Our mission at AOR is dedicated to providing unrivalled innovation and unmatched quality in natural health products to its valued and discerning customers. AOR is committed to researching the best that science and nature have to offer. By delivering the “right amount of the right ingredients to the right place at the right time,” AOR offers its customers a unique and truly orthomolecular approach to personalized nutrition for the future.
Who is AOR?
Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR), a Canadian-based company with headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, has an established reputation in Canada as the most advanced supplement formulator in the country and likely, the world. AOR endeavors to bring something new to the Canadian supplement world: not just new supplements, but a new spirit, with the pillars of Innovative Research, Scientific Integrity, Quality Manufacturing, and Consumer Education. “Orthomolecule” is a term coined by Linus Pauling, who is the founder of orthomolecular medicine. Orthomolecular refers to “the right amount of the right substances delivered to the right place in the body at the right time.”
AOR’s goals are to provide innovative products that may have not yet reached the mainstream market, to provide superior products to those already on the market, and to deliver those products in their most effective forms and doses. AOR strives to source novel ingredients, develop delivery technologies that are rare or unheard of in the supplement industry, and to educate consumers on the facts and myths of natural health products so that consumers can make educated decisions about their health.
AOR’s facility is designed from the ground up specifically with providing the safest, purest, high quality products in mind. Some of the most advanced equipment available can be found in our labs, giving us the ability to innovate and progress beyond the norm in the natural health product industry. Collaboration with universities around North America and renowned companies all over the world puts AOR on the cutting-edge of research breakthroughs and delivery technology advances.
Scientific integrity and innovation have been central to the AOR philosophy since its foundation. AOR’s origins lie in the pharmacy of the organization’s Research Director, Dr. Traj Nibber, when he was contacted by People With AIDS (PWA) advocacy groups searching for a source of hard-to-find formulations for AIDS buyers’ groups. His initial surprise at the lack of access to these nutritional supplements soon turned to empathic frustration, as he realized how many people were suffering from the failure of the dietary supplement industry to make available nutrients whose role in health were well-established by rigorous scientific investigation – and the simultaneous willingness of the same companies to promote supplements on the basis of only the most flimsy of evidence.
Dr. Nibber found a supplement industry which refused to evaluate new evidence or to hold their existing lines up to the light of clear standards of evidence; which was happy to keep selling yesterday’s products when a superior, innovative supplement was better-documented by research. He also found that most companies were unwilling to develop genuinely novel orthomolecular interventions, preferring to respond passively to the marketing of supplement raw materials – new or old – by their suppliers. He also found that the industry was too willing to be cowed by government regulators and by bureaucratic red tape, and to skimp on quality control to lower prices even at the expense of clinical efficacy.
At first, Dr. Nibber simply sourced and compounded the specific formulations needed by his PWA contacts. Later, as word of Dr. Nibber’s helpfulness spread and the need for his services expanded, Dr. Nibber began to develop standardized formulas that could be manufactured on a larger scale by contract manufacturers. As his contacts with global pharmaceutical and natural health product suppliers expanded and as he began to immerse himself more in the literature on nutritional factors in health, he began to develop formulations of his own and to launch new natural health products into a wider audience of health-conscious individuals, life extension radicals, and health practitioners seeking a new generation of more effective natural solutions to the chronic health concerns of their patients.
The Innovation Track Record
- 1993– Glucosamine Sulfate – First in Canada
- 1996– Pantethine – First in Canada
- 1998– D-Ribose – First in World
- 1999– R Lipoic Acid – First in World
- 2000– SAMe – First in Canada
- 2001– Benfotiamine – First in North America
- 2002– Strontium Citrate – First in World
- 2005– Sustained Release R Lipoic Acid – First in World
- 2007– Oxaloacetate (benaGene) – First in World
- 2009– Curcumin nanoparticles – First in World
- 2011– Longvida Curcumin – First in Canada
- 2011 – nanoVAILABLE Boswellia – First in World
- 2012– NOx3,2,1 Technology – First in World
In a little over a decade, AOR has become a leading provider of genuinely innovative nutraceuticals in North America and around the world. AOR’s bottled revolutions are groundbreaking, research-backed orthomolecules and botanicals which are new to Canada and often to North America and the world.Mainstays of the supplement & vitamin market today – such as glucosamine sulfate for joint structure and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for support of balanced mood and thought patterns – were first brought to the Canadian market by AOR.The company has continued to innovate over the years, consistently putting science-backed natural canadian pharmacy health products into the hands of health practitioners and into the lives of patients and consumers years ahead of their secondary acceptance by the mainstream dietary supplement industry.
