San Antonio, TX—Michael's Health, a national vitamin company known in the natural-foods industry for changing the way supplements are formulated, is turning 40.  

Founder Michael Schwartz, N.M.D., is credited with pioneering so-called synergistically blended supplements. These supplements, whether in tablet, capsule, powdered or liquid form, contain multiple ingredients that work most effectively when matched together in specific combinations and ratios.   

Introduced in 1984—the same year Schwartz founded his companysynergistically blended formulas are now the standard. Before then, typical supplements contained vitamins, minerals or some combination of the two, mixed perhaps with herbs. But their amounts generally were not meaningful: not sufficiently potent to promote vim, vigor and vitality in the body, according to Schwartz.  

Three years later, Schwartz brought gender-oriented supplements to the natural-foods marketplace, now promoted by all national brands.  

Michael Schwartz and Lily MajorsMichael Schwartz and Lily Majors

He started what ultimately became Michael’s Health while working as a body/mind and nutritional counselor at Major Health Foods in McAllen, Texas, where owner Lily Majors also was seeking natural remedies to support improved health.

Majors’ daughter, Jo Lynn Majors-Hasler, who now manages her mother’s store, recalls Schwartz looking at the store’s vitamin wall and wishing someone would put combinations of these ingredients together for one specific purpose, instead of just having a bottle of C or a bottle of A, and so on. 

“My mom looked at him and asked, ‘Why don’t you do it, Michael?’ 

“You could see the light come on in his eyes.”

With Lily’s blessing, Schwartz started his company in the back room of her store with $25 that she loaned him. By 1987, Michael’s had outgrown its space at Major’s and relocated to the Alamo City.  

The Dual Path to Synergistic Blends

Schwartz took a two-pronged approach to this task.  

He incorporated five basic naturopathic principles into the care regimens for each of his nutritional counseling clients:

  1. Find the cause of the imbalance within the body;
  2. Treat the whole person not just the visible symptoms—look for factors beyond the physical;
  3. Give the body what it needs to return to optimal health without causing harm—proper nutritional support, not drugs or other caustic treatments;
  4. Employ the nutrients found in nature to activate the body’s natural ability to heal itself; and
  5. Educate others on how to apply these principles to achieve balance and optimal health using nature’s gifts, such as the nutrients found in food.

He also kept meticulous notes on his clients’ progress—what worked well and what didn’t. Combining those principles and that data, he began to formulate products, initially for family and friends in need, before ultimately offering them to the public.  

He began with all-natural, therapeutic skin-care products that Schwartz claims were “so clean” one could “eat the salves and drink the lotions.” After the topicals came supplements in tablet, cap and powdered form, plus tinctures.

At one time, Michael’s catalog included some 80 products. Today it’s about 50. At its core are the Factors of Lifea group of 20 targeted programs formulated to naturally support the body’s organs, glands and systems. Included are perennial bestsellers Blood Pressure Factors, Kidney Factors, and both Teen Boys and Teen Girls Daily Multis. All are synergistic blends, most are vegetarian and many, certified kosher.  

Revisiting Naturopathic Principle #5—Educate Others

Majors-Hasler also recalls Schwartz being a dedicated teacher. “He would say, ‘First and foremost—educate.’ He took a complex message and made it easy to understand. He is a great teacher, and customers remember him,” she says.

“At least once a month, a customer will come into our store looking for his products. These days, they often want something to boost their immune system, like Quick Immune Response or even some of his original salves and lotions…products with ingenious names like RCTL Herbal Moisture Replenisher—you knew immediately what it did, and it worked!”

Owners and staff of health-food stores carrying the Michael’s line during the past four decades almost certainly met Schwartz when he came to their store to do product trainings. He regularly visited customers and prospective customers, and his breakfast, lunch and dinner trainings were legendary, according to those who took part. Even during the COVID pandemic, he offered phone or Zoom-call trainings to stores requesting them.  

Michael’s staff who have scheduled these trainings for him over the years estimate he did an average of 100 per year for at least 25 years. And, he still does them, though fewer. 

When he visits stores for trainings, Schwartz encourages the owner to offer in tandem a public lecture for consumers. By his estimates, he has done “about a thousand” of these. “Well, maybe that’s not an exact figure,” he laughs. “But certainly, it’s in the hundreds.”

“Add to them Michael’s radio-show appearances, podcasts, books and YouTube videos, and that reach becomes even more considerable,” according to Michael’s wife of some five decades, Phyllis, who Schwartz credits as being instrumental in both the founding and success of Michael’s Health.

“Both the man and the company remain committed to helping others,” she adds.     

Schwartz also has given his time and support to industry groups such as the Natural Products Association (NPA). From 2006-2010, he served on the organization’s board of directors, and in 2014, was honored by the Natural Products Association – Southwest for his 30 years of service to the health-food industry.  

Still Thriving, Still Family-Owned

These days, Schwartz says the numbers of family-owned health-foods businesses like Major Health Foods and Michael’s seem to have declined. 

“We’re grateful that so many of the mom-and-pop health-food stores that began as customers with us back in the 1980s remain in business, and that they are still with us today,” Schwartz adds. “It’s both gratifying and humbling. And we want them all to stay around because they are the foundation of American business.

“But some aspects of business—and life—inevitably change. No one can dispute the impact of big-box stores and e-commerce, particularly on small businesses. Our staff—which once numbered 35 to 40—is now about a third of that, with several positions lost to automated ordering systems, for stores that wish to use them.

“We have customers who still prefer to order personally, voice-to-voice. Most of them know our customer-support staff by name, and vice-versa,” Schwartz says. “It’s comforting to still have that special, personal interaction…an extension of our Michael’s Family. “

Yet, regardless of size or change, Schwartz stresses it’s still important to make the best product possible and offer good service. Above all, it’s imperative to stay true to your values and mission, he adds.  

The Next 40—Staying the Course    

Whatever occurs, Schwartz says his personal and professional mission will remain creating quality supplements that work and offering them at the best possible price for customers.

“While some in the supplements industry speak of ‘getting back to basics,’ Michael’s® has never gotten away from them; after 40 years, we remain determined to help the world find better health—one customer at a time.”  

Majors-Hasler, whose family-owned store turned 42 this January, agreed. “Treat people well, and do the right thing. Michael definitely embodies these traits and has brought integrity to our industry.”

Michael’s will observe its anniversary year by offering special promotions for independent, family-owned stores.  

Content provided by Michael’s Health. Michael’s Health products are sold throughout the United States and in several foreign countries via international distributors. For more information: visit or call 800-845-2730.

Related: Michael’s Health Natural Supplements Rebrands