Holistic and natural products are viewed by some as marketing puffery, cliche, and lacking in substance and purpose. To date, efforts to substantiate dietary supplement efficacy claims have been limited at best. But Dr. Susan Hewlings and Radicle Science are poised to change the status quo using data and science. Recently, Dr. Susan Hewlings, Vice-President of Research Affairs at Radicle Science had an opportunity to catch up with Nutraprenuer to talk about fusing science and wellness. Here are some tips:


Tip 1: Embrace the important role that industry plays in academia

In academia, it’s about progressing knowledge, but the process of academic research can fall short when it comes to the ability to apply that knowledge to practice. “With decreases in federal funding of research, now more than ever, academia needs the support of industry to continue to advance science and knowledge,” said Dr. Hewlings. “In the past there were concerns over ethics, potential bias, or conflicts of interests. Disclosure and transparency helps keep everyone honest and there are high-integrity complex revolutionary studies being conducted by research institutions that were funded by industry.” Industry should be more involved to help support research institutions and the public good when it comes to advancing science.

Tip 2: Communication (and translations) are key.

During Dr. Hewling’s time in academia and industry, she learned the value of communication and the role of translation. “The details behind dietary supplement efficacy is a complex topic around mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics,” said Dr. Hewlings. “The way you relay information to a fellow researcher, practitioner, industry representative, or layman is  different. its essential to meet the executive, the consumer or the student where they are.” When it comes to business marketing on social media, website, and label, consider the broad spectrum of scientific understanding and communicate accordingly.

Tip 3: Use clinical trials to cut through the placebo effect.

Clinical trials have long been timely and expensive causing many companies to avoid them. Radicle Science is now offering affordable rapid trials enabling non-pharmaceuticals to clinically evaluate the efficacy of their products in randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials. The Radicle Science AI-driven crowdsourced, virtual, direct-to-consumer (D2C) clinical trial approach delivers objective health outcome data across diverse conditions and populations – all at unprecedented affordability, speed, and scale. “There are amazing clinical studies that utilize information like biomarkers, cellular reactions, and mechanisms of action. They are intriguing and great for substantiation but can leave out the main reason for taking the product in the first place. The question we need to ask is “do people feel actually better after taking it?” Radicle Science is unique in that it utilizes validated surveys to see if people ACTUALLY feel better. It addresses the gaps in substantiation and the trials are templated which allows them to be less expensive. As Radicle Science conducts more studies, we are able to use AI and data analytics to learn from what we are collectively seeing from our participants.As a brand looking to verify that the effects of their product is not due to  the placebo effect, consider the use of clinical trials. Clinical trials are a great way to differentiate at retail and help inform research and development. 

When it comes to fusing science and wellness, leverage data but be mindful of your audience. Clinical trials can be a great, and now also an affordable way, to put the scientific support back into dietary supplements. 


If you missed the Nutrapreneur interview with Dr. Susan Hewlings, you can watch it now online.

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