Terranova Synergistic Nutrition was founded in 2008 by Stephen Terrass MRNT, former Technical Director of Solgar Vitamins UK. Terranova is one of only a few broad-spectrum supplement companies in the industry that does not use fillers, binders and other manufacturing additives, and one of even fewer companies that is 100% suitable for vegans. Terranova’s formulation concept is based on providing intensely synergistic nutritional and botanical formulations which are profoundly effective, precisely balanced and gentle on the system. Currently the range comprises more than 50 nutritional and botanical supplement products.
Stephen, who formulates all Terranova Nutrition products, has spent 34 years educating natural product retailers, pharmacists, natural medicine practitioners, conventional physicians, the media and the general public in the scientific/technical aspects of nutritional and herbal therapy and nutraceutical technology.
The following interview will give you a unique inside understanding of Stephen’s thought processes which led to the development of Terranova Nutrition.
Q What was your mindset at the time you decided to create your own Terranova Nutrition brand?
ST Terranova Nutrition was really born out of my concerns about the misguided ‘reductionist’ pharmaceutical mentality that had permeated the supplement industry since the mid-1980s. These concerns left me, on one hand, feeling disillusioned with the industry I had been in for 30 years, and on the other hand, excited by the challenge of doing something about it.
Q What was the catalyst for this?
ST The year before Terranova Nutrition was launched, I was so fortunate to be invited by the highly respected botanical pioneer and founder of Eclectic Institiute, Ed Alstat, to spend a few days with he, his wife and the rest of the Eclectic team at their organic herb farm and production facilities in Oregon. This trip was life-changing in that I not only learned of the revolutionary manner in which Eclectic grew, nurtured, harvested and processed plants, but also the dramatic advantages of fresh freeze drying of botanicals and superfoods, for which Ed was the industry’s pioneer. Ed knew that I had been immersed in the nutraceutical mentality for three decades, and that I also had been a vocal proponent of the pharmaceuticalisation of botanical and food ingredients. As much as I understood much of why Eclectic’s work was so ground-breaking, Ed correctly sensed that I was still too pharmaceutically minded to understand it fully. He spent those days gently, and with great wisdom, chipping away at my excessively narrow mindset about nature. Very soon after my return to London, something powerful and fundamental shifted in my mindset without any volition on my part. It was as if the wisdom of the way Ed saw nature had somehow become internalised in me, merging with my technical background and scientific study to show me the way to move forward with the development of Terranova Nutrition. This merging of thought processes was certainly the primary catalyst for the concept that I adopted in formulating Terranova Nutrition products. With all this in mind, it’s not surprising that Terranova Nutrition products have featured Eclectic Institute’s fresh freeze dried botanical and wholefood ingredients from the very beginning.
Q How did you manage to balance your realisations about the misguided direction of the industry with the fact that your goal was to develop products that were still going to be part of that industry?
ST There were undeniable limitations to the potential effectiveness and versatility of supplements due to this pharmaceutical mentality, and at the same time, there were a couple of elements about this mentality which were still worth retaining. From the beginning, the approach of Terranova Nutrition has been to take what was salvageable from the nutraceutical industry and RADICALLY evolve it in a direction that was infinitely more holistic and more scientific. It was also about proving that nature works best when it is in it’s unadulterated form – not just using ingredients that are originally from nature, but which have been altered by technology to the point where their biochemical integrity is barely recognisable compared to its original form. So essentially, Terranova Nutrition health became a deeply holistic, yet scientifically-based, marriage between unadulterated botanical/wholefood ingredients and technologically advanced nutraceutical ingredients. It’s also worth mentioning that this direction was also VERY heavily focused on product purity, which is why from the beginning Terranova Nutrition adopted the policy of not allowing the use of fillers, binders or any other manufacturing additives.
Q How did your radical approach reflect itself in Terranova Nutrition as a business?
