Your browser's JavaScript seems to be Disabled. Please enable the JavaScript to get all functionalty of the site.

The "Science First" Difference

The Science First Difference

As a manufacturer of premium quality nutritional supplements distributed exclusively to healthcare practitioners, Designs for Health is committed to the goal of producing the most effective and therapeutic nutritional products possible. We are keenly aware of the responsibility this entails and have distilled the concepts that are essential to meeting this goal into the phrase "Science First."

These Science First concepts include, but are not limited to, product ingredient selection, product formulation and potency decisions, dietary recommendations, and even marketing messages. Every working day at Designs for Health includes decisions that start with the question, what are the Science First elements of this decision process? Below are a few examples of Science First in practice at Designs for Health.

Science First in Product Ingredient Selection – TruTGTM and NatureFolateTM

The Science First Difference

TruTGTM Fish Oils

The vast majority of fish oil concentrate products available on the market today are ethyl esters (EE). Not surprisingly, the reason is cost; an additional step is required to convert EEs back into their natural triglyceride (TG) state. This added process removes the ethanol backbone and re-esterifies the omega-3 fatty acids to a glycerol backbone. Interestingly, even most companies that choose to take this extra step and expense convert just 60 – 65% of the oil to TG, leaving a mixture of EE, and mono and diglyceride oil in the remainder. Only Designs for Health fish oil products carry the TruTG™ seal – your assurance that our fish oils are delivered in the form found in nature, consistent with Paleolithic nutritional philosophy, and are of unmatched TG potency. Fish oil blends and concentrates bearing the TruTG™ seal are 90 – 100% triglyceride (TG) bound omega-3 fish oils, which are 40 – 50% higher than the industry standard for TG fish oil concentrate products.

Why the Triglyceride (TG) form of fish oils?

  • The naturally occurring form in foods and in the body
  • Research indicates that it is up to 100% more bioavailable than the ethyl ester (EE) form
  • Easier to assimilate for patients with impaired digestion and absorption
  • Less prone to oxidation and production of free radicals
  • No post digestion production of alcohol in the gut or blood stream as in the EE form
  • Less susceptible to increasing free fatty acids in the blood, which may increase blood glucose
The Science First Difference


Research is clear that the consumption of the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate (folic acid) used in fortified foods and nutritional supplements is contributing to the worldwide cancer epidemic. Unlike the natural forms of folate, this synthetic form of folic acid must be converted to a natural form in the body. Yet it is simply not possible to convert the huge amount of folic acid we are now being exposed to since the introduction of food fortification in the US in 1998, and from the increased use of nutritional supplements containing folic acid. This lack of conversion results in a build-up of "unmetabolized" synthetic folic acid in the blood. This synthetic unmetabolized folic acid increases cellular proliferation, including that in cancerous tumors.

NatureFolate™ is a blend of natural folates including those found in foods such as spinach and eggs. The folate forms found in NatureFolate™ are 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) and 5-formyl tetrahydrofolate (5-FTHF). These are safe, natural forms which are quickly and easily utilized by the body. NatureFolate™ provides the proven benefits of optimal folate supplementation without the risks associated with unmetabolized, synthetic folic acid.

Science First in Product Formulation and Potency Decisions

The Science First Difference

We take much pride in our Science First approach to the development of highly effective synergistic formulations. Over the years, practitioners have come to trust and rely on our products, confident that they are receiving formulations containing combinations and potencies resulting from our team sifting through extensive research of the ingredients chosen for each product. While we offer many single nutrient supplements, a vast majority of our products are multi-nutrient formulations, where you will see a delicate balance and interplay of meticulously selected vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and nutraceuticals.

