Beware of Botanicals

By David Humphrey
Kirkman Group, Inc.


The growing popularity of botanicals, has prompted nutritional supplement manufacturers like Kirkman to expand their use of herbal ingredients and botanical products offerings.

We did not expect, however, to encounter the difficulty we’ve had in finding “clean” herbals, in fact, many of the herbal samples sent to us by both suppliers in the U.S. and foreign countries have contained multiple contaminants at potentially harmful levels. Obviously, we don’t accept these for use in our products.

What causes additional concern is regulatory oversight of botanicals that currently does not prohibit certain environmental contaminants that can be harmful to human health.  At least there are some guidelines to test for 4 heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead) and certain microbial contaminants in nutritional supplements for humans. There are no government requirements, however, for testing nutritional supplements for pets.

Botanicals and herbals are more prone to being contaminated than other types of supplement ingredients because they are grown in the ground, and nurtured by air and water where environmental contaminants exist.

China, for example, is among the most polluted countries on the planet, yet many if not most of the herbs offered in the U.S. marketplace are grown in China.  High levels of lead and arsenic are routinely found in herbal products coming from China.

In 2015, the attorney general of New York pulled herbals off the shelves of retail giants Target, Walmart, Walgreen’s and GNC because four out of five herbal products did not contain any of the ingredients that were on the products’ labels.  Having extra, unidentified ingredients or not having the ingredients claimed on the label are problems becoming more and more commonplace with botanical/herbal supplement products.

 So beware of botanicals. Make sure you are buying product from reputable vendors that can provide you evidence that their products are safe and pure. 

Kirkman® has the most comprehensive program of testing for environmental contaminants in the industry so we can thoroughly screen raw materials that we use in our products. Kirkman® tests its products for 24 heavy metals, bacteria, yeast, mold, bacteria such as salmonella and enterococcus and common allergens such as egg, gluten, casein, milk and nuts. Kirkman® strictly follows its Ultra Tested® protocol to test for more than 950 environmental contaminants and to ensure that what is on our label is in our product.  

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Environmental Health & Toxicity, Ultra Tested | Leave a comment

5 Tips For Establishing a Healthy Nutritional Profile

By Kulani Mahikoa
Executive Vice President
Kirkman Group, Inc.
If you are a typical Kirkman® customer with special dietary requirements and sensitivities, you may be more prone to nutritional deficiencies than other folks. 
Food allergies, for example, may keep you from eating the full range of foods that provide the nutrition that your body may need. Chronic health issues may affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly causing deficiencies. Taste and texture issues, common among special needs children, may eliminate whole food groups and important nutrients from the diet.
Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems, on the other hand nutritional sufficiency, can help ward off health issues.  For special needs individuals who can’t eat certain nutrient rich foods, nutritional supplements are a good alternative to provide the nutrients that may be lacking.  
Here are our top five recommendations to help you determine the daily nutritional regimen that’s right for you.
1.  Start with your physician
Ask your physician to order a “nutritional status” test.  This is a laboratory test that provides specific information about your body’s 1) condition with respect to your diet 2) level of nutrients 3) ability to maintain normal metabolic integrity based on those levels.   The test provides a roadmap for you and your physician regarding a diet or nutritional supplement plan. Your physician can also recommend other healthcare professionals who may be helpful such as a nutritionist or dietitian.
2.  Know Your Target Nutritional Goals
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have set recommended Daily Values (DVs) and Daily Recommended Intakes (DRIs) for the amounts of nutrients you need to keep healthy and stay well nourished.  The IOM also recommends the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of a nutrient by age group, which is the amount of the nutrient that can generally be taken safely.  For example, with many vitamins and minerals, you can safely take a dose much higher than the DV or RDI without coming close to the UL.  Your physician’s advice and following DV, DRI and UL charts can help you determine what nutrients to take and in what amounts.
3.  Know What Each Nutrient Does
Read up on nutrients.  There are many free sources of information about nutrients on the web.  An especially good source is the Linus Pauling Institute, a center devoted to research regarding the role that vitamins and micronutrients may have in enhancing health. Look up and know what each nutrient and supplement does, and its risks and benefits.  
4.  Read Labels
Information on both food and nutritional supplement labels usually contain five common elements:  statement of identity, the products net weight, the manufacturer’s address, nutrition (food) or supplement facts and an ingredient list.  The type of nutrients the product contains and amounts are found in the nutrition or supplement facts boxes.  Since the FDA regulates the food and supplement industries, the DVs are the recommended daily values listed.
The update of the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect on January 1, 2006, also mandates that food and nutritional supplements containing certain allergens such as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy be declared on a label.  For special needs individuals with food allergies, reading these statements may be of critical importance.
5.  Buy Pesticide Free Food and Nutritional Supplements
Exposures to pesticides can cause a myriad of health problems. For special needs individuals who may be particularly sensitive to environmental contaminants, consuming pesticides is like adding bricks to an already full wagon. 
Currently the regulations for the use of pesticides pertain primarily to a list of banned pesticides issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. There are no regulations regarding detecting or measuring pesticides in food and supplements even though the U.S. uses more than 1 billion pounds (22% of the world’s pesticide usage) of pesticides each year.  Many food and nutritional supplement companies test for pesticides in their products but Kirkman® offers the most comprehensive testing for pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the marketplace. Kirkman® tests every product in its brand for more than 950 environmental contaminants including hundreds of pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, biocides and herbicides.
Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Things are Heating Up . . . Kirkman® To Start Its Warm Weather Shipping Program for Probiotics