AOR released Canada’s first defined pollen extract for prostate health (Prostaphil-2), the only supplement documented in clinical trials to directly affect prostate structure by reducing the volume of the gland itself, rather than simply relieving symptoms as with saw palmetto and other conventional prostate herbals.
AOR was the first company to bring a geniunely complete E-complex supplement in the form of “Total E” including balanced amounts of all 8 tocopherols and tocotrienols.
AOR’s influence has extended well beyond Canada’s borders. AOR products are also available in the United States and in the UK.
AOR brought the world its first R( )-Lipoic Acid supplements, containing the genuine orthomolecular form rather than the racemic hybrid of natural R( )- and synthetic S(-)-enantiomers found in conventional “lipoic acid” or “alpha-lipoic acid” supplements.
We brought forward North America and Europe’s first Menatetrenone, or MK-4 (under the name Peak K2), the mammalian-specific vitamer form of vitamin K2, documented to support bone health in multiple clinical trials and registered as a “drug” for osteoporosis in Japan.
Benfotiamine, a derivative of thiamine long used clinically in Germany to relieve the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, has more recently been documented to reduce the burden of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). As experimental evidence came in to support its ability to maintain healthy protein structure in the nerves, retina, and kidneys in the face of a sugar-loaded assault, AOR became the first North American supplier of this key nutraceutical.
AOR was first in the world to deliver the revolutionary bone health mineral Strontium at a clinically-tested dose.
Research-Based Supplement Design
AOR’s formulations have always been designed with an overriding emphasis on ensuring that the final results deliver as promised. This begins with a careful review of the primary science on a supplement, insisting on solid science and real-world outcomes. Ingredients whose only scientific support comes from surrogate outcomes, mechanistic speculation, in vitro studies, or experimental conditions that don’t reflect the real challenges of patients are eschewed in favor of the results of high-quality evidence and clinical trials. The final formulation is then designed to reflect the clinical trials themselves, with doses, standardization, and forms of nutrients reflecting the original research.
Often new products are introduced to the market with wild claims based on animal studies or test-tube research. Other times, well-known existing products are attacked based on similar types of studies and extrapolated claims. At AOR, we endeavor to maintain a good understanding of how supplements work in the human body while making claims that are validated in human research and founded on scientific integrity. Scientific integrity involves considering all the available information and resisting the temptation to extrapolate evidence beyond what is reasonable.
Some honest, well-meaning companies sit down to formulate effective products – and fail because they just aren’t familiar with the underlying science, or don’t know enough about the materials with which they’re working. On the other hand, even if they understand the science, supplement companies can still make ineffective products: if their only concern is their bottom line, then they will do just that, whenever they perceive that what good nutritional science demands isn’t what the mass market will support.
AOR makes the effort to educate consumers, although this can be a very difficult task. If a market trend is poorly supported by research, it will not be found on AOR’s shelves, no matter how hot the market is. We believe that our customers want the best quality ingredients, and they want results. The truth is in the effectiveness of a product, and the results speak for themselves.
Special care is taken with multi-ingredient supplements – a class of natural health product that is especially subject to shoddy formulation. Supplements with multiple ingredients can work very well – if they’re properly formulated. But many companies approach the formulation of their products as an unscientific game of one-upmanship, in which the object is to come up with the longest possible list of ingredients of interest to people with a particular health concern. In the process, basic issues around dosage, compatibility, stability, and mechanism of action are brushed aside in a rush to put out a pill which – from a quick glance at the label – appears to be the “broadest”, most “comprehensive”, most “all-inclusive”, and most “synergistically complete” product on the shelf. But more is not always better…
For example, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) taken in large doses will actually inhibit its absorption, which is evident when urine turns yellow after taking a B complex or a multi. AOR’s Advanced B Complex has one of the lowest amounts of Vitamin B2 on the market for this reason. Other ingredients may actually work against each other if taken together. Many probiotics contain billions and billions of many different organisms because their formulators and scientists don’t actually know if they work synergistically together or against each other, so they add as many as possible just hoping that some will survive! AOR’s Probiotic 3 contains only 3 strains and less than 1 billion per capsule, but the effectiveness and results over 50 years of clinical use are overwhelmingly positive and show that this formula works.
Consistently good formulation requires both the best science, and the best motivations. Something has to provide the impetus to keep a supplement company poring over medical journals, combing through new research in search of new discoveries, and questioning the market’s common formulation clichés. AOR has built its reputation for efficacy one supplement at a time, diligently pursuing optimal formulation from the primary research up.
AOR is not afraid to update existing formulas based on new research. Many companies will continue selling ineffective products if it sells well even when science disproves their effectiveness, uncovers potential health risks or discovers something better. At AOR, we are willing to reformulate or discontinue products in favour of others that are more effective when the science indicates a better understanding of how they work. This requires diligently educating consumers. Education is of the utmost importance to AOR in order to maintain transparency, establish trust and effectively communicate our understanding to those who rely on us for knowledge and for help on their journey of good health.
