When I first discovered today’s BEAUTYCALYPSE Brand to Watch, I was desperately looking for efficient and natural Vitamin B supplements. With Ogænics, I found so much more.
A 100% and certified plant-based and organic supplement brand seems like a perfect fit for our April theme – Transformation (dare to bloom like never before).
Made in Germany:
If you’ve been around for a little while, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of popping pills ad lib: I’m a “not broken? no fixing!” kind of gal.
But if deficiencies are medically diagnosed, and you’re looking for a supplement that is as ethical and tox-free as your skincare and food, there is no other brand out there in the moment that I’d recommend. Certified organic and vegan, the Ogænics range spans six great products in April 2017, with one more launching in May (more on that in due time):
B HAPPY – B vitamins complex, one of my top favourites and also the first product of the brand
BEAUTY FUEL – a powerful blend based on vegan hyaluronic acid
BODY GUARD – vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system
HELLO SUNSHINE – vitamins D, K2 and calcium, another fave of mine
INNER BEAUTY – a collagen-boosting blend
MRS. ONE A DAY – a powerful multi-vitamin blend
Now that you’re done gasping at the super range 😉 that, by the way, starts at 19.90€ for a month’s worth of capsules, let’s meet the founders.
BC Brand to Watch:
I’ve needed a serious boost during my 30 Day Birthday Challenge in 2016, in terms of B vitamins. And, having found Ogaenics, I have shared an occasional outburst of love on my Instagram account since, although it took me a little while to really investigate and test the supplements as well as to learn about their impact (from my doctor!). Only once I was absolutely certain that the range is not only vegan, organic and natural but also very effective, did I reach out to the lovely founders.
Both Suse Leifer and Claudia (Claudi) Seehusen have a dramatic personal health story that has lead to them founding of Novel Nutriology GmbH, the company behind the Ogænics brand. To cut it short, the need to take supplements on a daily basis has lead the two nutritionists to the realisation: there is no supplement that meets our requirements for food. Let’s fix it!
Good for us!
Q&As with Ogænics Founders
Q: The market for supplements is huge. Can we talk about What Exactly you were missing?
Suse: We were simply bothered by the fact that 90% of the market consisted of synthetic vitamins, those that are JUST NOT identical to the natural ones. The molecules often lack important parts that the body needs to metabolise the vitamins. The body then needs to round out the lacking molecules by pulling them from the reservoirs in its tissues and bones, depleting vitamins in the body. This is why people may feel great for a short time when taking synthetic vitamins, but feel worse in the long run.
We also found it quite outrageous that the natural alternatives contained shady additives like for example Magnesium Stearate which is suspected to interfere with the immune system. Such powder additives are needed in mass production for the machines to function correctly, enabling a faster and cheaper workflow – benefitting the manufacturer’s profits, not the customer’s health. Many products contain unnecessary fillers only to make the capsules look fuller, while in fact the actives make for micrograms of the formula. We also disliked the low-dose nutrients in many natural supplements that make you take 3 to 4 capsules per day to even have any impact. Since we both are the kind of people that will forget about them at noon the latest, it really made no sense to us. What’s more, most products aren’t packaged in a pretty way or come in plastic jars that we totally refuse in terms of sustainability.
Q: By now, I’ve taken almost all products from the Ogænics range, and my absolute fave is the Vitamin B blend. Can you share with us why you don’t offer Vitamin B12, a very, shall we say, “trendy” vitamin?
Suse: We wish we could have a plant-based Vitamin B12 that’s not genetically modified, but the ingredients market doesn’t offer any yet. And since we never use any synthetic or animal-based ingredients for Ogænics, we can’t offer our customers any solution meeting our quality requirements yet. We’re screening the raw material market constantly. As soon as a smart individual opens up a new plant-based source that meets our requirements, we’re game.
Q: Another top favourite of mine is the Vitamin D-Vitamin K-Calcium blend. I can really tell the difference when I take it. And it’s not just story time, it’s a bridge to what is absolutely excellent about Ogænics – your supplements’ formulas are outstanding in terms of being body-usable. And this brings me to a whole set of questions: Do you work with researchers/ scientists? Where do you source some of the more obscure, new “superfoods”? What’s the process of developing a formulation like?