We’ve had unusual weather lately.  At times, it appeared as if winter would never end.  With our changing weather pattern – a surprise snow flurry or two could still be in our immediate futures. But – the country is definitely warming up. For Kirkman® that means it’s time to start our special shipping requirements for probiotics. 

Kirkman’s products are shipped to you out of Reno, Nev.  If you live farther than 2 days away by ground shipping – you will want to choose guaranteed 2 day or next day shipping to protect your probiotics.

To protect your product further, Kirkman® only ships probiotics Monday through Wednesday to avoid weekend delays.  Orders for probiotics that we receive on Thursday or Friday are held for shipment until Monday, unless you order next day shipping.

Posted in FAQs, Probiotics | Leave a comment

5-MTHF – Why It’s Taking the Place of Folic Acid in Some of Kirkman’s Products

 Kirkman® has been adding 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) as the vitamin B-9 alternative to folic acid in its products. The latest addition is in our popular children’s multi-vitamin and mineral formula, Children’s Multi-Vitamin/Mineral w/5-MTHF- Hypoallergenic(#0464-120).


Research indicates that 5-MTHF may work better for some individuals than folic acid.  According to the National Institute of Health, more than 33% of Americans have a genetic mutation, which affects their ability to absorb and properly utilize folic acid.


Folic acid is one of the few nutritional supplements that physicians condone. It is routinely prescribed, particularly to patients who are pregnant, elderly or have certain mental issues.

In fact, folic acid, a synthetic compound, has become so ingrained in the medical landscape that doctors may not be familiar with its natural alternative, 5-MTHF and its benefits. 5-MTHF has recently become commercially available for use in nutritional supplements and foods.

 5-MTHF can enter the main folate metabolic cycle directly, while folic acid must be cleaved from protein carriers to be absorbed. This process is inefficient in some individuals. If absorbed, folic acid still must go through several other conversions in the body to become active and assume it’s important role in methylation, the transfer of methyl groups (one carbon bound to three hydrogen atoms) that is essential for health.

Individuals can submit to a simple laboratory test to find out if they have the MTHR gene mutation that could affect their ability to absorb folic acid.  However, even individuals with impaired ability to utilize regular folic acid can readily benefit from 5-MTHF.



Kirkman’s products that contain 5-MTHF include:

1. 0464-120 Children’s Multi-Vitamin/Mineral with 5-MTHF – Hypoallergenic

2. 0477-120: 5-MTHF (6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate 1 mg

3. 0478-060:  5-MTHF (6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate 5 mg

4. 0484-180:  Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral with 5-MTHF – Hypoallergenic

5. 2519-120: P2i Baby Prenatal Advanced Care Vitamin & Mineral Formula with 5-MTHF

Posted in New Item, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Delicious Gluten Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Rhonda Mulford
Vice President, Kirkman Group, Inc.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

This is a great segue to get your family away from the high sugar, processed ingredients in regular cookies to a more paleo, nutrient dense cookie.

These cookies helped me to get off sugar as I was eliminating it from my diet. I found that when I made them they disappeared very quickly. My sons and husband think these are really good. I was shocked!  Not only does it cut down the flour (gluten) and sugar but they are also very filling. You’ll only want a few.

