We live in a time where so much access to information about nutrition is at our fingertips. We have never had this much knowledge available to us about how the body works, what’s good and not so good for us to consume, and an overall understanding of how to lead healthier lives. This vast amount of information and knowledge has led so many people to make sure they are getting the right vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health.
As information started becoming more abundant, the rise of supplements followed. Suddenly, people began to realize that they weren’t getting all or enough of the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to thrive. The increasing modernization of agriculture and the rise of processed foods from the 1970s began to make a dramatic impact on people’s diets, and not always for the better. Supplements became the thing to fill in the gaps of what was missing from their diets. This is ultimately where the popularity began.
In this article I am going to break down the history of supplements. We are going to take a look at how this industry got started, why it became popular, and what we can expect for the future.
Where it all got started:
Many people think that nutrient depletion in our food is something that has recently come about, but this actually isn’t true. Nutrition depletion was beginning to arise in the early 1900’s and efforts to solve this issue is what actually led to the creation of vitamins and the first ever multi-vitamin.
The discovery of vitamins in general was a major scientific achievement, and one that actually began in the early 19th century and went well into the mid 20th century. These breakthroughs came over time and through the work of many physicians, chemists, physiologists, and epidemiologists.
To give you a good idea about how supplements came about, let’s take it back to when the first ever product was created. 1916 was the year that Mastin’s Yeast Vitamin Tablets were developed. This was the very first multiple vitamin (multi-vitamin) tablet on the market at the time and contained Vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, iron, and Nux Vomica which is a homeopathic remedy for heartburn. These tablets came with a written insert filled with information about the product. One sentence stated, “The increasing of the Vitamine supply to weakened systems is recognized by medical authorities as a valuable aid to enrich the blood, strengthen the nerves, improve the appetite, aid digestion, correct constipation, clear the skin, increase weight and energy and act as a health-giving tonic in generally weakened run-down conditions.”
Interestingly enough it was nutritional deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beri-beri, and pellagra that led chemists to the synthesis of vitamins in order to provide people with the nutrients they needed to be disease free. This multivitamin came from that discovery.
How Supplements Became Popular:
When mult-vitamins became readily available in the United States during the 1940’s, more and more people started taking them. From that point it’s only been growing. The more access there was to information about nutrition and health, the more people wanted to start taking care of themselves in ways they never had before.
Fun fact: In 1973 that the FDA published their first regulations that required nutrition labelling certain foods. It wasn’t until 1990 that the FDA, through the Nutrition Labelling and Education Act, mandated all food companies to provide nutrition facts on all products sold. This was a massive step towards awareness of what people were really putting into their bodies, both abundance or lack of vitamins.
From that point, supplement sales began growing and growing. Flashforward to present day, the Nutrition Business Journal in the United States says 2020 was the largest year of growth ever seen for the industry. The market value was a total of $55.75 billion! Whether it be due to the pandemic or the rise of more and more people being health conscious, many reports see only more substantial growth for years to come.
Why Supplements Have Changed the Way We Look at Health:
If you think about it this way, supplements have completely changed the way we view health in a very positive way. For one of the first times in history, we have the freedom and access to lifesaving and crucial vitamins and minerals we need to feel our best. It is true, a majority of our food is certainly not as nutritionally dense as it was. This is due to a number of reasons from depleted soil to mass agriculture. One thing is certain though, supplements allow you to fill in the gaps where necessary.
At NutraChamps, our mission is to help people live happier and healthier lives. What makes us different as a company is that we go the extra mile to make sure you’re getting the most out of every purchase. Many of our supplements are paired alongside other vitamins or natural ingredients that optimize the benefits. As an example, we add Vitamin C, Zinc, and herbs to our Echinacea so your immune system is fully supported.
We also partner with an organization called “Vitamin Angels,” which provides life-saving vitamins to mothers and children around the world who don’t have access to them. Since partnering with them back in 2017 we have helped Vitamin Angels impact the health of 186,656 women and children through our donations.
Supplements can make a world of a difference, especially to communities and those who need it most. We’re extremely grateful to be a part of a growing industry and we only plan on doing more from here on out.
Alexia Palmeri is a 26-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what’s happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking plant-based meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!