ST It could be argued that our way of doing business is almost as radically different as our Terranova Nutrition products. We felt from the very beginning that our Terranova Nutrition business ethics and principles had to be consistent with the principles behind our ingredient standards and formulation concept. As one example, this is reflected in our surprisingly affordable Terranova Nutrition prices, which came as quite a shock to some in the industry. Producing nutritional supplements without the use of manufacturing additives – and especially with such a high concentration of unadulterated botanical ingredients – is significantly more expensive than when additives are used. Added to this is the fact that the vast majority of the weight of almost every Terranova Nutrition product is comprised of botanicals, which are usually more expensive than nutraceutical ingredients (such as isolated vitamins and minerals). And to top it all off, such a high percentage of our Terranova Nutrition health ingredient weight comprises freeze dried botanicals and wholefoods from a single organic farm, rather than just getting all of our plant ingredients from the highly competitive herbal brokers who supply much of the industry. The end result is that although our Terranova Nutrition products cost us so much more to make, this is not reflected in their retail prices, as we felt from the beginning that the right decision was to reduce our own profit in order to keep prices more accessible to the public.
Another business decision was to make Terranova Nutrition a ‘safe haven’ for people who choose a vegetarian or vegan diet, whether for health reasons, ethical reasons or due to their religious affiliation. Vegan products are relatively easy to find, but finding a broad-spectrum vitamin company (i.e. 25 or more products) which is 100% vegan is nearly impossible, anywhere in the world. There are currently only a couple that I’m aware of.
The Terranova Nutrition Philosophy
The Terranova Nutrition philosophy embodies complete nourishment, deep healing and profound wellbeing. Through their intensely synergistic formulations, Terranova Nutrition demonstrate a scientific, yet holistic, approach to Terranova Nutrition product development. Through the Terranova Nutrition ingredients, they feature the proven health and wellness benefits of whole and unadulterated nature. And through their avoidance of added fillers, binders or other excipients Terranova Nutrition express their commitment and passion for product purity and integrity.
While much of the nutritional supplement industry gives the impression that laboratory-isolated natural chemicals and pharmaceutically adulterated plants are the future of nutrition, at Terranova Nutrition they see a different future. Terranova Nutrition recognises that properties unique to fresh and unadulterated botanical and superfood ingredients hold the key to unlocking the maximum health potential of the many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that we use in their industry. And through the intense synergy of the Terranova Nutrition formulations, they have seen that the effects of this relationship are truly remarkable. Welcome to the future of supplements.
Terranova Nutrition Synergistic Formulations
In order to get the most out of nutritional supplementation it’s necessary to achieve an intense state of synergy in the body. Synergy occurs when an interaction between compounds produces effects that are greater than the combined individual effects of each one. To provide its optimum effect, each vitamin, mineral or any other nutrient must be efficiently absorbed, distributed, metabolised and utilised, and must participate in a wide array of synergistic interactions with enzymes, co-factors, other nutrients, etc. However, because factors such as genetics, diet, lifestyle, gender, age and stress levels affect the body’s ability to generate a high level of synergy, the effectiveness of a supplement can vary significantly from person to person (and even in the same person from time to time).
“Enhancing the synergistic environment in the body is the key to getting the most out of supplementation.”
Stephen Terrass MRNT, founder of Terranova Nutrition.
So it’s the environment in the body which dictates how beneficial a supplement will be – and this fact has been the driving force in the development of every Terranova Nutrition product. The key ingredients in Terranova Nutrition’s nutritional supplements are not just the nutrients. Each of these products also contains its own unique complex of plant ingredients that is designed to a) enhance absorption, distribution, activity, metabolism, utilisation and function of the nutrient, and b) to help the body to achieve an intense state of synergy.
In order to help maximise both the functions and effect of nutritional supplementation, Terranova Nutrition developed the advanced synergistic innovation – MAGNIFOOD.