To make extra special cookies, you may want to make your own almond flour.
See the instructions below.


(Make with gluten free varieties of ingredients)

2 cups almond meal, or almond flour
1/4 cup butter  (organic grass feed is best)
2 Tablespoons  Raw Honey or 3 TBS pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, salt, and baking soda, then add the butter, honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract (you can drop the vanilla if you used the maple syrup) and mix well.

Add chocolate chips and mix. Use spoon or small ice cream scooper to form cookies and drop onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or when the base of cookie is browned.

How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

You’ll want a big bag of almonds so you can use it for this recipe and save some to use later. I usually buy the big bags at my local box store.

First soak the almonds in water overnight.  Remove the brown, outer skin. Next put the almonds in a dehydrator for about a day or until they feel like nuts again. Put nuts in a food processor and process until you have a flour-like consistency.

Voila’ . . . you have almond flour.

Posted in Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe | Leave a comment

Don’t Overlook These 5 Great Supplements!

At Kirkman® we just completed our annual review of the products we sell. This happens at a meeting, usually lasting several days, at which our management discusses each, individual product that we manufacture and/or market. Kirkman® offers more than 350 products so it’s that rare opportunity to get up close and personal with every product.

 One of the discussions we always have is identifying REALLY GREAT products that get overlooked by our customers. Obviously, we may need to explain these products more fully to you so that you understand their benefits.  So, here goes – our top five list of REALLY GREAT, overlooked products . . . Order them now and get 50% off as an introduction to these great supplements. Offer lasts through the month of June and while supplies last.


1. Bone Health Advanced Formula (#0498-120)

Supports bone and teeth health. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.


Kirkman’s Bone Health Advanced Formula incorporates the best ingredients to support bone and teeth health based on the latest scientific advances.

This formulation uses calcium and magnesium in forms that are particularly absorbable by the body. Two different forms of calcium (carbonate and citrate) are combined with two forms of magnesium (oxide and glycinate) to supply 300 mg of calcium and 150 mg of magnesium per the two capsules serving. Calcium and magnesium provide the foundation for strong bones and teeth.


In addition, vitamin D-3 and vitamin K have been added because these nutrients enhance the absorption of minerals and increase mineral density in the bone. Further, there is evidence in human intervention studies that vitamins K and D, a classic in bone metabolism, work synergistically to improve bone health. Boron is also included based on studies that indicate that boron improves body stores of calcium and magnesium and improves bone density. Boron accomplishes this by aiding the body’s retention of these minerals and limiting their urinary excretion.


The normal daily serving is two capsules, however up to six capsules may be taken daily if recommended by a physician. 


2. B-Complex with CoEnzymes Pro-Support Hypoallergenic Capsules (0095-200) or Powder (0499-007)

A proprietary blend that incorporates all eight of the B vitamins. Hypoallergenic. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.

 Kirkman’s B-Complex with CoEnzymes Pro-Support capsules contain significant doses of all eight B vitamins. This formulation includes the active form of vitamin B-6, pyridoxyl 5-phosphate, and the soluble form of vitamin B-2, riboflavin phosphate. Choline is also present for liver support. During times of stress, the body requires high amounts of the B-Complex vitamins.  Our B-Complex Pro-Support formulation is offered in hypoallergenic capsules or powder forms.


3. PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) Hypoallergenic (0521-030)

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) is a micronutrient that provides powerful antioxidant activity for a strong defense against mitochondrial decay.


PQQ is a nutrient viewed as the latest advance in the area of mitochondrial bioenergetics. In 2010, researchers found that it not only protected mitochondria from oxidative damage but it also stimulated growth of fresh mitochondria.

 Scientists have also discovered that PQQ has extraordinary molecular stability that allows it to carry out thousands of electron transfers without undergoing molecular breakdown. In recent research, it has proven especially effective in neutralizing the ubiquitous superoxide and hydroxyl radicals, which may make it more efficient than other nutrients with antioxidant activity in sustaining mitochondrial energy production.

 Recent research also shows that PQQ is a potent growth factor in plants, bacteria and higher organisms. In animal research, subjects deprived of PQQ showed stunted growth, compromised immune systems, impaired reproductive capability and fewer mitochondria in their tissues.

 Kirkman® offers hypoallergenic PQQ in 20 mg vegetarian capsules.


