All posts by Dr. Sam

Experiencing our Commitment to the Future

Last month, I was able to experience Amway’s commitment to health and wellbeing firsthand. I spent time in Zurich, Switzerland with Founders Council members, and I also visited Napa Valley in California and spoke to a group of Japanese ABOs about how our future is taking shape.

Amway Founders Council members in Zurich, Switzerland. Can you find Francesca and me? Photo Credit – Dusty Brown, 2024

The event in Zurich reflected the strong partnership between Amway and Founders Council Members who shared examples and best practices of how they are transforming and building their businesses differently with health and wellbeing as the focus.

At the event in Napa, I spoke with Amway Japan ABO leaders who were equally excited about the direction we are headed for future growth as a health and wellbeing company.  While this path forward seems like a new approach, this has always been the foundation of what my father believed in many years ago.

Francesca and me relaxing in Napa Valley, California. Photo courtesy of Amway Japan, 2024.

I came away from my travels and interactions struck by the overwhelming acceptance of this path forward for our business. I spoke with many different people who were so impressed because they can easily see a tangible, positive impact from our renewed focus on health and wellbeing. Not only for themselves, but for all the people connected to their communities throughout the world.

It was very validating for me because it recognizes the fundamentals of a wonderful concept that took root so long ago about the best way to live a healthy life.

Seeing it for ourselves

It has been 90 years since Nutrilite was founded, but more than 100 years since my father, Carl Rehnborg, first went to China and observed that plant-based diets and regular physical activity made people healthier. It created a seed of an idea for him that led to the founding of Nutrilite in 1934. 

I can see for myself that Amway understands that Nutrilite is so much more than a plant-based supplement brand – it is a way of life that has stood the test of time.

Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel traveled with Nutrilite distributors to Buena Park, California, to see Carl and Edith Rehnborg. Photograph circa 1950s.

Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel saw it for themselves when they worked as Nutrilite distributors in the 1950s before founding Amway. Years ago, distributors would travel with Rich and Jay by bus to California to see Carl Rehnborg and the Nutrilite farms firsthand because they knew that the farms, the soil, and the meticulous devotion to quality was the true foundation of their business, something you will see in this incredible film from 1954 – From the Ground Up. 

Building a foundation

Today, those trips to the farm so many years ago – and the belief in a better way – have taken root. As a result, Amway’s foundational products work to help promote healthy nutrition and good daily habits. That’s where it starts.

And we need this more than ever now, because we are still faced with many challenges.

In the United States, where the standard American diet is the norm, people are consuming higher amounts of ultra processed foods and animal products. According to a recent Health Matters presentation from Stanford University, Americans continue to have wide nutritional gaps in their diets. 

The percentage of Americans who consume the recommended minimum amounts of fruits and vegetables is still much too low. According to the CDC, 12.3 percent meet fruit recommendations and 10 percent meet vegetable recommendations. The numbers are even lower for adolescents.[i]

Considering how fast paced and distracting our lives have become, it’s not surprising these numbers remain so low for many of us.

A way forward

It’s why the work we are doing is so important. We are creating vibrant communities that have the potential to empower millions of people to improve their health span – or the number of years they are healthy, happy, and feeling their best.

Don’t forget that it takes a village to do this – going it alone is not sustainable. We rely on our friends, family and counterparts to keep us motivated on our journeys to optimal health.

Together, we can empower people to live better, healthier lives, helping them achieve their wellbeing goals.

I’m so excited to see what the future will bring!

[1] Lee SH, Moore LV, Park S, Harris DM, Blanck HM. Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1–9. DOI:

Harnessing the Power of Nature

With springtime upon us it’s a good time to share a previous post about harnessing the undeniable power of nature. It’s becoming ever more important for us to listen to Mother Nature and to find innovative ways to help create a sustainable future. A future based on nature’s design.

The wisdom of nature fascinates me. You need only take a walk in the outdoors to see why. At first glance, you may marvel at its beauty, but when you look closer, you’re sure to spot the elegant efficiency that is uniquely Mother Nature. Nothing is wasted. All is needed. Everything counts. To me, nature is a perfect place to find inspiration for sustainable solutions not only for healthy living, but for a healthy planet. So perfect, in fact, it has inspired a movement.