Magnifood Enhanced Nutrition
Each Terranova Nutrition nutritional product is enhanced with its own synergistic complex of botanicals and phytonutrient-rich foods, called Magnifood. Magnifood ingredients are combined in a manner which enhances the body’s biochemical environment in order to maximise the potential benefits of the product’s vitamins, minerals and/or other nutrients. Many of the plants used in Magnifood are fresh freeze dried. Research shows that fresh freeze drying has the unique ability to retain a plant’s enzymes, and is shown to be superior to other drying methods in terms of activity, stability, solubility and preservation of a plant’s original fresh chemistry (as it was when the plant was harvested).
THE MAGNIFOOD ADVANTAGE
* Enhancing absorption, bioavailability, utilisation, activity, stability, function and effect of the product’s nutrients.
* Providing synergistic enzymes and co-factors crucial to the utilisation and functions of the product’s nutrients.
* Providing a vast array of phytonutrients that enhance the potential functions and/or applications of the product.
* Providing ingredients which enhance the overall content of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the product.
* Protecting ingredients from oxidative damage, helping to support the stability and activity of the product’s nutrients.
While Magnifood is a scientifically advanced innovation, its origins are deeply rooted in holistic principles. Within each Magnifood complex, the marriage between science and holism produces remarkable effects – effects which are powerfully active, delicately balanced and intensely,profoundly synergistic. But don’t just take our word for it. Feel the synergy for yourself.
Terranova Nutrition - No fillers, binders or other additives. . . guaranteed.
Supplements work ONLY because of the active ingredients in them. So why are almost all supplements on the market laden with in-active ones? Fillers, binders, anti-caking agents, lubricants, disintegrants, coating agents, sweeteners, colouring agents, flavouring agents. . . and this list is by no means complete. Terranova Nutrition is one of only a few broad-range nutritional supplement companies in Europe to completely avoid the use of these in-active manufacturing additives.
So why are such additives (often referred to as excipients) used in the first place? In the production of tablets, certain additives are actually essential – such as binders (to help the ingredients bind properly when the tablet is compressed). This is why all Terranova Nutrition products are in either 2-piece vegetarian capsules, powder or liquid form, instead of tablets. In the case of 2-piece capsules, the use of additives is not necessary. However, presumably because they make supplements easier, faster and more efficient (and, therefore, cheaper) to manufacture, almost all of the encapsulated nutritional supplements on the market contain additives as well.
Due to the physical characteristics of certain unadulterated botanicals Terranova Nutrition use, some Terranova Nutrition products have presented them with supreme manufacturing challenges to overcome because of Terranova Nutrition's refusal to use excipients. For example, the Terranova Living Multinutrient formula takes around four times longer to manufacture than it would if Terranova Nutrition allowed the use of anti-caking agents and other excipients. This is partly because the encapsulation process must be significantly slowed down due to the fact that, without anti-caking agents, the powder does not flow as readily into the capsules.
Ironically, this need to slow down encapsulation, which actually applies to all Terranova Nutrition health products to varying degrees, has one huge advantage. High-speed encapsulation generates heat, and heat can denature enzymes and other sensitive nutritional and botanical compounds. Because Terranova Nutrition ingredients are not exposed to denaturing levels of heat before or during encapsulation, their activity is protected from unnecessary environmental damage.
At Terranova Nutrition, their decision to completely avoid the use of in-active manufacturing additives underlines Terranova Nutrition's deep commitment to putting product purity above Terranova Nutrition's own cost savings and manufacturing convenience.
Terranova Nutrition is 100% Vegan
At Terranova Nutrition, they had a strong desire to create a ‘safe haven’ for certain consumers who had limits to what they could buy or use – limits which narrowed their choice to a significant degree. In particular, Terranova Nutrition wanted to provide a complete range of health products that could be used by vegetarians and vegans, or those who want vegetarian or vegan products (perhaps for religious reasons or due to a sensitivity to dairy products), and those who want or need to avoid in-active manufacturing additives, such as fillers, binders, etc.
