Do multivitamins work? The role of standard multivitamins has been called into question lately. And it very well should be. Recent studies have questioned multivitamins usefulness and suggested their potential for harm. This is not surprising to doctors, who recognize the potential for side effects when multivitamins exceed the recommended doses of certain nutrients, like Vitamin A, which can actually be toxic, or heavy metals, which has erosive effects on health. Perhaps the more widespread danger of standard multivitamins is that they provide a false sense of security. People think they are taking a “nutritional insurance policy,” when in fact, they are like under-dosing the specific range of nutrients that they actually need to correct deficiencies and compensate for other health and lifestyle aspects of their profile. A standard multivitamin can be compared to a watered-down cocktail; alcohol certainly could make an impact on you, but in smaller amounts, it is likely to have no impact.
Does it make sense that ‘all men’ or ‘all women’ would have the same nutritional supplementation needs? Personalized vitamins challenge this assumption. This emerging product class recognizes the distinctiveness of individual needs, and creates products that are far more targeted and effectively dosed to meet those needs. Nearly all personalized vitamin companies start with an upfront digital assessment, or survey that captures data points on diet, fitness, health, demographics, and lifestyle. These data points go into an algorithm that navigates the individual to their personalized recommendation. The vast majority of personalized vitamin companies will assign a pill pack that compiles supplements of all shapes and sizes to meet those needs. The pill pack presents a challenge to many consumers. The handful of daily pills is cumbersome and expensive; nearly impossible for most people to keep up over years of vitamin consumption. A select group of personalized vitamin companies will blend liquids in a smoothie pouch or “Keurig-like” drink mix. Very few people want to start their day by drinking “vita-sludge” or have time in their morning routine to mix a liquid batch of vitamins. Plus, there are a number of nutrients that get diluted or delivered in a sub-optimal fashion when mixed in these methods. Finally, there is an approach that delivers an all-in-one personalized multivitamin in easy-to-swallow pill format. This approach is most similar to the standard multivitamin, while delivering the upside of personalization. The personalized all-in-one multivitamin tends to cost slightly more than a standard multivitamin, while costing far less than pill packs or liquid vitamins.
Importance Of A Daily Personalized Vitamin
There are widespread vitamin deficiencies due to several factors, such as skewed diets (e.g., keto, paleo, vegetarian), depleted nutrients in the soil, processed foods, reduced salt use, and chronic health conditions. Most individuals are Vitamin D deficient, and many people are lacking sufficient levels of iron. We do not consume meat the way we used to and we wear sunscreen and avoid the sun (for good, health reasons like skin cancer prevention). We may note symptoms of nutritional deficiencies like hair loss or fatigue. Alternatively, we may feel fine, but unaware of ongoing harm to our bodies, such as loss in our bone density, that may one day lead to osteoporosis.
So, why take a multivitamin?
- Nutritional Deficiencies: We are not perfect in our diets. Even the “healthiest” of eaters experience shortfalls in something– it may be Vitamin D, which is not readily found in most food sources.
- Low Vitamin Levels in the Food Supply: After years of poor farming practices the soil has bene demineralized and our fruits and vegetables are grown for shelf life and appearance not nutrients.
- We don’t eat the way we used to: While many of us have adopted healthier habits, this has resulted in lower levels of important nutrients such as iron (mostly found in red meat) and iodine (mostly found in table salt or processed foods).
- Feel Better: It turns out that many people feel much better once they start taking a multivitamin that is geared toward their individual needs.
Finding The Perfect Match
It is easy to look at select scientific studies of multivitamins and assume they do not work. Your doctor may not even be convinced that multivitamins work. Keep in mind, this assessment of multivitamins is looking at standard formulas, those watered-down, off-the-shelf formulas that are unlikely to shift your health status. Taking a small amount of a long list of “A to Z” ingredients is not necessarily the path to better health.
But, can personalized vitamins work? An all-in-one personalized multivitamin that is customized to your needs and properly dosed can make an impact on your health profile. Focusing on a tighter set of nutrients, curated for the individual, and up-dosing those nutrients that are most needed can have a positive impact. There are a number of factors that elevate the importance of a daily vitamin, but few products that are up to the task. Fortunately, this emerging category of personalized vitamins addresses the underlying need for a daily vitamin in a format that is customized to individual attributes. We encourage you to find your perfect match!