A majestic tree at Fazenda Nutriorganica, Ceará, Brazil, 2014. Branches jut out without any right angles, allowing for more efficient distribution of water and nutrients, just like the blood vessels in our circulatory system.

Sustainability inspired by nature

For eons, man has found solutions to problems big and small by watching, learning, and modeling the wisdom of nature. Today, we’re watching even more closely to find sustainable solutions, thanks to the biomimicry movement. I like that.

Biomimicry, a term coined by naturalist Janine Benyus about 25 years ago, is now a mainstream movement. A growing number of researchers, architects, inventors, and other creative types look to nature to inspire their own well-designed solutions. Each one starting with a simple question: “I have a problem; how would nature solve it?”

Water beadlets on the surface of a leaf. Certain leaves, such as the lotus, are textured, which helps water and dirt to roll off easier. This feature has inspired fabric and paint finishes that repel stains without the need for excess chemicals.

What exactly is Biomimicry?

According to The Biomimicry Institute (yes, there is an institute), the goal of biomimicry is to find sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating the patterns and strategies found in nature that have stood the test of time. The result is products, processes and policies that not only help us thrive, but protect the planet.[i]

The bur is a common example of biomimicry in action. These airborne specks of dry plants have hooks that can cling to clothes with impressive tenacity, much to the dismay of most hikers. But not to Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who took a closer look at the bur and was inspired to create the Velcro® hook-and-loop fastener, which he patented in the mid-1950s.

You may also recognize biomimicry in other products: bullet trains inspired by king fisher birds, houses modeled after baobab trees, air conditioning systems patterned after termite hills, or solar power systems inspired by leaves.

Nutrilite solutions powered by Biomimicry

My father understood the wisdom of nature long before the biomimicry movement. As a young man traveling in China, he was intrigued by the shiny coats of cows grazing only on alfalfa and drinking water. He also noticed people in rural areas, who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, were healthier than their urban counterparts who consumed more refined foods. These types of observation eventually led to the creation of Nutrilite® brand supplements — a supplement inspired by nature.

Another Nutrilite example of biomimicry is the natural pesticide BIOTROL developed by scientists at Nutrilite Products, Inc., in the 1950s. They were looking for spotted aphids, dead ones in this case, that had been rampaging the alfalfa fields. They noticed some of the dead aphids were covered with a fuzz from mold. After testing, they found the mold spores could control the aphid problem and do so without the bugs developing a tolerance to the fungal material. This discovery didn’t result in a commercial product (spotted aphids are not a big pest), but it did inspire my father to find a way to naturally ward off certain destructive caterpillars. He hired entomologists, biologists and fermentation experts and eventually produced BIOTROL. It was derived from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and considered the first natural biological pest control in the marketplace.

An insect shows off its colorful exoskeleton while blending into the foliage. Some insects are predators of common pests, making them a natural solution to help protect crops.

Good bugs, bad bugs and more

Finding inspiration in nature is a huge part of what Nutrilite scientists do. They use beneficial bugs – lady bugs, green lace wings and others – to balance harmful bugs. They rely on sheep droppings to feed earthworms, microbes and other organisms needed for rich, fertile soil. They closely monitor harvesting time to ensure optimal nutrient content in plants.

It is also important to look to nature to see what is suited for the land. For this reason, we source plant ingredients for Nutrilite® brand products from farms that have the right climate, soil and weather conditions for a particular crop, and why we partner with like-minded farmers around the world in our NutriCert™ certification program.

Surround yourself with nature’s inspiration

We spend a lot of time at our home in Telluride, Colorado, but this year was the first time we were there to see the Aspen leaves changing color. It was an unbelievable sight, true living color in brilliant greens, translucent yellows and deep golds. These majestic trees paint a spectacular picture, but to me, they also offer inspiration for biomimicry of a cultural sort. You see, the Aspens are all connected by one massive root system that allows them to thrive, year after year, earning them the moniker of largest living organism on the planet. Imagine what we could accomplish for our planet if we could be as connected?

