Essential Ingredients

Meet Jim Rex from The GHT Companies, our Vitamin D3 Producer

5 min read

Essential Takeaways

  • The GHT Companies use lichen, a naturally occurring plant in the wild that covers over 10% of the globe.

Tell us a little about The GHT Companies. How does Vitashine fit into the picture?

Based on an approximate 20 years of working with innovative products, our team has developed a specialized level of expertise in regard to working with unique entries into the global markets. We began as one company in 1997 and have now grown to a group of five companies, with a unique vision as to our place in the strategic nutritional channels. Our primary focus is very simple, we work with founding scientists from around the world and assist them in bringing their discoveries to the commercial markets. Following a very extensive and comprehensive vetting process, we implement a three-step market share acquisition plan for those discoveries that we accept and for which we are granted exclusive rights to a defined geographic region. We only accept a project if we are granted exclusive rights to the same. Initially and if working with a raw ingredient discovery, our science team develops unique formulations that we introduce into our three branded product line companies. This allows for initial trademark exposure for the founding scientists. We then use that platform and promote private label product line opportunities through our manufacturing business unit, Health Specialties Manufacturing. Quite often, interested customers like to review and test our branded products prior to making a decision on their own private label line. Finally, we then promote the raw ingredient as a stand-alone output to the markets, which usually requires the use of a trademark on the label for our customers. If the founding scientist’s discovery is a finished product, then a couple of the above steps are bypassed, as might be imagined. Our fundamental business components in our assessment process are our science team and Health Specialties Manufacturing, with the latter being cGMP Certified, Sports Certified and Licensed by Health Canada. We are known in the global markets for high quality, integrity and expedient customer support response times.

We love the story behind Vitashine. When was the idea first hatched and what was the vision?

The primary founding scientist, Mark Broughton, and I had a previous relationship working together in the algae-based omega-3 market areas. Mark contacted me a couple of times to take a look at a new discovery he had made, a vegan vitamin D3. We discussed it extensively and then our science team took several months to vet the output, including testing, bench evaluations, and scrutinizing the supporting documentation/history. We felt that this could be a very big market breakthrough, but there were going to be challenges. One of those challenges is that the ingredient costs some 3000% more than standard vitamin D3, which is sourced from sheep’s wool grease. However, the offsetting factor was the ability to have a “clean” source of vitamin D3, and we found that when the cost of the per daily dose was compared to standard D3, the differential was small, but the potential product and marketing benefits are measurably larger. We also took on the challenge to gain approval from the non-GMO Project for both the oil and powder vegan vitamin D3 raw ingredients, which took an extensive amount of time and effort, but we are now listed on their website. Our customers, and most importantly, the consumers are really being drawn in this direction of a vegan vitamin D3. After a few years of preparing and introducing this discovery into the markets, it is really just beginning to gain traction. We are very excited about this progress.

Prior to Vitashine, can you lay out the market for us? And how does D2 fit into all of this?

As stated before, the standard for nutritional supplement vitamin D3 was lanolin sourced. There is also an alternative source of vitamin D, which is vitamin D2, sourced from mushrooms. As you may know, it has been stated via many sources that D3 is more bioavailable, or absorbed by the body, than D2. This is an important point. Second, mushrooms may need to be irradiated, which may pose a discomfort to the consumer. Both of these set the stage for a high acceptance level to our vegan vitamin D3, which is another reason we were happy to work with the founding scientist. There has been a noted recognition of vitamin D deficiency in the US alone, without consideration of the balance of the world population. The natural source of D3 is exposure to the sun, but in many parts of the world that is not feasible and in modernized regions sunblock and decreased exposure to the sun is highly advocated for protection. Thus and again, our vegan vitamin D3 would seem to be the ideal answer.

Back to the lichen. How clean and sustainable is it?

Lichen is a naturally occurring plant in the wild, and covers over 10% of the globe. It has been in the food chain for quite some time, and our sourcing is clean and regenerates quite quickly, so lack of sustainability is not an issue. Being grown in the wild and due to the fact that our partners do not use any pesticides, allows for a pesticide-free environment and output, which is quite often a concern for the consumer.

And how is it manufactured?

The final processing of the oil occurs in the UK. It then is transported to the US, where we use the oil, or it is converted to the D3 powder form. It is worth noting that our vegan vitamin D3 is the only recognized/approved vitamin D3 by the UK vegan society, which is a very reputable resource for the global nutritional community.

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