The Amazing History of GNLD

Don Pickett : The Founder of Neo-Life in 1959

Gerry Brassfield: Owner of GNLD

The Formula IV Story

The Origin of GNLD is intertwined with the Story of Formula IV so this is where we start.

Refining of Grains

Few factors have had the impact on modern life that the simple refining of grains has had. Refining of foods set the stage for the widespread malnutrition we see about us on every side in the modern world.


The steel roller mill was developed in Hungary in the 1880's. This piece of equipment made it possible to grind wheat berries into a flour finer than had ever been possible. Fine white flour had always been a luxury of the elite, but it now became available to the common man. In the making of white flour, the bran, germ, and other “rough” parts of the grain are removed and fed to animals. The fine white flour is used in pastries and bread for man. It had been observed since the time of Sylvester Graham in the early 1800's that the refining of grains caused a deterioration in health. Graham, a pastor, thundered to his audiences that “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”


The bran of rice began to be removed around the same time that the refining of wheat was perfected. White rice caused epidemics of beri-beri in the orient. The Japanese navy suffered so severely from beri-beri that they lost as much as a third of their naval personnel every year until white rice was removed from shipboard rations.


Less well known is the fact that the outer hull of the soybean is removed when tofu is made. The outer hull of the soybean has valuable nutritional properties.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Nutrition investigators such as Weston A. Price began to notice and document modern malnutrition around the time of the second world war. Price noted loss of physical stamina, reproductive problems, and dental deterioration in his classic Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Francis Pottenger, Price's contemporary, demonstrated that malnutrition of animals could cause allergies, asthma, arthritis, fatigue, and glandular problems. By the 1950's the results of malnutrition were so widespread that patients were flooding into the hospitals complaining of fatigue and exhaustion. This generation was the offspring of parents and grandparents who sawed forests and dug ditches by hand with little help from modern machinery. They sensed that there was something wrong. Physicians, however, could find nothing wrong with these people. Documenting the Problem Just prior to WWII Professor Jaroslov Heyrovsky developed an instrument called the polarigraph. This equipment made it possible for the first time to measure very small quantities of substances in solution including hormones in blood and urine. Heyrovsky won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1959 for developing this piece of equipment.

Researchers at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital were given a research grant by the federal government. They purchased a polarigraph and began conducting urine analysis of patients to determine if glandular or other abnormalities were responsible for the widespread fatigue patients were reporting to their physicians. Studies indicated that patients often suffered from marginal glandular output or unbalanced glandular output. Being able to demonstrate that there is a problem and being able to correct the problem are two different things. The researchers soon learned that vitamins, minerals, and amino acids did very little to improve the glandular measurements they were observing. The researchers actually tested 76 different supplements.

Developing a Supplement

Strangely, foods did not seem to be able to correct the problem either. The researchers did have one clue to the solution of the problem. Feeding experiments had demonstrated that both the pelts of mink and their re- productive capacity could be improved by the addition of wheat germ extracts to the diet. When researchers began to investigate food processing, they learned that significant parts of wheat, rice and soy are removed in processing as we discussed earlier. They began working on a concentrate of the oils from these foods, seeking specifically the oils which might influence glandular function and cell membrane function. The result was “Tre-en-en”—extracts from three sources (wheat, rice, and soy). Tre-en-en is Greek for “three in one.” When tre-en-en was added to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids significant improvements were observable in the polarigraph studies on patients. The researchers found that younger patients responded more rapidly to the supplement formulation they had developed. Older patients also benefited, although the response was slower. Major benefits of the supplement formulation often required 8-12 weeks of consistent use.


The researchers next asked themselves the question, “Will the supplement we have developed benefit the healthiest segment of the population?” Tests were begun on athletes including the Iowa State College Football team and the Cleveland Browns. The Browns went from a season of 5 wins and 7 loses in 1956 to a season with 9 wins, 2 loses, and one tie in 1957 when the supplement was added to the diet of the players. They also had 9 wins and 3 loses in 1958. Leo Murphy, the trainer, noted that prior to supplementation the team tended to let down in the second half of the game. With supplementation they seemed to get stronger in the second half. (Columbus Citizen, Oc- tober 31, 1957)

It was in manufacturing the supplement for athletes that the many different nutritional components being used in the supplement program were concentrated into one tablet. This made it much easier and more convenient to use. The Supplement Comes to Market Wally was president of a Lion's Club in Portland. His business was wholesaling coal. His wife suffered terribly with rheumatoid arthritis. One day a medical detail man visiting The lion's club suggested that Wally move to southern California and en- roll his wife in the research project. He did so and over a period of 2 ½ years she went into remission. Wally began working as a medical detail man reporting on the research which was going on to doctors. The research concluded in 1958. Wally and his wife told the researchers that they did not want to lose the availability of the grain and legume extracts because of the benefits in their own family situation. The head researcher turned the formulation over to the Wally and said, “If you take this supplement and share it with people, you will be doing something 16 times more important than we doctors do, because “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Wally joined forces with another man named Don Pickett and began a company called “Neo-Life” which suggested the “new life” people would experience when they began using this revolutionary supplement.

