Meet Danielle Masterson, Radicle Science’s latest addition to its Trailblazer Tuesday line-up. Armed with a pen mightier than a sword (or a giant spoonful of spirulina), she’s not just chasing stories; she’s chasing the elusive truth in the world of dietary supplements. In a land where promises of health, youth, and strength can come in the form of a gummy bear, Masterson adeptly assumes the investigative journalist role, uncovering the mysteries veiled within the world of wellness.

With Masterson and her pursuit of truth, justice, and equity, it’s investigative journalism with a sprinkle of humor, a dash of skepticism, and a whole lot of determination to keep the supplement industry on its toes.

About Danielle Masterson

Danielle joined the NutraIngredients-USA team in 2019 after making the leap from broadcast news. Today she delivers the latest news on everything from regulations in dietary supplements to research in gut health to innovations in personalized nutrition. In addition to print, you can catch Danielle on the NutraCast, an award-winning podcast that takes a deep dive into nutraceuticals. Following the success of the NutraCast, Danielle debuted “NutraWomen Wednesday” in 2021, a weekly show that highlights the women behind the wellness. Prior to joining NutraIngredients-USA, she worked as a news anchor covering crime, politics, and business, as well as national and world events. Danielle received her journalism degree from Michigan State University.

What’s the most unconventional approach or strategy you’ve seen work wonders in the dietary supplement industry?

One of my favorite stories to tell–and one that we will continue to tell as the story isn’t over–is the NOW Foods’ testing program. With multiple analytical laboratory capabilities in-house, the company conducts thousands of tests every month to make sure the quality of its products are top notch. But they take it a step further. Since 2017, NOW has been testing other brands to shine a light on quality problems with supplements sold on Amazon and 

Having toured the facility and interviewed most of the company’s C-suite, I think I have an even deeper appreciation for the investigations that NOW conducts. 

NOW’s unconventional move was bold and certainly came with risks, but for the sake of consumer safety and the overall good of the industry, NOW took a chance to hold these sub-par brands accountable. I’m a sucker for accountability and this testing program really spoke to the investigative journalist in me.  

Describe a project or initiative you’re currently working on that you’re particularly passionate about. What makes it stand out?

At the end of 2020, my Editor-in-Chief Stephen pitched me the idea of a female-focused program for NutraIngredients-USA. 

On International Women’s Day 2021, we debuted NutraWomen Wednesday, a show that celebrates the women behind the wellness. It’s been going three years strong and it’s hard to imagine my role at NutraIngre full potential. This project is especially close to my heart because it not only addresses immediate needs but also strives to create lasting impact and inspire positive change in the community.dients-USA without it. 

What really stands out about this show is hands-down the guests. Being able to share their stories is such an honor, and I’m always grateful that they trust me to help me tell it. What I love about it is I never really know where the conversation will go. When asked to share advice for other women, one of my very first guests replied, “Never fake an orgasm.” Welp. 

There’s been a lot of laughter and even some tears as we navigated tricky topics like raising capital as a female entrepreneur, the importance of having a ‘personal board of directors’ and pumping at the airport. Each week we get to hear from a new NutraWoman and gain a fresh perspective on life as a woman in the health and wellness industry.

Radicle Raw Moment

Sometimes my guests ask what the goal is. My response is always, “To share your story and to hopefully inspire someone.” I don’t know how much the show has inspired others, but I can say with every episode I walk away feeling motivated, challenged and inspired. 

In your opinion, what emerging technology or trend will have the most significant impact on our industry in the next three to five years?

Like many, AI is top of mind for me both in my industry (news) as well as the dietary supplement industry that I cover. Even though we’ve all been interacting with it for years (think Google Maps, Netflix, autocorrect, etc) the implications have become more real in recent years. 

For me, in the world of news, I think generative AI poses a threat if not developed responsibly or with a proper legal framework. This is especially true for copyright infringement, worker displacement and the spread of misinformation. The future regulation of AI is certainly a topic I’m tuned into. On the other hand, there’s been a lot of fascinating discussion on digital twins with respect to machine learning.While I wouldn’t trade my real-life in-person interactions for anything, it would be nice to have some type of assistant to help me tackle smaller, tedious tasks or hype me up before a big event. 

AI has the power to do so much good–if done correctly. What I mean by that is AI is only as good as the data it’s fed. With respect to health applications, my biggest concern is lack of diversity in datasets which we know leads to algorithmic biases that don’t benefit everyone–especially women and minorities. So I truly hope the people building AI systems come into it with a critical lens. 

I am particularly enthusiastic about AI’s role in health and wellness, notably within the dietary supplement industry. Companies like Brightseed, LifeNome, Nuritas, Wild.AI, and Radicle Science exemplify AI’s transformative impact in nutraceuticals. Their success stories, which we continue to cover, underscore AI’s potential to revolutionize the sector.

If executed correctly, AI holds the potential to positively reshape the world. While it can’t undo past research exclusions, there’s hope that AI can address existing disparities.

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