Insider Stories with Tao - Carlson Laboratories

Tao Newsletter

Welcome to our new series: Insider Stories with Tao

With so many supplement options available, it can sometimes be hard to decide what is best for you. How do you decide which product is best when there are so many products on the market? In our "Insider Stories with Tao" section here, each article focuses on a single brand that has favorably impressed Tao of Herbs employees. This way we hope you may get to new, effective products that can open the door to improved health and happiness for you.

There is so much more to the supplements than the label and the contents of the bottle. We have sorted through the many brands out there and have picked our favorites to share with you. There are stories behind each brand that have made them industry leaders and we are very excited to share them with you.

Maggie, our manager here at Tao of Herbs, is eager to open this series by gave the vote to her favorite choices from Carlson Laboratories. Carlson Labs is a global leader in nutritional supplement manufacturing. Since 1965 the company has produced pure, high-quality, award-winning fish oils, natural vitamin E oil, vitamin D oil and other supplements. The reason Maggie especially likes Carlson is their best quality deep sea fish oils.

"I know there are so many fish oil products out there. Carlson's fish oil is the one I took when I was pregnant. They are the only brand I sent to my grandfather who is 104 years old. He has been taking the fish oil for more than 12 years. And there are good reasons I choose Carlson's fish oil.
First, Freshness! They use only the deep sea fresh caught cold water fish as their raw material. Most of the other fish oils use the fish caught in Peru, then grinded down into paste and ship to the refinery either in Norway or other countries. Second, they have their own processing facility in Norway producing unmatched quality in their products. It tastes lemony fresh, no fishy smell. Third, the people from Carlson. Throughout the years, all of the staff members from Carlson that we have worked with are warm, professional and inclusive which means the company is well run and trust worthy." Maggie said.

When their operation began more than 50 years ago, the staff at Carlson Laboratories originally sold only one vitamin E product, which was manufactured in small quantities at founder Susan Carlson's small Chicago apartment living quarters. Production quickly expanded, though, to offer what has by now become the most complete line of all-natural vitamin E products in the world. Today Carlson produces more than 200 innovative, science-based, professional-strength supplements designed to meet the needs of your entire family.

How Did It All Begin with Carlson Labs?

The Carlson family's interest in supplements dates back to their first-hand experience with the benefits of vitamin E. As this story began in the mid-1960s, founder Susan Carlson's father was suffering from progressively debilitating chest pain that limited his activities and eventually forced him to stop working altogether.

Now hear the next part of the story directly from Susan Carlson, R.Ph., Licensed Nutrition Counselor - founder of Carlson Laboratories:

Over 50 years ago, the Carlson family was introduced to vitamin E through Dr. Evan Shute of the Shute Institute in Canada. The results we observed when using vitamin E were exceptional, yet we noticed even at that early stage there were significant differences obtained when using natural vitamin E as compared to synthetic vitamin E. We also experienced differences between the forms and brands of vitamin E.

When Carlson Laboratories became a reality, they were determined to offer only the highest quality vitamin E, which would consistently provide good results. They were convinced then, as now, that natural vitamin E is superior to synthetic, so ALL Carlson vitamin E supplements, since their beginning, have been only 100% natural-source vitamin E.

Less than three weeks after beginning supplemental vitamin E intake, Susan's father started to look and feel better. Soon he was even able to return to work. At that point Susan, still working as the pharmacist in a busy suburban drugstore, began intensely researching vitamin E. Before long she was inspired to create her own high-quality, natural-source vitamin E supplement. Carlson Laboratories, founded in 1965, originally marketed only a single product, Key-E 200 IU. Two years later Susan introduced her second product, E-Gems 200 IU. Then she continued to add more items as customer demand increased over time.

Susan originally operated the company entirely from her third-floor, walk-up apartment in Chicago while she continued working professionally as a part-time drugstore pharmacist. By 1968, though, the demand for her products had grown to the point that Susan hired two employees, opened a small neighborhood store and then added a sales representative to her staff. Carlson products soon began popping up on the shelves of popular health food stores all across Chicago. As the brand grew, Susan expanded Carlson operations and then moved into a bigger space next door. By 1970 Carlson's burgeoning business had grown to require further expansion into even larger office quarters in a building on the north side of Chicago. By this time, though, Susan had left her pharmacy employment to focus on Carlson Labs full time. Her husband John, who had previously worked as chief water engineer for the City of Chicago, then assumed the role of president at Carlson.

Within six years the flourishing operation outgrew Susan's Chicago office quarters, and Carlson Labs moved again -- this time to College Drive in Arlington Heights, where they built the new Carlson headquarters building. Two years after that, to expand operations and accommodate further business growth, Carlson Laboratories moved half a mile further to another even larger new facility and thus nearly doubled the operating capability.

... and Where Is the Business Headed Now?

Today the very same care and commitment to quality that Susan put into her first product goes into every supplement coming off the Carlson production line. As Susan's husband John used to say, "If you're going to put your name on the bottle, it had better be excellent." Female owned and operated since 1965, J. R. Carlson Laboratories, Inc. is led today by second-generation Carlsons. At the helm now are the two daughters of Susan and John. President Carilyn (Carlson) Anderson and Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Relations Kirsten (Carlson) Cecchin ensure that Carlson Labs will continue to produce the high-quality products their customers have come to expect.

