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 Extract

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.

Ceylon Cinnamon Extract

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

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.