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5 Reasons Clinical Research Matters for the Natural Products Industry

IT'S NOT THE NORM to invest in clinical research on natural products like ours. The impact of natural products is hard to quantify, leading to a lack of understanding of how and if they work. So, when we set out to build Hilma, we knew we wanted to invest in clinical studies on our products to show you the results—keep reading to learn more about why we took the leap, and why it matters for the industry.

5 reasons we care about clinical research (and you should, too!)

Dr. Soyona Rafatjah, Hilma’s scientific advisor and the Principal Investigator on its three clinical studies, explains the challenges involved in clinical research: “There is a substantial cost involved with doing clinical research, and most companies don’t have the ability to invest that type of capital into doing it, It’s complicated, and building a team of scientists to help with clinical studies is not a simple task.” And since it’s notoriously difficult to patent natural products, there’s no guarantee that the time and money spent will pay off.

SO WHY DO IT?

1. Clinically studied ingredients only tell part of the story.

Chances are, there are a few products already in your medicine cabinet, skincare routine, or makeup bag that tout clinically studied ingredients. And that’s great. “Clinical research helps us to understand the effects the products have on the body,” explains Dr. Rafatjah. But there’s an important difference between clinically studied ingredients and clinical research on finalized formulations. “When you study one component of something like an herb, you’re studying the effect in isolation.”

2. It's important to study how ingredients work together.

“Herbs tend to work synergistically, meaning when combined, they actually enhance and improve the effects of each other,” Dr. Rafatjah says. So without studying that relationship between ingredients, you’re relying on a bit of guesswork. “It’s even more beneficial to study a finalized formulation of various natural ingredients, so that we don’t have to assume or infer what the combined effects might be.”

3. We want to be confident in our results beyond the petri dish.

Clinical studies are considered scientifically rigorous because they use human volunteers (versus research that can be done in a lab). So for real results, we turned to real people. We opted for single-group studies as our foundational research type, a form of study in which people meeting pre-defined criteria are provided the test product and monitored for responses. The next step for further investment would be randomized controlled trials comparing participants who took the test product directly to placebo.

4. You deserve to check out our research for yourself.

We knew our products would be ‘backed by science’ from the start why we built a board of scientific advisors and formulated our products based on the existing research. But that’s just the beginning. Clinical research is a stamp of approval that the results we see and the results you tell us about in reviews are consistent. That stamp of approval should be yours to see! Not only did we commit to registering our full clinical studies on clinicaltrials.gov in order to assure transparency, the methodology and results are right here for you to dig into. “As an Integrative Medical Doctor, I regularly use natural products with my patients,” Dr. Rafatjah says. “Being able to see Hilma’s study results make me, as both a consumer and practitioner, more inclined to use one product which was studied over another which was not.”

5. Clinical research on natural products should be the new norm.

So we’ve got to walk the walk. “While many claims are made about what supplements and natural products can do, most of them are not clinically studied,” Dr. Rafatjah says. “I believe every supplement or over-the-counter product company should be rigorously studying the effects of their products. This is the scientifically recognized way that we are able to trust how products affect real people both in terms of functionality and safety.”

The more natural brands do this testing, the more everyone benefits—and the more we can all feel good about how we feel better.

Read more on our clinical studies here.

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