For example, Mitochondrial NRG™ is a synergistic blend of eighteen different ingredients woven together to support efficient mitochondrial metabolism and energy production. The creation of this product allows for the support of mitochondrial function in a much more multi-faceted way than could ever be imagined with one element alone. In this respect, you will see carnitine, the star in shuttling fats into mitochondria, combined with several B vitamin Krebs cycle cofactors, combined in turn with the botanticals resveratrol and curcumin, shown to induce mitochondrial biogenesis. Hence, the result not only defines an all-encompassing formulation, but it also allows for a well-thought-out selection of therapeutic dosages that allow for the proper collaboration among the array of ingredients.

Whether you are looking at products such as Adrenotone™, PediaFocus™, ArthroSoothe™, Thyroid Synergy™, or the myriad of formulations we offer, you will witness this same theme of piecing together a well-balanced, well-researched nutrition puzzle in order to provide our practitioners with a science-based arsenal of tools.

Science First in Dietary Recommendations

The Science First Difference

Designs for Health developed the Paleo Nutrition product family based upon the principles of wholesome Paleolithic nutrition, the type of diet that human physiology has adapted to for millions of years. Given that there has been little change in the human genome since Paleolithic times, our nutritional requirements remain similar to those of the Stone Age hunter-gatherers. During the 2.6 million years that our Paleolithic ancestors lived, their nutrition depended upon lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. No cereal grains were ever consumed during this era. In fact, it was not until the dawn of agriculture when this detrimental food group was introduced to man. As a result, Paleolithic man was lean, fit, and free of the chronic diseases that we are seeing in epidemic proportions today.

Our Paleo Nutrition family, which is comprised of PaleoMeal®, PaleoGreens™, PaleoReds™, PaleoCleanse™, PaleoFiber™ and PaleoBars™, offers food products with a balanced ratio of low net carbohydrates, high quality proteins and essential fats. The protein found in our Paleo products is derived from exceptional quality whey or pea, or a combination of both. No soy protein is ever used. The Paleo Nutrition family is designed to promote peak wellness with a comprehensive approach that optimizes patients' intake of macro and micronutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients. These distinctively unique snack and meal options are ideal for patients seeking support with weight control, blood glucose and lipid optimization, detoxification, energy and vitality, immune function, and better overall nutrition intake.

Science First in Marketing Messages – Magnesium Stearate

The Science First Difference

Magnesium stearate and stearic acid are among the most commonly used excipients in the natural products and food industry. An excipient is an inert, non-active ingredient to assist in the physical process of making tablets and capsules. Many dry powder ingredients would not quickly, evenly, and uniformly flow into capsules without an excipient to enhance the free flow of the powder particles. Designs for Health's magnesium stearate is derived solely from palm oil. It is a magnesium salt of stearic acid, and contains no trans-fatty acids. It is non-GMO, free from BSE/TSE and may be used, if desired, as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, there is a move in the food industry to enrich fats with stearic acid as research now suggests it has beneficial effects on lipids and thrombosis.

Some nutritional products manufacturer and distributors try to differentiate themselves from their competitors with marketing messaging that emphasizes that they do not use magnesium stearate as an excipient. In their effort to market their products, these companies cast magnesium stearate in a negative light, claiming that it is deleterious to health and that it affects the bioavailability of nutrients. However, the scientific data to support their point of view is highly suspect as the scientific references cited are taken out of context, and sometimes even completely fabricated. Unfortunately this marketing ploy contributes to confusion and can result in diminished opinions of the value of nutritional supplements as a whole.

Magnesium stearate is approximately 96% stearic acid. Stearic acid is one of the most commonly occurring saturated fatty acids in animal and vegetable fats and oils, including fish and other nutritive fish oils sold by these same companies demonizing stearic acid. Since nutritional supplements are most often suggested to be taken with food, the stearic acid of the food consumed will by many times exceed that found in the nutritional supplement. The stearic acid contained in one serving of various foods and in a typical dietary supplement capsule and powder product is shown below:


Designs for Health is committed to making pure and effective products. We take our Science First foundational business principle very seriously. To this end, we would never capitalize on marketing gimmicks like that employed by those critical of the use of magnesium stearate.