4. Toxicity Control (0538-120)

Assists in removing toxins from the body. Free of common allergens. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.

Toxicity Control is a product that supports the body’s natural detoxifying pathways. These natural pathways are mechanisms for removing environmental contaminants, which can invade the body through air, water, contaminated food, contaminated dietary supplements or contaminated garments or jewelry. 

The product components include:  vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium which enhance the body’s detoxification pathways; taurine, a sulfur based amino acid with detoxifying properties; modified citrus pectin which supports reduction in metal stores in the body; curcumin (turmeric), a spice with clinical detoxification studies; milk thistle, a flowering plant which detoxifies the body’s organs; glutathione, the body’s most powerful immune system supporter; N-Acetyl Cysteine, an ingredient known for strong antioxidant activity; calcium d-glucarate, which acts in a similar manner as natural fruits and vegetables, also known to support detoxification.

This product provides for normal, healthy environmental detoxification.


5. Thera Response – Hypoallergenic (0300-180)

A comprehensive multi-vitamin specially formulated for individuals who don’t respond to high vitamin B-6/magnesium supplements. Hypoallergenic. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.


Kirkman’s Thera Response is a proprietary multi-vitamin specially formulated for individuals who do not respond to high vitamin B-6/magnesium supplements such as Kirkman’s Super Nu-Thera® products but who need a comprehensive multi-vitamin.

Thera Response is an extremely comprehensive multi-vitamin formulation that incorporates ingredients that were selected based on physicians’ reports regarding effectiveness. Nutrients in this formulation include: folinic acid; vitamin methyl B-12; trace minerals, such as selenium, chromium, molybdenum and iodine; vitamin A as acetate and beta carotene; buffered vitamin C and the mineral factor lithium.

Thera Response is a hypoallergenic product in vegetarian capsules, specially formulated for individuals with sensitivities. 

Posted in Immune System, Special Offer, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

A Vitamin Primer — Important Things You Should Know About Vitamins

By Kulani Mahikoa
Executive Vice President, Marketing
Kirkman Group, Inc.

The first thing to know is that vitamins (along with minerals and amino acids) are considered “essential” nutrients, that is – you need them.  So whether you get your vitamins from food or from supplement manufacturers like Kirkman®, knowing about these nutrients that make your body run is a good idea.


What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are important contributors to normal metabolism or the chemical processes that must occur in your body to maintain life. Scientists have said that to be considered a “vitamin” the nutrient must be organic, that is, it contains one carbon atom in its molecular structure.

Only two vitamins can be produced by the body.  These are Vitamin D-3, produced by the intake of sun on the skin and vitamin K, made in small amounts by friendly bacteria in the gut. Most of our vitamins come from plants and even vitamins from animal products, such as eggs, come from plants that were ingested by an animal or created by bacteria.

Vitamins are also associated with specific health conditions caused by a deficit of a vitamin nutrient. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract and are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. They can stay in the body as reserves for days, some of them for months.  Water soluble vitamins do not get stored in the body for long and are excreted in urine. They need to be continually replenished.

 How Many Vitamins Are There? What Do They Do? What are Sources?

 There are currently 13 recognized vitamins.  Below is a list of vitamins and some of their key characteristics:


1. Vitamin A (0366-001) (Retinol, Retinal) – Promotes eye health

Sources:  liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, kale, spinach, pumpkin, egg, apricot, cantaloupe and melon


2. Vitamin B-1 (0095-2000499-007) (Thiamine) – Promotes immune, heart and brain health.

Sources:  yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, kale, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver and eggs


3. Vitamin B-2 (0095-2000499-007(Riboflavin) – Produces energy and provides antioxidant activity to fight damaging free radicals; also, needed for vitamin B-6 and folate utilization.

Sources:  cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, green beans, bananas, asparagus, okra and persimmons


4. Vitamin B-3 (0095-2000499-007(Niacin, Niacinamide) – Promotes heart and metabolic health.

Sources: mushrooms, asparagus, nuts, dates, tomatoes, fish, milk, eggs, whole-grains, brewer’s yeast, legumes and leafy vegetables


5. Vitamin B-5 (0095-2000499-007(Pantothenic Acid) – Enables the use of fats, carbohydrates or protein as energy sources; aids in hormone production and promotes immune system health.  Sources:  root vegetables, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, turnip greens, fruit, legumes, meat, eggs and dairy

6. Vitamin B-6 (0268-1000291-120) (Pyridoxine, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxamine) – Promotes glucose and protein metabolism and the manufacture of hemoglobin for lymph nodes, thymus and spleen health; also, benefits the central nervous system.