The sparkling leaves on Aspen trees near our home in Telluride begin to change color. Telluride, CO, September 2018. Photo: F. Rehnborg

I encourage you to get outdoors as much as you can. Go somewhere that soothes your soul –walk along a beach, hike a mountain trail, sit in a city park or enjoy your own garden more. While there, look closer at the flowers, trees, shrubs and nature’s other wonders. Look for symmetry, check out the patterns, and find something you haven’t noticed before.

I believe the more we connect with nature, the more we open our minds to nature-inspired solutions and, most importantly, the lighter we will tread on our planet. Who’s ready for a nature walk?

Till next time!

Fueled by the Power of Friendship

I am all smiles as I hold a plaque given to me as a bon voyage present from our Guest Relations Team as I depart for a sailing adventure to the South Seas. It depicts a motto dear to me heart: Live. Laugh. Love. Newport Marina, Calif., November 7, 2015.
I am all smiles as I hold this plaque given to me as a gift depicting a motto that is near and dear to my heart: Live, Laugh, Love. Newport Marina, 2015.

Throughout my life, I’ve met many successful people who are fueled by the power of friendship. One quality they share is an ability to take genuine interest in making space for the people they meet. When you interact with them, they make you magically feel like you’re the only person in the world, even if it’s only for a moment.

Friendship is deeply embedded in Amway’s approach to Health and Wellbeing; an approach which also recognizes core Nutrilite values that mean so much to me, like optimal health, community, and care for our planet.

A variety of categories comprise our Health and Wellbeing approach, including “community connection” and “personal growth” – two pillars that truly go together because we can’t go it alone in this world and expect to be successful for the long term.

That’s why I’ve been reflecting lately on how important healthy relationships – and friendship – have become when you are meeting people and making connections.

I’m sure you know people who seem to easily build incredible networks with numerous connections, which makes sense in a world dominated by social networks – and social media influence – where connections are like currency.

The more connections you have the more validated you might feel. But we should also ask ourselves whether these types of “connections” are supporting our individual wellbeing and making us feel happier.

The Fabric of Relationships

There’s nothing wrong with being well connected, but not if you’re unable to go deeper and turn a connection into a healthy relationship. That takes more effort and a willingness to see people more fully.

Think of a connection as a single thread, and a relationship as a woven fabric. A connection is a basic point of contact – you might share a common interest with someone or have a brief interaction. Whereas a relationship has more depth – and breadth – because you are sharing experiences and feelings. In a healthy relationship, there is mutual respect and a willingness to reciprocate because you support each other and better understand each other.

Starting from your Base Camp

Our partners and our families should be like a base camp for healthy relationships. How we connect with our loved ones is a blueprint for how we treat our friends and neighbors, and how we can turn our connections into healthy relationships when appropriate.

I care deeply about my family and circle of friends. They create joy for me and keep me motivated to live a long healthy life so I can get to know my grandchildren, and eventually my great grandchildren!

Getting ready to take a brisk walk with Francesca. Being outdoors surrounded by nature is one of our favorite ways to maintain a positive outlook.
Getting ready to take a brisk walk with Francesca. Being outdoors surrounded by nature is one of our favorite ways to maintain a positive outlook.

A World of Social Media

Social media is here to stay, and the reality is that for many people in today’s world it has fundamentally altered how we interact with each other. Even though we are hyper-connected, studies have shown that depression and loneliness are on the rise in a world where face-to-face interaction is often interrupted by a smart phone.

In some ways we are multitasking our relationships. We’re often so focused on capturing our experiences that we forget to live in the wonderful moments that make up our lives. I believe it’s those moments that create momentum and make us who we are, which is why we might need to do better at focusing on what’s important to us.

A Final Word on Success

The most successful people are also the people who will turn out to be your best friend. They connect with others on an emotional level, and they easily turn connections into relationships. They’re the people who will make a difference in your life, and the ones you will want to be around no matter whether you are feeling happy or sad.

In the end, it’s exceedingly rare for anyone to achieve success without the help and support of others.

That’s why being successful and being a product of the product takes a rich community of friendship, laughter, and maybe most of all, healthy relationships that last for the long haul.