Terranova Nutrition understand that having to check the labels of everything one buys can be an all-consuming task, so Terranova Nutrition wanted vegetarians and vegans (or those who were looking for vegetarian or vegan products) to know that it if was a Terranova Nutrition product it was automatically suitable for them. Terranova Nutrition is one of only a very small number of broad-range nutritional supplement companies in the world to offer vegan suitability for 100% of its range of products. In spite of the audits that Terranova Nutrition have had to carry out to ensure vegan suitability of raw materials and the increased expense of certain vegan alternatives that Terranova Nutrition have to use, we’re fully committed to the Terranova Nutrition vegan ingredient policy.
A person doesn’t need to be vegan (or even vegetarian) to prefer to use vegan products, just as one doesn’t have to be sensitive to additives to prefer additive-free products. It makes Terranova Nutrition very happy to know that Terranova Nutrition ingredient policies allow them to provide those people looking for vegetarian or vegan and additive-free products with a comprehensive range of nutritional and botanical formulations to choose from.
Terranova Nutrition : Fresh Freeze Dried Botanicals
Many of the botanicals and phytonutrient-rich foods used in Terranova Nutrition products are fresh freeze dried. Air, oven and and spray drying – the standard commercial methods used to dry plant materials – can degrade important compounds and alter a plant’s delicate biochemical balance. On the other hand, research shows that fresh freeze drying actually protects and retains a plant’s potency, biochemical integrity and enzymatic activity. In fact, the biochemical profile of a fresh freeze dried plant very closely resembles the profile of the original fresh plant, but in a much greater concentration, due to the removal of the plant’s moisture content. In other words, Terranova Nutrition fresh freeze dried botanicals are a highly concentrated version of the original fresh plant.
Due to their powerful synergistic impact in Terranova Magnifood, fresh freeze dried plants have always profoundly enhanced the effect of Terranova Nutrition products. And now their remarkable health properties are featured even more prominently in Terranova Nutrition’s new range of phytoFRESH freeze dried super-blend powders and fresh freeze dried botanicals in capsules.
THE FRESH FREEZE DRIED ADVANTAGE
* Fresh freeze drying retains virtually all of the original biochemical integrity of a fresh plant, including the enzymatic activity.
* Fresh freeze drying prevents most enzymatic/chemical changes associated with other drying methods that can reduce activity and alter biochemical balance.
* Fresh freeze drying typically allows plants to retain potency and shelf stability for longer than other drying methods.
* Fresh freeze drying produces ingredients with a high solubility, which may facilitate assimilation of the plant’s nutrients and other important compounds within the digestive tract.
* Fresh freeze drying produces highly porous and brittle plant material, which can be milled into powder (i.e. for encapsulation) without generating destructive levels of heat or friction.
Organic and Wildcrafted Ingredients
Many of the botanical and superfood ingredients in Terranova Nutrition products are either certified organic or ethically wildcrafted. The 90-acre certified organic herb farm of the Terranova Nutrition primary botanical supplier, Eclectic Institute, is located in a remarkably secluded and awe-inspiring setting in Oregon, surrounded by native forest, the Sandy River canyon and the magnificent backdrop of Mount Hood. Every Eclectic Institute crop has been nurtured in a pristine, chemical-free environment and has been harvested at a stage when the plants have reached their peak levels of bio-active markers. For those botanical ingredients which are wildcrafted, Eclectic’s highly skilled and experienced wildcrafters carefully collect the plants from areas which have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. The Eclectic Institute wildcrafts in an environmentally sustainable manner, without putting at risk either the population of the plant species or the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
BODY SYNERGY The future of supplements
As the raft of EU legislation casts an increasingly gargantuan cloud over the food supplement industry, it’s become difficult for even the most optimistic proponent of natural medicine to find a silver lining. Nevertheless, in perhaps the ultimate ‘holistic irony’, these unnecessary restrictions to safe nutrient forms, potencies and ingredients could (and should) be the perfect catalyst for the supplement industry to re-invent itself.