Sources:  salmon, carrots, meat, avocados, banana, leafy greens, legumes and nuts 


7. Vitamin B-7 (0382-120) (Biotin, Vitamin H) – Supports the health of the skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism and cells.

Sources:  egg yolk and liver


8. Vitamin B-9 (0016-4000040-2000275-2000293-1800425-1800477-1200478-060) (Folic Acid, Folinic Acid, 5MTHF) – Promotes healthy pregnancies and births; supports adrenal function and a healthy nervous system; also, necessary for key metabolic processes.

Sources:  green vegetables, beans, asparagus, bananas, melons, legumes, yeast and mushrooms


9. Vitamin B-12 (0523-1200292-002) (Methylcobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin) – Promotes proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis.

Sources:  fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products


10. Vitamin C (0024-100/2500029-2500393-0070438-0070479-100/250) (Ascorbic Acid) – Helps form and maintain bones, skin and blood vessels and produces collagen, L-carnitine and neurotransmitters; also, metabolizes proteins and provides antioxidant activity.

Sources:  fruits and vegetables


11. Vitamin D (0378-1200380-1200422-1200434-1200428-090) (Ergocalciferol (vitamin D-2), cholecalciferol (vitamin D-3) – Supports the immune system, brain and nervous system; also supports healthy bones and teeth.

Sources: fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as dairy products, orange juice and cereals

12. Vitamin E (0030-100/250) (tocopherol, tocotrienol) – Supports heart, brain and nervous system health.

Sources:  avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, leafy vegetables, kiwi fruit, green vegetables, wheat germ and whole grains


13. Vitamin K (0498-120) (phylloquinone, menaquinone) – Supports proper blood clotting, bone metabolism and the regulation of calcium levels.

Sources:  leafy vegetables like kale and swiss chard, parsley, kiwi fruit and avocado


How much do you need of each vitamin?

Here’s where your work gets complicated. A good practice is to enlist the help of your physician, registered dietitian or nutritionist for guidance when deciding what nutrients you need and in what amounts to support your good health.

 There are also four official sources of information on the average requirements of vitamins (and minerals) for good nutrition. These are:

  • RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) tables - Prepared by the National Academy of Sciences, RDAs have historically been used as the basis of data for vitamins and minerals. RDAs are recommendations for average, safe and adequate amounts of daily nutrient intake by 97 per cent to 98 percent of healthy men, women, boys and girls in different age groups. Specific recommendations are also given for infants, children, teenagers, pregnant and breast-feeding women and adults through age fifty and adults over age fifty.
  • DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) tables-  Prepared by the National Academy of Sciences, Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine for both Americans and Canadians. DRI tables updates the RDAs for vitamins, minerals and includes many other nutrients. The DRI tables should eventually replace the RDA tables because they are more comprehensive. New in the DRIs was the establishment of the Tolerable Upper Intake levels (UL) for each nutrient as a guide to help decrease negative side effects that can develop from excessive intake of nutrients.
  • DV (Daily Value) tables -  Prepared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for product labeling purposes.
  • Foreign and international standards - Prepared by member nations of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the tables offer comparison standards between the U.S., WHO and Canada for vitamins and minerals.
  • (You can find these tables under Resources on Kirkman’s website).


Food vs Supplements for Vitamins

In 2016, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the majority of American adults used dietary supplements. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) that has tracked the use of dietary supplements in the U.S. for more than 15 years, reported in 2016 that 71% of U.S. adults, or more than 170 million Americans, reported taking dietary supplements.

The popularity of dietary supplements as a source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients reflects the public’s opinion that they can’t get enough of the nutrients they need from food. There is world-wide concern that our modern farming and food processing practices are adulterating and robbing the nutrients in our food supply. Additionally, busier lifestyles take many individuals in the direction of fast-food restaurants with their convenient staples of foods that are calorie-rich and nutrition poor.

Let’s not lose sight of the important issue, which is getting the nutrients you need. Dietary supplements provide a convenient and safe alternative to food to get those needs met.

Posted in Environmental Health & Toxicity, Ultra Tested, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment