Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR) is a nutriceutical company with headquarters in Calgary, Alberta. The supplement formulator is dedicated to providing unrivalled research and development for the natural health and wellness industry. Its diverse lines of health products serve over fifty categories with everything from bone health to cardiovascular health.
The term orthomolecular was coined by Linus Pauling to refer to the process of having “the right molecules in the right amounts delivered to the right place in the body, at the right time.”AOR’s efforts to provide its customers with a unique orthomolecular approach to health and wellness has made it one of the most advanced supplement formulators in Canada, with a growing global presence in the UK, France, Italy and the U.S.
It is the goal of AOR to continue to develop innovative products and delivery systems to ensure customers have the most effective results with the safest doses. A passion for science and research has supported AOR’s evolution into an industry-leading research powerhouse, bringing change to the supplement industry.
Advanced Orthomolecular Research started in 1991, growing out of a pharmacy owned by Dr. Traj Nibber, a pharmacist with a Ph.D. in pathology, a thirst for science and a passion for research. When unable to compete with the larger chain pharmacies in the market, Dr. Nibber removed all of his conventional pharmacy products to focus on becoming a complete nutritional pharmacy.
In addition to reframing his pharmacy’s purpose, Dr. Nibber was also interested in how he could make supplements better. He worked with People With AIDS (PWA) advocacy groups to locate hard-to-find supplement formulations for AIDS patients’ buyers’ groups. Often, after receiving requests for products from people who were unable to afford them, with Dr. Nibber sent them the supplements for free.
“The question I would always get asked by people was, ‘Can we make more innovative supplements?’” explained Dr. Nibber, president of AOR. “And secondly, why did the supplements available at the time have so much content in terms of excipients and things they felt did not need to be in them?”
In just a short year after rebranding, Dr. Nibber had to leave the pharmacy behind to accommodate the rapidly increasing demand for the supplements he was now making. At first, he was simply sourcing and compounding the precise formulations required by his PWA network but this growing demand caused AOR’s capacities to expand quickly.
Dr. Nibber began to develop standardized formulas that could be manufactured on a larger scale by contract manufacturers. This enabled him to have more time to devote to research, which resulted in the development of more specialized formulas and new natural health products.
Academic collaborations are an essential feature of AOR, helping to drive the industry and the market in the process. The company creates strategic partnerships with universities and research departments across Canada and the United States to continue building its already diverse portfolio of products.
As a result of extensive research, AOR was the first to offer many ingredients to Canada (including glucosamine sulfate (1993), Pantethine (1996) and SAMe (2000)) and the world (including, D-Ribose (1998), R+ Lipoic Acid (1999) and Sustained Release R+ Lipoic Acid (2005), Strontium Citrate (2002) and Oxaloacetate (2007)).
“Because we are working with researchers, it allows us to offer something which is cutting edge well before the rest of the industry is even aware of something. That, in itself, has both advantages and pitfalls.” Dr. Nibber explained that product innovation has given it an advantage on the market, but sometimes introducing new products and ways of thinking can be a tough sell.
Currently, AOR enjoys twenty-eight official academic collaborations, with many more unofficial relationships with academic institutions, whether it is through supply chains or in a research support capacity. The partnerships have helped it to register over 280 products with Health Canada. Dr. Nibber and his team at AOR have around fifteen new products in the pipeline at any given time.
In Canada, dietary supplements are formally regulated by the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) using modelled standards established for use in pharmaceutical labs. AOR has a site license from Health Canada and meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements. In addition to its internal quality control, AOR has also enlisted the unbiased services of a third party quality control contractor.
The situation is different in the U.S., Dr. Nibber explained. “The U.S. is obviously a big part of our growth, and I think that we are going about that in the right way, in terms of hiring the right people. The U.S. will also allow us to accelerate our product development even faster because these products don’t have to be registered.” That would enable it to test the product sales there, later introducing them in Canada.
AOR’s products are carefully formulated to develop balanced dosages and synergism between ingredients, based on sound scientific findings. AOR ensures that it procures the necessary technology to bring its customers the most up-to-date delivery methods, including gelatine capsules, soft-gel capsules, vegi-capsules, lozenges and liquids or topical products like creams and ointments.
It truly is a passion for research and the products that support health and wellness and thus drives Dr. Nibber’s approach to product development at AOR. “Research is forever expanding,” he explained, “and it is exciting to be a part of it.”
There are many products and lines that prove the innovative character of the AOR, with one such example being its new vegetarian softgels. After experiencing a gap in the market for those who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, such as himself, Dr. Nibber and AOR will be launching several vegetarian-based products later this year. This will build up to a complete line of products where previously there had been limited supplement options.
In collaboration with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, AOR is taking extracts from bran, identifying the component benefits and finding ways to use them against colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and inflammation.
“We find that, instead of the consumer taking six to eight grams of fibre they may not want to, in a smaller capsule, the essence of the bran is captured, and we can convey that to consumers,” said Dr. Nibber. The bran extract is but one of many examples of its product innovation.
Knowing that middle-aged males are more prone to heart attacks in the early hours of the morning, AOR is looking at a postponed delivery system that enables people to take a product that can open up the blood vessels before bedtime. The pulse would deliver the dose when it is required most, several hours later, reducing the risk of heart attacks for this demographic during the middle of the night.
Ideas like these are why AOR’s products are so highly regarded. AOR’s Ortho Sleep was the Gold Winner at the Alive Awards 2012 for the best herbal product. The R+SR product was the first in the world to offer sustained release R-lipoic acid, and its Advanced B Complex winning the Silver Winner at the Alive Awards 2013.
The key to the successes of AOR is its state-of-the-art facility and the individuals whose extensive knowledge and experience ensure the factory’s operability, compliance and product quality. In January, the facility, which was previously 35,000 square feet, was expanded to 95,000 square feet, to create a safe, quality-driven pharmaceutical-level operation.
AOR’s laboratories enjoy some of the most advanced equipment on the market. Additionally, academic associations with Rutgers University, Albert Einstein Medical College, University of British Columbia, and many more, mean it is no wonder the work being done is cutting-edge!
“The best way going forward is through collaboration with reputable universities. That is the only way that our industry is going to get even more legitimacy and appreciation, not only from the pharma-industry, from the medical community, but also from the regulatory community as well as the consumers who will build up confidence,” Dr. Nibber said of the relatively young nutriceutical industry.
The company makes countless efforts to provide sound scientific evidence of its products’ effectiveness. In order to provide its customers with an unparalleled product guarantee, it also uses only the highest quality ingredients, has stringent internal quality control mechanisms, provides a third-party guarantee of its products and makes no exaggerated or false claims about the effectiveness of its products.
“I think that consumers will find – once the research is published, and when we bring that product to market – they will find there is a safe way, if nothing else, to maintain good health and prevent future calamities,” said Dr. Nibber.