Beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing until the Great War, British consumers concerned with protecting or increasing their health were presented with a new and exciting product. Labeled “Plasmon,” this milk-based protein supplement promised to build nerve and flesh in equal measure. Used by explorers, scientists, athletes, and physical culturists, not to mention mothers and schoolchildren, Plasmon was marketed as a marvel of the modern age. Health foods had existed prior to Plasmon’s emergence, but none matched its advertising range. Citing Plasmon as a pivotal step in the transition from health foods to body-building supplements more generally, it is argued that Plasmon utilized ideas of science, gender, and sporting celebrity to promote its value to the British public. Though short-lived, Plasmon’s time in Britain predated the current supplement industry by nearly a century. Its study addresses a dearth in the literature regarding one of the most profitable sporting markets of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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