Women In Wellness: Dr Sarah Rahal of ARMRA Colostrum On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
It’s a lonely job: Having built my business as a solo founder, it’s very survival in every responsibility and decision falls to my shoulders. It’s a heavy and lonely load to carry. I spent the first year and a half of the business physically solo, researching and developing our IP, but even as I built my business and hired people around me, ultimately nobody will every be as invested or bear the burden as you did. Curate your support system early on.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sarah Rahal, MD.
Sarah Rahal, MD is the CEO and Founder of ARMRA Colostrum. She is a double board-certified pediatric neurologist with expertise in environmental and functional medicine. Dr. Rahal founded ARMRA with a mission to minimize the modern environmental impact on human health and empower others with a simple, accessible tool that anyone can use to meaningfully transform their foundational health.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I am a physician with an expertise in functional medicine and environmental health. Prior to founding ARMRA, I spent most of my career as a pediatric neurologist specializing in headache and facial pain in children running a busy practice in NY. It was during this time, witnessing the boom in chronic disease in young kids and also struggling with my own gut health issues, that I uncovered the troubling role the modern environment played.
Our genes didn’t suddenly mutate; the surge in health issues we’re seeing can be traced back to an environment that rapidly changed over the past few decades with unprecedented pollutants in the air we breathe, pesticides and anti-nutrient ingredients in our food system, and unregulated chemicals in our body and home care products. They drive inflammation and we see a surge of autoimmune problems, allergies, digestive complaints, mental fog, bloating, sleep problems, and skin issues because of it.
While researching colostrum, I discovered a natural, whole food powered by over 200+ exclusive peptides, antibodies, growth factors, and bioactive molecules that had the power to strengthen the body’s defense against these modern exposures and restore foundational health. Over 5,000 research publications attested to its health benefits. And I wondered — why didn’t everybody know about it already?
ARMRA is a brand I founded with a mission to empower any person with a simple, accessible tool that can meaningfully improve her foundational health and free her to live her fullest life. My goal was not only to introduce colostrum to the mass market, but to create the best version for human health. ARMRA utilizes proprietary low-temperature technology to protect all of these bioactive nutrients in their most natural and bioavailable form and removes the dairy compounds that humans don’t need. What’s created is the most pure and potent colostrum concentrate available and one that you can easily incorporate into your own daily routine. Our innovation is entirely around preserving and protecting the integrity of colostrum, which mother nature has already spent millions of years honing for health. Rather than overengineer, as so much tech in the industry is now focused on doing, we respect the wisdom inherent in the raw, natural product.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
In starting a business, you usually have an idea of who your target audience is going to be, and how your product is going to be used, but you have to be open minded. I initially thought that our product was going to be a one-stop shop for the whole family; an immunity supplement that mom’s would purchase and feel good about, to protect the health of their loved ones. Because it addresses such a foundational pathway in the body, the mucosal barriers, the benefits of ARMRA Colostrum extend well beyond just immune health. But after we launched Immune Revival, our first product, we were surprised how many people were writing in to share other benefits they were experiencing. We had a host of testimonials around allergy benefits and many customers were leveraging it for longstanding gut issues, to improve their energy and focus, hair growth, and for fitness and performance enhancement, as the growth factors support lean muscle building and workout recovery. I learn so much from my customers — many even used ARMRA topically for anti-aging skin benefits. It shifted my entire perspective on who the brand could serve. We could meet customers where they were to address very common health pain points. When starting a business it’s important to be very decisive — but not tie your ego to the decisions. Assume every decision you make is wrong so make it your goal to discover you’re wrong as quickly as possible.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Bovine colostrum evolved 300 million years ago and has been harnessed for its health benefits for thousands of years dating back to Ayurvedic medicine. It was used to treat infections before the advent of antibiotics and is clinically backed by thousands of peer-reviewed research publications. It addresses a foundational pathway in the body and is safe for all ages, effective with a long track record of use. However, it remains largely unknown to the mass consumer.
With ARMRA, I aimed to change that. We developed a proprietary, pure bovine colostrum concentrate rich in over 200+ functional, bioactive nutrients that acts as a blueprint for the body’s optimal functioning. Our innovation utilizes low temperature technology to protect the integrity of all of the fragile bioactive molecules, while also removing unnecessary dairy compounds, like casein. This ensures the most potent and bioavailable product on the market and the only one optimized for human health. Because of our process, independent research showed that ARMRA Colostrum conferred 32% stronger antibacterial immune protection than other colostrums. We source exclusively from grass fed cows on family-owned dairy farms throughout the US using by upcycling excess colostrum — to ensure that baby calves get fed all they need before any colostrum is collected.
