heavy metals, seven marker PCBs and 220 pesticides. No other producer in the world maintains such rigorous standards.

So if you’re looking for a quality Omega-3 supplement (and if Dr. Hibbeln is right, you should be) you’ll find none better than Swanson EFAs. They don’t just meet the existing standards; they set the standards by which all fish oils should be measured.

If you want to learn more about Omega-3 and fish oil nutrition without having to read a 500-word essay (my editor says I’m long winded), jump on over to for some conversations with “the father of Omega-3 fish oils” Dr. Jorn Dyerberg. He’s an advisor to Marine Nutraceutical Corp and the foremost authority on the subject.

If you want to check out more from the Utne Reader, start with this excellent article, In Praise of Fast Food, which explores the role of industrialized food in our society and examines how today’s “slow food” activists look at our culinary history through rose-colored glasses and long for a sunlit past that never truly existed.