While the recent ‘ramping up’ of absorption technologies and other innovative production tools could be seen as a step in the right direction, a true re-invention requires a re-evaluation of the very paradigm in which Terranova Nutrition, as manufacturers, formulate their products. Such a shift is necessary not merely to compensate for legislation; it’s necessary to overcome the fundamental limitation to the effectiveness of every food supplement – the human body itself.
Research confirms that nutritional supplements have a significant role to play in prevention and treatment of numerous health disorders, as well as in the maintenance of general health and wellbeing. However, the extent to which a supplement provides these benefits totally depends on three key objectives being met; a) the level of the nutrients must be sufficient, b) the nutrient must be efficiently absorbed, metabolised and utilised, and then c) the nutrient must take part in a multitude of interactions with other nutrients, enzymes, co-factors, etc. – an exceedingly complex array of biochemical processes sometimes referred to as ‘nutrition synergy’.
Regarding the first objective, scientific evidence suggests that even the best of diets cannot provide optimum preventive (let alone therapeutic) levels of most nutrients for the most common diseases that affect people in the western world. Food supplements overcome this problem through their ability to provide significant concentrations of any nutrient – so mission accomplished on that one. However, even the most technologically advanced food supplements cannot overcome most of the challenges that stand in the way of the other two objectives. And some would justifiably argue that some technologies used in the industry actually interfere with fulfilment of the other two objectives.
In order to get the most out of any supplement that you take it’s necessary to achieve an intense state of nutritional synergy in the body. Nutritional synergy occurs when interactions between nutrients and numerous other metabolic compounds produce effects that are greater than the combined individual effects of each one. In addition to being absorbed, distributed, metabolised and utilised, in order to provide its optimum effect a vitamin, mineral or any other nutrient must participate in a wide array of synergistic interactions with enzymes, co-factors, other nutrients, etc. In plain terms, this means that a supplement is only as effective as the body allows it to be – and herein lies the biggest challenge that supplement companies face in trying to make efficacious products.
The body needs a precise biological environment in order to generate maximum nutritional synergy, and the body needs maximum nutritional synergy in order for nutrients in a supplement to carry out their numerous functions to the maximum possible degree. The crux of the problem is that not one single person possesses the perfect environment for ANY nutritional supplement to fulfil its maximum potential. It’s not that they don’t work at all – it’s that their effectiveness is limited by various factors within a person’s biochemistry and/or physiology, such as their genetics, diet, lifestyle, gender, age, stress levels, digestive function, level of toxicity, etc. And while there are some adjustments we can make to enhance the synergistic environment in our bodies, the bottom line is that even in the healthiest of people there is considerable room for improvement.
It is precisely this issue which highlights the severe limitations of the formulation approach typically used within the supplement industry – i.e. manufacturing a pill with the concentrated, pharmaceutical form of nutrients (either individually or in combination) with no means whatsoever to facilitate the body’s utilisation and efficient use of those nutrients. The nutrients in our body do NOT function independently or in isolation, so why, as an industry, do we persist in providing products which only contain pharmaceutically isolated nutrients? It’s not that we shouldn’t use them; it’s that we shouldn’t wholly rely on them when no one’s body can make them work to their fullest extent without significant metabolic assistance. Admittedly, the pharmaceutical form of vitamins and other nutrients (often referred to as nutraceuticals) have the distinct advantage of providing the concentration and precise, consistent quantity that cannot be acquired from foods. However, this form of nutrient does not provide enzymes, co-factors and other synergistic catalysts needed to make it work in the body. On the other hand, whole, raw and freshly harvested (and fresh freeze dried) foods and botanicals provide the synergistic catalysts that make the nutrients in that food or plant function more efficiently. But they do not provide the high concentrations and precise quantity of individual nutrients that people expect within a supplement.
