While living in China in the early 20th century, Nutrilite founder Carl F. Rehnborg learned firsthand the power of a plant-based diet. In his travels throughout China, he studied the nutritional habits of people who lived in larger cities, versus the people who lived in more rural settings.
In the cities, where people ate far more sugar, salt and fat and far fewer plant-based foods, Carl met people who suffered from poor nutritional health. By contrast, in the countryside, where fresh fruits and vegetables were plentiful, people were much healthier overall.
Carl’s observations and experiments led him to identify important but unknown compounds in plants that he called “associated food factors.” He understood that people who lacked these associated food factors in their diets were not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and consequently, they were not as healthy as they could be.
Later, during political unrest in Shanghai in 1927, Carl was confined with other expatriates in camps where food was scarce. He supplemented his meager diet with crude soups he made using available grasses and plants, along with ground-up animal bones for calcium, and even rusty nails for iron.
Carl survived the ordeal and returned to the United States with the seed of an idea: What if there were some kind of supplement that could provide all the vitamins, minerals and associated food factors lacking in people’s daily diets? It would help “balance” their diet by filling in the nutritional gaps.
In 1934, with this idea as his foundation, Carl began his business and introduced the first multivitamin / multimineral supplement for sale in North America. He called it Vita-6 and it contained a liquid extract of alfalfa and other plant nutrients.
In 1939, the company Carl F. Rehnborg founded was renamed Nutrilite Products, Inc.
Today, we know the associated food factors Carl discovered as phytonutrients. These organic compounds give plants their color, protect them from environmental stresses, and provide a bounty of nutrients. Each vibrant plant color represents a different spectrum of health benefits.
When we include these phytonutrients in our daily diet, we can further reach our optimal health and help maintain proper body function.
Carl F. Rehnborg was a true pioneer in the study of plant nutrients and nutrition – helping millions of people to this day understand the power of a plant-based diet!