Revisiting the Origin Story of the Nutrilite Brand

Carl F. Rehnborg in Shanghai wearing a light colored suit and holding his pith helmet in the 1920s.

I’m excited to tell you that in just a couple months, The Nutrilite Story 3rd Edition will be released and available for purchase. Writing the book — all three editions — has been a labor of love for me.

Revisiting the origin story of the Nutrilite™ brand and sharing my father’s experiences motivates me to stay the course sharing my message of health and wellbeing.

When my father, Carl F. Rehnborg, founded Nutrilite in 1934, his vision was to create a company that would provide people with the highest quality nutritional supplements. He believed that everyone deserved access to good nutrition, that everyone should benefit from a plant-based diet.

He also understood that stewardship for the planet is directly tied to our self-interest and our individual well-being.

A Place of Golden Opportunities

In the spirit of my father, I want to share an excerpt from chapter two of the book, “A Place of Golden Opportunities,” to get you excited about the upcoming release.

It’s magical for me to imagine my father traveling east to the other side of the world in 1915 to begin building a business in China. It’s not as if he could just jump on a plane and arrive, after all.

Passport pages
A page from my father’s United States passport.

His initial trip marked the beginning of a life-long journey of discovery and perseverance that created the Nutrilite brand that we know so well today.

When your destiny is to blaze new trails, it can make you feel like a square peg in a round hole. But then when you find the right fit, magic can happen. So it was for my 28-year-old father during the fall of 1915 when he packed all his goods into a steamer trunk, stepped onto a train in Grand Central Terminal, and embarked on a journey that would take him halfway around the world. He would begin a new career in China as an accountant for Standard Oil Company of New York, which everyone called Socony for short. Beyond the obvious adventure of it all, the Socony job had offered him the means to fulfill a deeper pull, something that had been tugging him powerfully since his days at Pratt Institute, or possibly before, toward that mysterious, inscrutable faraway land.

Before my father could leave, he had to pass a rigorous training program in New York, a program that would prepare him for his new life. During this time, he learned all about the oil business—about oil, solvents, fractionation, and vacuum distillations. He studied Chinese culture, history, and philosophy. He also learned about life as a foreigner in China—how visitors could live in foreign concessions that had the look and feel of their home country. The course was fascinating, but the competition was brutal and the pressure was intense. The class was whittled down from 100 to 20 students in three months. My father not only survived the cut, he thrived in the competitive environment, graduating with honors. His final 200-page project was so good that Socony accepted it as a model for assignments to other men, even putting some of his recommendations into effect. At graduation, the names of the students and their stations were read out. My father’s home for the next two years would be Tientsin (today known as Tianjin), the “City of the Heavenly Ford,” a large port city not far from Peking.

It must have been humbling for my father to stand under the canopy of golden stars in the expansive ceiling of Grand Central Terminal, his pith helmet and pongee suit carefully tucked away in his trunk and try to imagine the adventure that lay ahead. Would it be like anything he and Hester imagined as they had pored over the news, events, and culture of China during their days at Pratt? His long journey began with a train ride from New York through the Midwest to catch a steamship from Vancouver, British Columbia, bound for China after stops in equally exotic Honolulu and Yokohama.

At first, it seemed as if the train would never leave the endless city that surrounded New York, but it soon caught its rhythm and sped through the low mountains on its way to the Midwest. Looking out on the landscape as the train churned on, my father could see the rolling hills of Ohio where John D. Rockefeller had started Standard Oil. He changed trains in Detroit, the city where Henry Ford’s amazing assembly line was cranking out Model Ts so fast that almost anyone could own one. It was hard to imagine that just a few years ago gasoline had been a waste product of the oil refining process, while kerosene for lamps and paraffin for candles were the primary products. In China that was still the case, but when all 400 million Chinese could afford motor cars—well, the future was almost unimaginable. It was a new century and a new world in which technology fueled by oil would make everyone’s life better, and my father was now to play a part in this business, a business of almost limitless potential…

Keep reading my blog for more information about the upcoming release of the new book.

I can’t wait to share it with you!