Claudi: Well, first of all, thank you for the lovely compliment! We consider ourselves lucky to receive great feedback from our customers. We basically rate every single product – each 100% natural – by its effectiveness. Suse and me, we’re both nutritionists, so many cool ideas come directly from this place – also driven by our own needs and wants. Our products must be unique, distinctive, and effective all the same. Our outstanding biochemist is supporting us, who’s seeing our formulations and recipes from A to Z.
The development of each product is a different process. Firstly, there are of course market-driven ideas – multivitamins, B vitamins that we wanted to redesign Ogænics style, thus creating the first ever 100% organic products.
Other products are developed by researching a health topic or a beauty topic, looking at science-backed efficacy of ingredients. We happen to read hundreds of studies. This process creates an ingredient “shortlist”. Here’s where we start sourcing a plant-based raw material. This is quite tedious and long-winded; we need to talk to an insane amount of potential suppliers all over the world, playing truffle piggy trying to score that one ingredient. Quite often this is the stage where we have to say goodbye to an idea we’ve fallen in love with already, because we can’t find any ingredient or because it won’t be stable enough for a formulation. Sadly, this eliminates about 99% of all possible ingredients. Another requirement of ours is that it must be feasible to create one reasonably sized capsule to keep up with our “one capsule a day” concept. Yet another requirement is that the final product works with any other Ogænics product. This is how a product is made, by checking off all those boxes.
Another scenario is that we discover a brand new, great plant-based ingredient during an ingredient trade fair and burn to make it into a supplement. This makes us look at what other ingredients could potentially make this one even better and create a supplement “around” this new ingredient. Our inspiration often comes from Japan or Korea, the USA are of course at the top.
What’s vital for us, is to create a truly unique product that’s 100% natural, vegan, and intelligently formulated to bring joy to us and to our customers.
Q: Why the decision to certify Ogænics vegan and organic?
Suse: This was clear to us pretty soon as we came together to create the best supplements for women. I believe that there is no other product category in which the consumer is as uncritical and as easily mislead as the supplements. There is just so much money-making. It’s common knowledge that we, humans, metabolise plant-based ingredients better than the animal-based or synthetic ones. And we both were supplement “heavy users”, vexed about the poorly made, synthetic or fake natural products on the market. But I also think that the many grossly overpriced superfood powders are a colossal cheek, the more so with often no science at all to back the health claims. If you count the daily cost of all those products the market offers you, you’re often close to fainting! The consumers are taken for fools, the cheapest raw materials packaged into overpriced products. A popular trick is also to make you believe that the product is affordable by offering a huge size – until you realise, at home, that you’ll need 4 capsules a day, making the seemingly affordable product last for only 15 days. I think it’s understandable that consumer advocates are on to supplements!
Basically what we were missing, was a plant-based, honest, fresh supplement with an excellent effect and a agreeable packaging, with a daily dose price matching up to the best synthetic pharmacy products, like for example Pure Encapsulations. We have decided to close this gap and to do it radically, with a no-compromise attitude, to just own it.
Q: Is your personal lifestyle organic and vegan too?
Claudi: When it comes to food, I’d say we’re 100% organic. Our food is almost completely organic; we’re completely dairy-free. Occasionally we do enjoy fish or meat from sustainable farming. We’re only part-time vegan 😉
In terms of fashion we do compromise on style. However, sustainability is near and dear to us.
Q: Some people like to believe that supplements are a cure-all kind of thing – I know from personal experience that in particular in the USA, in France, in Russia the belief is strong that you could counteract a fast food and party lifestyle by popping vitamin pills; or that you could work on any given beauty or health topic by taking supplements – nice hair, strong nails, smooth tan, good vision, and on, and on. The differences in the metabolisation of natural and synthetic vitamins also creates different points of view. And other people claim that a balanced diet would make taking supplements obsolete – unless you’re pregnant, sick, stressed, … There are voices suggesting that the modern food industry has damaged the soils to the level where foods contain much less micronutrients than they used a few decades ago. Where are you, in this landscape of facts, beliefs and claims?