With this in mind it’s highly likely that the marriage between nutraceutical ingredients and raw, fresh and freeze dried wholefoods and botanicals will produce the most effective supplements by virtue of providing the nutrient concentration combined with the synergistic means to make those pharmaceutically concentrated nutrients work better in the body. And yet, inexplicably, this approach was virtually unheard of in the supplement industry until around three years ago.
So how can we benefit from the advantages of nutraceuticals without being cheated out of their maximum health benefits by their disadvantages? Is it enough to just combine your favourite multivitamin or B-Complex product with some raw food? Well, not exactly. It is true that raw whole foods which are fresh harvested contain numerous metabolic compounds (nutrients, enzymes, co-factors) that make vitamins, minerals and other nutrients work better. And it’s likely that some ‘random’ or ‘accidental’ synergy will occur just by virtue of taking certain nutraceutical products with fresh, raw wholefoods or ‘superfoods’. Random, accidental synergy is better than only relying on the synergy that the body can generate on its own. But the optimal approach would presumably be to use products where concentrated nutraceutical ingredients were already combined with those fresh, raw, enzymatically-active superfoods and botanicals that are specifically relevant to the metabolic needs of the vitamins, minerals or other nutrients in that product.
For example, if you need to take a B-Complex, it’s bound to work significantly better if the concentrated B-vitamins in the product are combined with food and plant ingredients that provide the precise enzymes, co-factors and other metabolic compounds that B-vitamins need in order to be optimally absorbed, metabolised, utilised and activated. What we’re talking about is precise, tailored synergy, as opposed to random or accidental synergy. Also crucial to generating this intense synergy is ensuring that the food and plant ingredients are in a form that retains as much of their metabolic chemistry as possible. Freeze drying of a food or plant from its fresh-harvested state is, by far, the most effective way to retain this sensitive chemistry. As it happens, unadulterated superfoods and botanicals are also rich in a mind-boggling array of phytonutrients which provide biochemical (often medicinal) effects which complement the role of nutraceutical ingredients.
Although they are a rarity, nutritional supplements that utilise this tailored, intensely synergistic approach – and featuring freeze dried, metabolically-active superfood and botanical ingredients – do exist. You can also follow some simple tips to assist your body’s own ability to generate biological synergy. You might be stuck with your genetics, age and gender, but you can make certain adjustments in your diet and lifestyle which facilitate a more synergistic environment. The following chart highlights some of the most important general recommendations:
BOOSTING YOUR BODY SYNERGY
Address inefficient digestion and imbalanced intestinal environment: use broad-spectrum digestive enzymes and probiotics; increase intake of soluble fibre (this is particularly valuable in enhancing the environment for both absorption and overall bioavailability.
Utilise stress-reducing techniques: deep breathing; mediation; aerobic exercise.
Reduce toxic and free radical load: eat more fresh vegetables and fruit (especially organic); drink more sure water; avoid processed foods and reduce red meat intake; reduce alcohol intake; avoid smoking; reduce exposure to environmental toxins.
Follow a diet high in alkaline-forming foods: eat more green vegetables and low-sugar fruits; eat less meat, dairy products and sugars.
SUPER-SYNERGISTS FOR YOUR SUPPLEMENTS
Stabilised rice bran
Spirulina and chlorella
Barley grass and wheat grass
There are also certain superfoods and botanicals that make especially versatile metabolic synergists for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. In addition to what’s found in synergistically enhanced supplements, many of these can also be added to the diet or through additional supplementation:
Sea Buckthorn berries
It’s clear that what matters most is not how a supplement performs on paper, or even in a Petri dish. The formulation of supplements must evolve in a manner that takes into full consideration how the supplement is going to perform in the body, taking into consideration all of its challenges and biological imperfections. And this means not just utilising technology that gets the nutrients to where they have to go, but also means making sure that the nutrients are able to do what they’re supposed to do when they get there. To do this requires intense, profound synergy. . . and when such a state is truly achieved, the results are nothing short of remarkable.