Remember when all you thought you needed to round out your childhood diet was a tasty little Flintstones vitamin? Then, at some point, you likely graduated to a Centrum multivitamin and assumed it was addressing any holes in your daily nutrition. Even if you’ve splurged on a proprietary formula from an upscale brand, it’s still just a generic pill designed to meet the needs of the masses. Well, times have changed. Welcome to the bold new world of customized vitamins.
Why You Should Customize Your Vitamins
“Customized vitamins are a long-awaited innovation,” says board-certified internal medicine physician Arielle Levitan, MD, who co-founded Vous Vitamin with Romy Block, MD. “We’re all different with different diets, lifestyles, and health concerns, so why would we need to take the same things?”
Even though 70 percent of Americans report taking vitamins and supplements, a national survey by Wakefield Research found that only 7 percent consult a nutritionist or registered dietitian for guidance. And that means the vast majority may be taking vitamins they don’t need—and more importantly, missing out on some they do.
“There is great evidence for using certain vitamins in certain doses for people with certain needs,” says Levitan. “But this doesn’t apply the same to every person. It just makes sense to personalize your vitamins to your individual nutritional needs.”
5 Benefits of Customized Vitamins
Most Americans need at least some vitamins to balance out their diets. “Our food supply is low in nutrients, due to demineralization of the soil,” says Levitan. “And some vitamins—such as vitamin D3—aren’t easily obtained from food at all. The reason personalized vitamins make so much sense is that they are determined based on each person’s diet.” Here’s all the good that comes with a custom solution:
- Get exactly what you need. It all depends on your diet. Vegan diets often lack adequate iron and B vitamins, while keto diets are usually plentiful in iron, but less so in calcium and magnesium. If you’re picky about produce, you might need more vitamins A and C. A personalized regimen takes these factors into account.
- Avoid unnecessary vitamins. Taking too many vitamins, or the wrong vitamins, is not only a waste of money, it may actually be dangerous. A customized regimen gives you only what you need—no more and no less.
- Convenience. A customized vitamin provides all the nutrients you need in one pill, as opposed to mixing and matching lots of different supplements.
- Peace of mind. Ever wonder if your vitamins are actually doing anything? Taking a vitamin that’s tailored to your needs ensures that you’re efficiently filling in the gaps in your diet.
- Based on science. Many customized vitamin brands are created by medical professionals based on scientific data. This means that your needs will be met based on available medical data about which vitamins work—and in which doses—on an individual level.
How to Choose a Customized Vitamin
With more and more personalized vitamins available, it’s important to pick one you can trust. First, avoid any companies trying to “upsell” you with additional pills—particularly those who charge by the pill. And do some research. “Many companies make products with no oversight to verify the ingredients,” says Levitan. “Looking for GMP or USP certification is one way to guaranty some degree of quality.”
It’s also important to choose a brand that matches your needs, so consider one of the following popular options:
Best for simplicity: Vous Vitamin
This personalized multivitamin subscription uses an online health survey to match a customized vitamin to your lifestyle and health history. A computerized algorithm factors in demographic information, dietary factors, lifestyle, and health concerns for each customer. Vous also takes care in the creation of its formulations to ensure the ingredients complement each other and work synergistically—for example, when iron is included in a formulation, it’s paired with vitamin C to help with absorption. Everything you need comes in one tablet, and is meat- and dairy-free, non-GMO, and GMP-certified.
Best for on-the-go: Care/of
After you complete a simple quiz about your health goals and lifestyle, Care/of will recommend a personalized package that meets your needs. You’ll receive a monthly box of vitamins, supplements, and/or powders (including protein, collagen, and electrolytes), and can adjust your frequency at any time. The pills are wrapped in compostable, plant-based pouches that are perfect for throwing in your purse, pocket, or travel bag. And there’s even an app that reminds you when it’s time to take your vitamins.
Best for access to nutritionists: Persona Nutrition
A membership to Persona Nutrition not only provides doctor-approved vitamins and supplements delivered right to your door, it also comes with unlimited consultations with one of its 20 nutritionists. Customers can call, text, webchat, email, or schedule an appointment to discuss their health goals. Additionally, prospective customers can contact the team to get answers about the program before signing up. Finally, if you take other medications, Persona’s Medical Advisory Board cross-references more than 3,000 prescription medications to help customers avoid risky drug-nutrient side effects.