Claudi: Well, it’s a definite fact that our foods don’t contain many vitamins and minerals anymore, it’s been proven scientifically, even for organic fruits and vegetables that generally have a better nutrient balance than conventional produce. When it comes to Vitamin D, folate and iron – we’re officially a country of deficiency. Besides, we’re facing absolutely new and different pollutants nowadays and are exposed to a multitude of stresses and strains and vitamin robbers. Furthermore, it’s just been proven that only a quarter of all women actually eat the suggested “five a day”!
Suse: But another subject matter that’s particularly close to our heart, and we both find absolutely fascinating, and is not as popular with supplement critics yet – a thrilling connection between aging processes and micronutrients. A scientifically proven fact: certain micronutrients can impact the length of our telomeres, the “caps” protecting the ends of our chromosomes. The telomere length is responsible for our actual, biological age as opposed to our chronological age. I wrote about it on our blog a little while ago. Cell division makes telomeres shorter and shorter; a certain lengths marks the death of a cell and the start of the aging process. Such factors as stress, smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, a poor diet additionally shorten the telomeres. But it’s been also proven that certain lifestyles, sport, micronutrients can balance this process and even lengthen the telomeres again. An actual rejuvenation is taking place! Molecular biologist Elisabeth Blackburn who shared a Nobel Prize for her research on telomeres in 2009 has also co-written a book about this fascinating topic (NF: “The Telomere Effect“, Grand Central Publishing. January 3, 2017) – I highly recommend.
Q: Since I’m very interested in the topic of growth for sustainable companies, allow me this question: what does your growth goal look like? How big can Ogænics get without compromising on the quality?
Suse: Luckily, our company is up in a way that a certain growth is realistic without any loss of quality whatsoever. Our contract production in Germany can produce small and large batches. But we don’t see ourselves in the mass market anyway, we want to stay an exclusive niche brand. That’s why we see growth outside of Germany for the next years, with many markets being way more advanced than Germany today, when it comes to “beauty from within” and organic supplements. The Germans only start to realise that it’s more effective to go from the inside out. So we’re starting in Hongkong this year, where we’ve got an exclusive contract with a leading green beauty retailer. We’re very proud to see Ogænics in eight Beyorg Beauty shops starting June 2017.
Q: I’ve got to mention the amazing Ogænics blog (NF: sorry guys, German language only in the moment!) – seriously, it’s the best branded content I’ve seen for a long while in the sustainable industry. Would you like to share some of your process as writers and what are the major benefits?
Suse: Oh thank you, I’m blushing 😉 In the moment we’re actually writing it all ourselves. Mostly it happens at night, during weekends, at any spare minute. I have mentioned earlier that we read many scientific studies for our research and product development anyway. That’s of course a huge source of inspiration for new blog ideas. To me, it’s a privilege to be able to dig deeper and to research topics for our blog that I myself want to know more about. We also like to write about what we’re passionate about. Generally a post needs about 2 weeks of work, once we have all the material we need.
Q: Do you have any favourite Ogænics products?
A: That’s tough, for we love them all so much. Every single one covers a different topic or is formulated with another need in mind, and we have no either-or situations. Personally, we’re taking all six products, and soon all seven – we’re launching a great brand new one in May 2017 that we can’t wait to get our hands on already: a daily probiotic for gut health, because this is the root for health and beauty!
Q: And finally – what do you enjoy the most about being green entrepreneurs?
A: Developing great products independently, autonomously that we know are absolutely consistent. We’re also enjoying all the great feedback coming from our customers and retailers that we’re showered with in the moment, and that’s making us very happy. What’s also amazing is that we get to choose our partners and don’t need to compromise. We only work with nice people who share our enthusiasm for Ogænics. That’s such a privilege.
Thank you, Suse and Claudi!