Industry remembers ‘Father of Indian Nutraceuticals’ Dr. Muhammad Majeed

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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For many, it was another year at Expo West. But behind all the hustle and bustle, the dietary supplement industry was grieving the loss of a man many refer to as a mentor, a father figure and an industry icon. Dr. Muhammad Majeed brought more than just Ayurvedic ingredients to the U.S., he brought an unmatched commitment to quality and introduced a level of scientific rigor that the industry hadn’t seen before.

In 1988, Dr. Majeed founded Sabinsa Corp., a research-oriented pharmaceutical and nutraceutical company, in New Jersey. In 1991, he set up the Sami Labs Ltd. research group in Bangalore, India, which combines manufacturing and global marketing of nutraceuticals and fine chemicals with cutting-edge research. In 1992, Dr. Majeed founded America’s Finest, Inc, a dietary supplement company specializing in ingredient-specific and condition-specific formulations with the company’s ingredients. In 2010, Dr. Majeed seized upon the direct-to-consumer business model and started Sami Direct to market his company’s ingredients in consumer product goods.

“Today is a very sad day for us. Dr. Majeed was not only a mentor but a father figure to all of us at Sabinsa Corporation. He built his legacy with honesty, integrity, as well as his mentorship. He has been a mentor to many of the people in the industry. He was the first person in the industry to bring standardized extracts into the U.S. market. He was an educator, an intellectual person who used to always help others and was a kind person. He has left a legacy not only as a human being but also as a scientist. To his core, he was a scientist. And he loved to research, do R&D, and to work for the betterment of the natural industry,” said Ahmed Khan, VP of sales and marketing at Sabinsa.

“I feel like Dr. Majeed and I kind of grew up together in the industry. I remember the meetings, what we talked about. Sabinsa will be known as the company that does research on the ingredients. Their whole thing was modern science, validating, ancient tradition, Ayurvedic tradition. And it was really wonderful to be part of that. Back in those days, ingredients suppliers didn't do research—they just borrowed other people's,” said longtime Sabinsa publicist Suzanne Shelton, founder of the Shelton Group.

“Sabinsa is the first Indian company to receive the ABC Varro E Tyler Award, which we gave to him last year in 2023, or we gave to the company to honor his work and his legacy. So I have a great deal of respect and admiration for his commitment to science and to commitment to clinical research on his various herbal extracts. One of Dr. Majeed's legacy components would be his insistence on quality and research. And he stands out as being the first company in India—that we recognize anyway. But I think he has been a leader in the Indian phyto-pharmaceutical industry because he's been making extracts for foods, for dietary supplements, for the pharmaceutical industry, for the cosmetic industry.  And the quality of his product has always been as far as I know, considered top notch,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder & executive director at the American Botanical Council. 

“And then he did something a lot of people were too scared to do. He actually defended his IP. He realized IP matters. The patents that you have, if you don't defend them, they're worthless. So he defended his patents, and he created the preeminent curcumin in this industry. All the curcumin you see on the trade show floor, it's all ‘me too’ compared to his C3 Complex. And that's the serious form of flattery that everybody is trying to do what he did. And nobody quite compares to that, he was the original. And nobody has as much science as he had behind that product. And so he created the atmosphere of science being more important than fluff. And so his legacy is science matters and standardization is real,” said Jeff Lind, former Sabinsa CEO.

With well over 400 distinguished patents, Dr. Majeed is internationally recognized for his commitment to science and research. But the founder of the Sami Sabinsa Group also gained a reputation for being passionate—even outspoken at times—and a fighter for what he believed in. 

“He was just a tenacious pitbull when he had an idea. It was just he wouldn't let it go. And he would try this way, he would try that way, he wasn't afraid to fail. He wasn't afraid to fail fast and then continue to try to figure out the right way to get to the solution that he was looking for. I always admired that about him. It's not that he never took no for an answer, but when his conviction was there—just get out of his way,” said Todd Norton, former Sabinsa COO.

During his lifetime, both Dr. Majeed and the companies he created were often recognized for his achievements. Among his many accolades, Dr. Majeed was named NutraIngredients’ NutraChampion in 2018​ for his pioneering work in the dietary supplements industry. 

Dr. Majeed’s scientific literature contributions include more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers, including four book chapters in leading scientific journals. He has authored or co-authored 15 books describing the history and benefits of multiple herbal extracts and the research into their beneficial compounds.

In addition to being a scientist, Dr. Majeed was a philanthropist. The Dr. Majeed Foundation, launched 20 years ago, gave children and women the opportunity to play a vital role in the socio-economic growth of the world. The Foundation facilitates a support base for children from poor families in India for their education. It has also made significant financial contributions to state and central Government aid programs and funded and organized food deliveries to underserved communities in India during the Covid pandemic and natural disasters.

Dr. Majeed is succeeded as Chairperson of the Sami-Sabinsa Group by his daughter Dr. Anju Majeed, director and senior scientist. He is survived by his daughters Anju and Sami, his son Shaheen, and grandchildren Rizwan, Johara, Nasneen, Ramses, Sunayna, Rajah and Maximo.

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