The body has the powerful ability to heal itself when equipped with the right nutrients to do so. I saw an opportunity to address the health challenges posed by the modern environment with an ancient superfood that was uniquely suited for the task. A safe, effective, and accessible tool that could meaningfully improve the health of anyone who took it — infant, child, or adult — for around $1 a day. At scale, the societal impact could be massive.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Commit to a small change. And look to yourself, not others, for guidance — People often set lofty goals for what they want their health routine to look like. And they often base it on what they’ve seen work for other people. But behavior change is personal. Incorporating a small change into your already-established daily routine is more likely to stick, and small changes stack up over time.
- But first — subtract — I think the focus is often around what things can you add to your life to contribute to your wellness, but for me I find it far more impactful when I find things to take away. It’s “via negativa” or wisdom through subtraction. I consider my attention my most critical resource and putting tighter guardrails around what I allow to grab my attention has made the biggest difference in my overall wellness. That may mean: getting much more comfortable saying “no” to bids for my time so that I have breathing room in my daily calendar or a complete digital detox.
- The sun is your friend — We’ve been bombarded by messaging that demonizes the sun as something we need protection from. While sunburn is problematic and dangerous, daily unprotected exposure to the sun is essential for optimal health. Not only does it trigger synthesis of Vitamin D (which >80% of the population suffers from with catastrophic health consequences), but sunshine also promotes the release of serotonin, melatonin, endorphins, and sex hormones which means better mood, better sleep, and better sex.
- Be aware of what goes in and on your body: If you don’t know, the Environmental Working Group just released their 2022 Dirty Dozen that is a great place to start. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php. They are also an essential resource for identifying potentially toxic ingredients in common bath and home cleaning products.
- Trust your body — There is no greater chemist than mother nature. At ARMRA our goal is to empower people to live with vitality. The body has the powerful ability to heal itself when equipped with the right nutrients to do so.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I have, it’s called ARMRA Colostrum. I saw an opportunity to address the health challenges posed by the modern environment with an ancient superfood that was uniquely suited for the task. A safe, effective, and accessible tool that could meaningfully improve the health of anyone who took it — infant, child, or adult — for around $1 a day. At scale, the societal impact could be massive.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- It’s a lonely job: Having built my business as a solo founder, it’s very survival in every responsibility and decision falls to my shoulders. It’s a heavy and lonely load to carry. I spent the first year and a half of the business physically solo, researching and developing our IP, but even as I built my business and hired people around me, ultimately nobody will every be as invested or bear the burden as you did. Curate your support system early on.
- Whatever you think about yourself, be ready to dispose of it: Until I started my business I didn’t realize how important it was to not believe everything you think about yourself. I’d always considered myself a risk-averse person. But then here I was, leaving a stable job as a physician to take a leap building a highly risky business in the hopes that I could serve more people than I ever could 1 on 1 in my practice. I had no “formal” training, and yet here I was figuring it out, flexing creative muscles, teaching myself to code, and navigate a supply chain, and tell better stories. It was a forcing mechanism to manifest different versions of myself and then see who I was in a new light.
- People will think you’re delusional, it means you’re on the right track: When you do something category-building there isn’t necessarily an analog to point to in the market. Frankly, I was staking my professional and personal reputation on an ingredient and claims that most people (including my medical colleagues) were not familiar with and so, considered “snake oil.” But if you stay in your lane, conform, and see things like everybody else does there is no path to innovate and progress. You have to be bold and irreverent to the convention, and that means people are going to think you’re crazy — seeing an opportunity that others don’t see and having a maniacal focus on something that doesn’t yet exist. Keep going.
- Being busy doesn’t mean you’re getting things done: The more demanding the business became the more I had to learn to build boundaries around my attention, which is any founder’s most prized and non-renewable asset. Everyone will vie for your time, but I don’t view openings on my calendar as invitations to be scheduled. My mind works best uncluttered and I’ve gotten a lot more bold with “no” as my default response so that I can better curate my attention towards things that are value-add, which sometimes means empty space to think.
- You can write your own playbook: I built my business with a groundbreaking product, spurred by a paradigm-shiting health approach, leveraging out-of-the-box fundraising and an unconventional team structure. We forged our own path to success and it was by opting out of conventional wisdom on many of these fronts. There is no “right way” to get things done. Unless most things in life, I think this is an area where you commit to the outcome not the process, and just keep problem-solving until you get there.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Environmental changes most certainly. But while most focus has largely centered around ways to clean up the environment, the sad reality is that we also need protection from the environment in the meantime. Today 54% of children have a chronic disease diagnosis. In the 1960’s it was 1.6%. Our genes didn’t suddenly mutate; all these health issues are being driven by an environment that rapidly changed over the past few decades with unprecedented pollutants in the air we breathe, pesticides and anti-nutrient ingredients in our food system and unregulated chemicals in our body and home care products. They drive inflammation and we see a surge of autoimmune problems, allergies, digestive complaints, mental fog, bloating, sleep problems and skin issues because of it. My own experience suffering severe gut health issues as a consequence of these modern conditions was itself a driving force for the genesis of ARMRA.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Follow us along at @tryarmra.com.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!
Women In Wellness: Dr Sarah Rahal of ARMRA Colostrum On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.