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!


It began with a vision

While in China from 1915 until 1927, Carl observes the poor health of the people and makes a correlation between nutrition, health and lifestyle.

Before returning to China, Carl spends time learning the nutritional value of milk. At Carnation's research facility, he notes that dairy cattle thrive when fed exclusively on alfalfa. He believes alfalfa is an ideal food source and seeks a way to make it digestible in the human body.

Carl Rehnborg pursues link between nutrition and health; formulates a balanced, plant-based vitamin and mineral product

Confined in Shanghai during the Revolution, Carl supplements his meager diet by creating “stews” of leafy plants and vegetables, bones and rusty nails.

Carl, at the age of 40, leaves China and arrives in San Pedro, California with only $24 in his pocket. Years later he said, "I was flat on my back and broke, but I was rich because I had a dream I was going to pursue at all costs."

Carl Rehnborg introduces a multivitamin/multimineral supplement in the United States

Carl identifies components of plants that are essential to health and calls them “Associated Food Factors.” Today, these are recognized as phytonutrients.

Carl introduces what many people claim to be the first multivitamin/multimineral supplement sold in the United States.

Carl names one of his first products VITA-6 for the six vitamins it contains. In 1937, he changes the name to VITASOL.

Carl sets up a lab in Montebello, California, and pursues his dream full-time.

Carl notes the term “Nutrilites” in a 1928 Science magazine and seeks permission to use it as the official name for his new company.

Nutrilite Products, Inc. (NPI) is officially incorporated. The cost to incorporate is $69.56.

Nutrilite opens the Slauson Avenue processing facility in central Los Angeles, its first full manufacturing operation. As business expands, the company begins packaging and shipping a few blocks away on South Hoover Street.

Dynamic multilevel marketing concept sets foundation for Nutrilite Sales

Carl purchases a 3.6-acre farm in California’s San Fernando Valley. He wants to grow his alfalfa and other plant materials without using pesticides and herbicides. He develops his own method of farming which he calls “Nutrilite Farming Practices.”

Mytinger & Casselberry become exclusive distributors of Nutrilite® Food Supplements. This officially marks the beginning of a unique and innovative marketing plan.

Carl moves Nutrilite Products, Inc. from Slauson Avenue into a Quonset hut in Buena Park where he lives with his family, conducts research, and makes his concentrates from fresh plant materials.

Nutrilite introduces a vitamin and mineral nutrient product named Nutrilite XX, because the product price is $20.

Nutrilite moves to their current location on 5600 Beach Boulevard (then Grand Avenue) in Buena Park, California.

Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos become distributors of the Nutrilite® brand.

Nutrilite Products, Inc. launches its first food supplement for children.

Carl Rehnborg’s vision and determination overcome business challenges

As sales continue to grow, 600 acres of land are purchased in Lakeview, California for a new processing facility.

In cooperation with the University of Hawaii, Nutrilite Products, Inc. conducts research on the acerola cherry and introduces an all-natural vitamin C supplement.

Nutrilite Products, Inc. gets government approval to use the first natural biological insect control: bacillus thuringiensis. The Company is granted a patent in 1976.

Nutrilite establishes its own acerola cherry orchards in Hawaii.

Carl speaks before 1,000 Independent Business Owners at the Fiesta de Oro convention in Los Angeles.

Nutrilite distributors Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos start a new company. They coin Amway as an abbreviation for "American Way."

Combined power of Amway brands spurs growth

Acerola cherry orchards are leased in Puerto Rico, their natural habitat, ensuring a continuing supply of natural vitamin C.

Dr. Sam announces Amway’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Nutrilite Products, Inc.

The Nutrilite® product line adds exponentially to Amway gross sales, as Nutrilite distributors become Amway distributors selling a full line of Nutrilite products

Nutrilite Founder Carl Rehnborg passes away at the age of 85.

The Nutrilite® brand becomes available in Canada—the first international presence for the brand.

To meet increased demand for Acerola Concentrate, an additional 400 acres are purchased in Naguabo, Puerto Rico.

As Amway accelerates international expansion, Nutrilite sales soar

Nutrilite Products, Inc. celebrates its 50th anniversary. Nutrilite product sales reach $126 million.

Emphasizes organic farming, research and global fitness

Nutrilite purchases more than 900 acres in Jalisco, Mexico. Rancho El Petacal's primary crops include citrus fruit, spinach, garlic and alfalfa.

Amway opens manufacturing and distribution facilities in Guangzhou, China. With entry into China, Carl's initial observations regarding the nutrition and health of the Chinese population come full circle.

The Rehnborg Center for Nutrition & Wellness is established as the primary source of science, education, and training for Nutrilite® products.

Nutrilite Products, Inc. sales hit $1 billion as the brand launches in the 25th market, Indonesia.

Nutrilite and Amway acquire the 4,100 acre Fazendo Planato Grande in Brazil.

A controlling interest is acquired in Trout Lake Farm—the largest certified organic herbal farm in North America.

Nutrilite prides itself on being a "Global Good Neighbour," providing for economic security, health care, and education for the local cultures on Nutrilite Farms.

All Nutrilite farms adhere to strict guidelines that emphasize the responsible management of natural resources and respect for nature’s processes.

Nutrilite is the world’s leading brand of Vitamin, Mineral and Dietary Supplements*

*Based on 2009 sales

Each Nutrilite Farm is certified organic according to criteria set by its respective country.

Nutrilite Health Institute establishes the Scientific Advisory Board, consisting of distinguished scientists from around the world.

The Nutrilite® brand is named an official sponsor of A.C. Milan Soccer Club.

Nutrilite Is the World's Leading Brand of Vitamin, Mineral and Dietary Supplements, based on 2008 retail sales.

The Nutrilite® brand celebrates its 75th anniversary.