Spending Time with The Amway Scientific Advisory Group

Last month I was in Michigan to attend an Amway Scientific Advisory Group meeting. I joined a robust conversation with cross-sections of Amway scientists, brand marketers and, most importantly, distinguished scientists from outside of our company who represent current thought leadership in nutrition research and discovery.

Their ideas and work help guide Amway as we continue transforming into a Health and Wellbeing company. Frankly, it’s rare that you have that much high-level scientific leadership expertise gathered in one space to present their findings.

It was a pleasure to be included.

Meet Scientific Advisory Group Member, Emily Ho, Ph.D.

One of the newest members of the Scientific Advisory Group is Emily Ho, Ph.D. who is the Director of the Linus Pauling Institute and professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University.

Emily Ho, Ph.D., Director of the Linus Pauling Institute.

I was personally intrigued by her presentation at the meeting about micronutrients and optimal health, so I reached out to learn more about her research focus and daily work.

She has studied micronutrients in depth, with a deeper focus on zinc and sulforaphane, which is a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cauliflower. She understands the importance of vitamins and minerals and the role they play helping us take a proactive approach to our health.

Everyone Deserves to be Healthy

I wanted to get Dr. Ho’s perspective on the topic of optimal health, which has long been an area of interest for the Nutrilite brand. I think it’s a misunderstood idea because people are often under the misperception that it’s something the average person struggles to achieve.

“Optimal health is not enhanced health, as we tend to mistakenly believe,” Dr. Ho explains, “It means being the best that you can be, for where you are in life.” It’s striving to live a high quality life both physically and mentally. Yes, you might consider it to be something you achieve, but instead, for her, it’s something you deserve.

That’s an important differentiation, and a new way to think about good health — everyone deserves to be healthy. But I’m certain we all could use a little help along the way.

An assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables formed into the shape of a heart. Your heart works nonstop pumping about 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of blood through your body daily. In order to do its job optimally, your heart needs proper nourishment.
An assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables formed into the shape of a heart.

As Dr. Ho knows, to get the health we deserve our bodily systems need to be working well, which is why good nutrition is so important. We also need the ability to make the right nutritional choices – which can be a daunting task.

The best way to get the micronutrients we need is from our food, but we need to know what to eat and how much. Because if we’re not eating enough whole foods and fruits and vegetables throughout the day, we’re going to have nutritional gaps in our diets.

And as Dr. Ho pointed out to me – and something we understand at Nutrilite – even the healthiest eaters can have shortfalls in the nutrients they need, even if they think they are eating well.

The Micronutrient Information Center

Ideally, our journey to the optimal health we deserve shouldn’t be complicated. But the reality is different.

It’s one of the key reasons why the Linus Pauling Institute created the Micronutrient Information Center, a website database that provides focused and searchable nutrition advice. It’s one of the most visited sites at Oregon State University with more than 1.5 million users from almost every country on the planet.[i]

The Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center is a source for scientifically accurate information regarding the roles of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals (plant chemicals that may affect health), and other dietary factors.

As Dr. Ho points out, it’s challenging for the average person to weave through all the noise in nutrition recommendations. There are so many “health” voices competing for our attention that it only adds to the complexity that can come with understanding nutrition.

That said, you can control your nutrition choices, being able to do so makes a difference. The Micronutrient Information Center provides an evidenced based public resource that will help you find the right nutritional information for your needs.

Why is this important? It’s because our bodies are under constant attack. We not only have to deal with stresses from our environment and lifestyle, but also issues that can come from our genetics, our gut microbiome, and our age – just to name a few.

According to Dr. Ho, micronutrients help increase our ability to combat oxidative stress and other metabolic imperfections. Dr. Ho emphasizes, “But, if you are running low in one of these micronutrients, it’s not always obvious. You can run the risk of your bodily systems declining, long before a test can recognize it. This is particularly concerning as we get older because not only does our resilience to stress decrease, but our need for quality micronutrients increases.”

That’s why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important. For me, exercising, eating well, getting enough rest, and having a community that supports my wellbeing has helped me increase my health span and allowed me to live a vigorous, meaningful life.

It’s a reminder that good health is something everyone deserves!


[i] Neither Amway or this article is endorsed by, directly affiliated with, maintained, authorized, or sponsored by the Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University.