Our Quality Commitment
Excellence in Quality Control
In the regulatory vacuum of the North American dietary supplement industry, quality control has always been a concern. In the USA, dietary supplements are barely regulated, and anything can be sold without much in the way of safety analysis before putting it on the market. In Canada, however, formal regulatory requirements for the manufacture of dietary supplements have been issued by the new Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), using GMPs which are modeled standards established for use in pharmaceutical labs. AOR has received its site license from Health Canada, and operates its facilities under standards created to meet or exceed the statutory requirements laid out under the new regulations. In addition, AOR implements a process of self-imposed quality control, creating internal standard operating procedures that were modeled on those of the pharmaceutical industry for purity and rigor.
Since pharmaceuticals are considered to be potentially more dangerous, pharmaceuticals require strict purity testing procedures and results and rigorous manufacturing standards that range from cleanliness of the working area and the equipment used, to facility design to minimize contamination, to testing for identity, active ingredients (potency), purity, solvent residue, heavy metal contamination and microbial contamination. As such, pharmaceutically synthesized products actually tend to have few to no contaminants and unknown ingredients compared to naturally sourced herbs. Pharmaceutical protocols demand that all variables are controlled. In Canada, the NHPD is moving towards enforcing such rigorous testing of natural health products, which improves their safety and efficacy. However, AOR exceeds these standards in material testing, and the facility design and the manufacturing procedures are more rigorous than the norm in the natural health product industry.
A Certificate of Analysis is obtained from all suppliers attesting to the identity, potency, extraction information, allergen content and other handling information for each raw material. All AOR products and raw materials are subject to a regular and ongoing process of third-party analysis by independent analytical laboratories to ensure purity and potency. The most appropriate available assay technique is always used for analysis of active ingredients and detection of contaminants, in consultation with internal Quality Control staff and external technicians and experts. For most analytes, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is the preferred technology. Heavy metal and microbial contamination are also regularly tested in raw materials. When raw materials appear to be different than previous batches, they are sent for additional testing to affirm their potency. Of course, because AOR does not believe in adding masking agents and colours to make natural products look the same since their natural characteristics can change based on environmental factors, products may sometimes vary in the way they appear. But rest assured, AOR’s testing is some of the strictest in the industry, so you can be sure you are getting the high quality products that you expect.
Health-conscious individuals, radical life-extensionists, and health practitioners who incorporate orthomolecules and botanicals into their practice often work in new territory, outside of the bounds acknowledged by the medical establishment. To make judgements on which supplements will best support their health, individuals and their health care providers need clear, science-based literature to document a supplement’s benefits. Unfortunately, is far too common in the supplement industry to see wild claims made with no documentation, and product literature which is vague to the point of being void of meaning or which is written with assumptions about the reader’s intelligence which are frankly insulting.
AOR has always distinguished itself by providing high-quality literature to support its advanced formulations. Indeed, AOR recognizes that they have a special duty to provide research summaries that are both scientifically accurate and readily understood by practitioners and educated laypeople alike, because of the nature of our line. AOR’s supplements are so effective in large part because of the rigor of the science that backs them and the innovative use of novel ingredients – or forms of ingredients, or even applications of ingredients – with which few but specialist researchers are typically familiar. Compared to products based on repackaging established cash cows, AOR formulations require a higher degree of education to be used effectively.
To meet this need, AOR has consistently created literature which carefully backs up its claims, refusing to dumb down the science while taking care not to speak over the head of an intelligent lay audience with an interest in science and a willingness to engage with new ideas and to develop familiarity with new research developments.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
AOR is dedicated to continuing to advance the cause of healthy life extension through a continuous process of renewal, struggling against the forces that institutionalize stagnation in the supplement industry. Through novel, exclusive contract arrangements, AOR has repeatedly released natural biotechnologies only previously available to research laboratories, overthrowing the forces of inertia that keep revolutionary advances imprisoned in the ivory towers of research. AOR has put advanced new orthomolecules and botanicals into the hands of the natural health care provider, the health-conscious, the seeker of alternatives, and the radical life-extensionist.
A little more than a decade ago, AOR was created to bring something new to the Canadian supplement world: not just new supplements, but a new spirit. In a marketplace dominated by half-baked notions, slipshod product quality, and shoddy research, strive to remain true to a commitment to Innovative Research and Scientific Integrity – and to you. With our recent expansions into the United States and the UK, AOR is now forging new relationships with health-conscious consumers, retailers, and health care practitioners, who alone can ultimately choose to bring the fruits of AOR’s labors into your store, into your practice – and into your life.