Wally's inclination was to sell the supplement to physicians and have them share the benefits with their patients. Unfortunately, physicians simply were not interested in working with nutrition.

Wally stepped out of the company at this point. Don thought about the marketing and realized that if the company were to be successful he would have to pay people to take the time to explain the difference between this supplement and the other 76 which had not been shown to be adequate in the 12 years of research con ducted at the hospital. This is how the supplement, now called Formula IV, came to be sold person to person rather than sitting on a health food store shelf.

Animal Studies

Don Pickett was also responsible for initiating animal experiments in which rats were given the supplement. Rats given the Formula IV exhibited vastly superior health compared to animals given standard laboratory chow. Cardiovascular and overall development were significantly greater in animals given the Formula IV. Nutrient utilization increased 50% when the grain oils were added to the diet. The oil extracts actually improve the ability to derive nutrition from the foods we eat. The Chain of Life Roger Williams expressed the concept of the “Chain of Life” in his book Nutrition Against Disease. Don Pickett had the insight to see that this concept was a perfect description of what the re- searchers in southern California had accomplished.

The Formula IV was the first supplement to contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and a substantial quantity of essential lipids and sterols (quality oils) which would support both cell membrane function and also glandular functioning. The “Chain of Life” presentation became a standard part of company training. Distributors emphasized that “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Almost all supplements, even today, lack the quality of oils found in Formula IV. An extension of the “chain of life” concept was emphasis on nutrition being a cellular event. Nutrition is not what we eat, but what the cells actually receive. For proper nutrition to take place we must obtain adequate nutrients, digest them, absorb them, circulate them, assimilate the nutrients and eliminate waste products. Neo-Life supplements were designed with this nutritional concept in mind. All products were tested for digestibility. An artificial digestive tract was set up for these studies.

The First Customer

The first meeting to promote the new supplement took place at the Crystal Ballroom in Salt Lake City. Don and Wally were hoping for a large turnout, but only a handful of people showed up.Among the least promising of these was a little man who worked at a condiment factory. He had a secret, however. Fred Alldredge had a wife at home so stricken with rheumatoid arthritis that he had to go home on his lunch hour and turn her over. They had tried all kinds of vitamins, but nothing had restored Jeanne's health. Fred was low on cash, partially due to all the health expenditures he had with his wife. He wrote Don Pickett a bad check for 3 boxes of Formula IV. He figured he could get out and sell two boxes to pay for his own before Don could get to the bank. He was wrong. They had many good laughs over this incident through the years. The product gradually restored Jeanne's health, so much so that decades later she did not even show any rheumatoid factor in her blood. Fred went on to share the product with many people. In one month he sold $143,000 worth of Formula IV to those he came in contact with. This was around 1960 when that was a tremendous sum of money. (It would be several million dollars in sales in today's currency.) The product seemed to work for everyone who tried it. The company grew dramatically, its growth fueled by the stories of what the product had done for those who purchased it.

Lucille's Story

It was during this time that we became involved with the company. Lucille McAfee fell down and broke her elbow. The doctor told her she had “bones like a little old lady.” This was quite a shock for a woman who was 44 years old. Lucille had seen her grandmother die of complications from a broken hip. Lucille decided to try some of the “pills and powders” (Formula IV and Protein). She felt a sudden burst of energy which was quite a contrast to the years of fatigue she had experienced. She enrolled 27 of her “tired” friends as distributors her first month. When she returned to the physician to have her arm examined, he was impressed with how rapidly healing had taken place. He asked if she could obtain some of the supplement for himself and his nurse. This further fueled Lucille's enthusiasm for the product.

A Worldwide Company

Don Pickett had a special affection for Neo-Life. He chose to turn the company over to two international businessmen, Bob and Jerry Brassfield, when he retired. Bob and Jerry expanded operations into over fifty countries. They merged their two companies with Neo-Life. Thus the name became Golden Neo-Life Diamite (GNLD). Today customers in any of over 50 countries can obtain GNLD's exclusive grain and legume concentrates or specially processed protein products.

And that's the story of where GNLD!!

- Permission granted by Jim McAfee ( to use this article.