On April 13, 2017, Jack Challem, bestselling author and beloved figure in the natural products industry, passed way after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 66. Born May 29, 1950, he will be remembered for many contributions, including ushering in science-based nutrition reporting in the natural products industry.
Armed with a B.A. and graduate work in sociology and psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, some of his earliest science reporting work was for the Los Alamos National Laboratory near Sante Fe, New Mexico throughout the 1980s.
His over 20 books, many of which were bestsellers, included Feed Your Genes Right, No More Fatigue, Stop Prediabetes Now, Syndrome X, The Food-Mood Solution and The Inflammation Syndrome.
A health and science writer for 43 years, Challem launched the eponymous The Nutrition Reporter newsletter in 1992. In recent years, Challem was a personal nutrition coach and recognized fine art photographer in the Tucson, AZ area.
In a 2011 interview, Challem told Richard Passwater, Ph.D., that his original training in sociology and psychology influenced how he approached nutrition. “For example, the way we eat does not exist in a vacuum. Eating habits are shaped by upbringing, education, peer pressure, advertising, stress and other factors,” said Challem.
He was a member of the American Society for Nutrition and was a columnist for the journal Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. His scientific articles appeared in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Medical Hypotheses, Psychology Today and other journals.
He wrote articles for consumer periodicals, as well, including Alternative Medicine, Better Nutrition, Let’s Live, Modern Maturity, Natural Solutions, and WellBella and was featured or quoted in all major natural products industry magazines.
Close Tucson-area friend, Deb Angel, said: “He was a genius in his field—he understood biochemistry like no one else I have run across, and missed his calling as a physician, which I told him he should have pursued. He recommended products that worked better than prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and the nutrition industry has suffered a huge loss, as I have personally as well.” He is survived by his son Evan Challem and many cousins.