Since 1982 Carlson has sourced the highest quality omega-3 oils from fishermen in Scandinavia. Fish oils are a major staple of the Norwegian diet and have been part of the local culture there for many generations. As a result Norwegian scientists have perfected purification and manufacturing techniques to produce the highest-quality omega-3 fish oils anywhere in the world. To be certain of top quality, all Carlson fish oils are thoroughly tested by an FDA-registered laboratory for freshness, potency and purity. As Carlson's website states:"... all products are regularly tested using AOAC international protocols for potency and purity by an independent FDA Registered laboratory." The AOAC (Association of Analytical Communities) is a third-party, nongovernmental organization made up of chemists, food scientists and microbiologists, all of whom follow specific standards for quality control testing in laboratories.

What Are the New Developments with Carlson's Operation in Norway?

Recently Carlson's management team announced the opening of Carlson Healthy Oils, a new bottling facility located in Norway. "At Carlson we understand the importance of freshness when it comes to omega-3s" says Carlson President Carilyn (Carlson) Anderson, "... that is one of the reasons we are always bottled our liquid fish oils in Norway. Our new facility allows us additional control over the quality of our omega-3 oils and gives us even more opportunity to create new, innovative and healthy products for our customers. We are proud to provide consumers with the highest quality, professional-strength omega-3s in award-winning liquid and softgel forms."

Carlson Healthy Oils is a state-of-the-art facility certified and regulated by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. It is located near Alesund, Norway, one of the busiest fishing harbors along the Atlantic coast. This proximity assures that the finest, freshest fish are delivered to Carlson's Norway location for refining, distilling and bottling on the very same day that they are caught. The bottled oils are then transported to Carlson's world headquarters in Arlington Heights, Illinois. From there they are tested by an independent, FDA-registered laboratory for freshness, purity and potency. Only then are the products shipped to retail locations for sale across the globe.

Carlson has always carefully managed its omega-3 fish oils from sea to store. Their experts traditionally source sustainable, high-quality, deep-dwelling, cold-water fish. Then they implement state-of-the-art methods to process the fish gently using a molecular distillation process. The oils are nitrogen- or argon-flushed throughout the entire bottling process to minimize oxidation. During production Carlson also includes a small amount of antioxidants and removes excess air to assure that the last spoonful or the final softgel will taste as good as the first. Carlson's high standards result in fish oil products that are unmatched in quality, freshness and flavor.

What is Carlson College?

Since 1965 Carlson Labs has led the way in training and education activities. John and Susan always stayed current with the latest research advancements and shared their findings with others in the nutritional supplement industry. John even published a regular newsletter to help educate consumers and natural food store employees about the most up-to-date research findings. Today his daughters, Carilyn and Kirsten, still release this publication semi-annually. Carlson also sponsors and hosts continuing education lectures, seminars and training sessions throughout the year. Now the experts at Carlson Labs have made training even more accessible. At Carlson there has always been the belief that learning should be fun. To that end Carlson College was created to offer an online opportunity for retailers of Carlson merchandise and their employees to learn more about natural products in general and about Carlson supplements more specifically. For now, enrollment is limited to retail merchants and their employees. Carlson is working, though, to develop future online classes to reach a wider audience including healthcare professionals, dietitians and nutritionists, retail customers and more. Look forward to expansion of the Carlson College curriculum soon.

Impact of Ethics and Values on Carlson Labs Operation

Ethics and social responsibility are integral to the Carlson organization. As part of the company's core values, the Carlsons want to assure that future generations can enjoy a healthy life and a healthy environment too. For that reason Carlson Labs manufactures supplements in ways that minimize the environmental impact. All Carlson packaging materials are recyclable. Energy-efficient equipment is prevalent throughout their facilities worldwide.

In addition Carlson Labs makes it a point to give back to the community. Carlson proudly supports charities and global groups that promote the health and well-being of people and animals worldwide. For example all Carlson marine oil and fish suppliers hold Friend of the Sea certifications issued by the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, which is known for promulgating strict guidelines and procedures for marine habitat conservation.

To put their principles into practice, Carlson assures that all their nutritional supplements are:
* gluten-free
* wheat-free
* artificial dye-free
* artificial sweetener-free
* preservative-free
* MSG-free
* milk-free
* casein-free
* yeast-free

All Carlson body care products are:
* free of parabens, phthalates, PABA, artificial colors/dyes/scents
* manufactured in the United States
* never tested on animals

Recent Honors and Awards
In industry-wide competitions Carlson Labs has consistently been awarded top honors including recent prizes in the following prestigious events :

1. 2018 by Taste For Life
* Back-to-School Essentials Award (for Kid's Super Daily D3 + K2 )
* Women's Essentials Award (for Women's Iron Restore)

2. 2017 by
* #1 Health Food Store Supplement Brand
* #1 Fish Oil Brand

3. 2017 by National Nutrition Canada: Gold Award for Excellence in Natural Health (for The Very Finest Fish Oil)

4. 2017 by Remedies Magazine: Digestion Supplements Award (for Natural Digestive Enzymes)

5. 2017 by Taste for Life
* Women's Essentials Award (for E-Gem Oil Drops)
* Back-to-School Essentials Award (for Kid's Super Daily D3 )

6. 2016 by Better Nutrition: Best of Supplements

7. 2014 by Clean Eating: Clean Choice Winner

Click the link below and order Carlson Laboratories' products here:

  Carlson's Fish Oil Orange Flavor  
  Carlson's Fish Oil Orange Flavor by Carlson, Chewable, 120 + 30 soft gels  
  E-Gems Elite 400  IU  
  E-Gems Elite 400 IU by Carlson, Natural Vitamin E, 60 softgels