Better Living with Illuminate labs
I'm always interested in speaking to entrepreneurs about why they started their companies and what makes their products, services and brands stand out above others, especially in a world that is increasingly looking to become more socially conscious.
Social consciousness can show up in many ways - how the products are sourced, brand transparency, environmental responsibility, and how the brands give back. Enjoy this new feature, Better Living with..., which we are starting with an interview with Calloway Cook, Founder of Illuminate Labs.
Why did you start Illuminate Labs?
I'm someone who's very conscious about health and thoughtful about what I put into my body on a daily basis. When I found out that the U.S. supplement market is basically unregulated, I became concerned about the purity and quality of the supplements I was taking every day. I immediately emailed every company I purchased products from asking them for test results of their products, but not a single company would send them. It's not a legal requirement in the U.S. for supplement manufacturers to disclose whether their products are actually safe to take.
I couldn't believe that these multimillion-dollar supplement companies wouldn't even bother to send a concerned consumer proof that their products were safe, and it made me wonder if they were doing any testing at all.
I started Illuminate Labs to solve these transparency and consumer health issues. We test all of our supplements against European Union benchmarks for purity, and we only sell products which pass testing. We publish the test results right on the product pages of our website for consumers to see themselves.
What are your current products?
We decided to start with four of the most popular medicinal herbs:
Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) is an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) herb used for centuries in Eastern traditions. Recently, research studies have suggested that ashwagandha extract can reduce anxiety. This herb is an adaptogen; a category of natural compounds that help the body deal with stress.
There have been several research papers published in the last ten years indicating a secondary benefit of ashwagandha usage - male reproductive support. The root extract has been found in these studies to increase testosterone levels and improve semen profiles. These effects are specific to men; there are no risks to women.
Cinnamon can aid in lowering blood glucose. The compound can provide natural support to help manage blood sugar issues. Research studies suggest that in doses of 1000mg and up it reduces blood sugar. There are an increasing number of studies showing lowered cholesterol levels when supplementing with cinnamon extract.
Ginkgo biloba extract is an herbal extract derived from the leaves of the Maidenhair Tree. It's a popular "herbal tonic" in China -- a product that's thought to invigorate the body, improve mental clarity and reduce inflammation.
Recently, a significant amount of scientific papers have been published which provide support for these claims. In various studies, ginkgo biloba extract has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function.
Panax ginseng extract (often called "Korean Ginseng" or "Red Ginseng") comes from the root of a perennial plant native to the Asian continent. Panax is one of two variants of the herb, the other being American ginseng. It's considered a "general tonic" in Chinese medicine. However, most of the recent research on this plant involves its nootropic (cognitive-enhancing) effects.
Research suggests that panax ginseng extract can improve cognitive performance and support energy.
*The writer was fortunate enough to try this product, and it made me feel alert, energized, and focused to start my day!
What's new for Illuminate Labs in 2020?
We filed our Certified B Corp paperwork in December of 2019, so we should be fully certified in 2020. This is exciting because it's the most thorough certification that a company has ethical practices!
We obviously want to increase our sales this year, but we also want to improve consumer education about the safety and health issues in the U.S. supplement market. This is why we hired an animation studio to put together a video explaining the problem.
How does Illuminate Labs give back?
We partner with one charity: CURE Childhood Cancer. We have an ongoing agreement to donate 5% of profits annually to them. I'm passionate about using science to make the world a better place, and that's the common tie between their company and ours. Both organizations conduct lots of research. Our research goes into formulating clean products that set a new standard for the U.S. supplement industry. Their research goes into curing cancer, and they're rated 4/4 stars on Charity Navigator.
Learn More about Illuminate Labs here!