Personalized Supplements -- worth the price tag?
Personalized vitamins and supplements have become a massive trend over the last few years, and the conveniently packaged “made just for you” products don’t seem to be losing any steam. Brands like Baze, Persona, and Care/of vitamins have been some of the biggest names in personalized supplements. These products promise daily vitamins catered to your exact health needs, lifestyle, and dietary habits, so you can avoid the one-size-fits-all nature of traditional multivitamins. However, they tend to boast a higher price tag than the classic Flinstones vitamins in your bathroom cabinet -- so, are they worth the cost?
Personalized vitamin and supplement companies tend to have you start by filling out a health survey. This gives the brand insight into your goals, any concerns you have with your health, and how you typically eat. This provides one major bonus: You’re recommended the exact vitamins and minerals that you’re diet lacks and told what to take to address your individual concerns (e.g. hair growth, gut health, etc...)
Many traditional multivitamins attempt to cater to everyone by containing as many vitamins and minerals as possible -- some of which you may not need, or may already be getting in excessive through your diet. Taking a personalized vitamin regime instead may help you to avoid overdoing it while getting the nutrients you’re actually deficient in.
Some vitamins and supplements aimed at specific concerns, like sex drive or athletic performance, contain dangerous chemicals and additives that you really don’t want to be ingesting in excess. In these senses, a personalized supplement may be safer and more effective than anything you’d find on the shelf -- provided it’s being monitored by actual doctors and dieticians.
It’s hard to talk about personalized supplements without touching on the biggest accessibility issues: the price and availability. Many of these companies offer their surfaces at a steeper rate than buying the individual vitamins and combining them would cost you. However, what you get for the cost is the advice and recommendations of a dietician behind the screen, something you may not otherwise have easy access to.
Multivitamin regimes, in general, have not been consistently evidenced to prevent disease. So, even taking a personalized supplement pack may not do you that much good in the long term. It can be just as useful to speak to a doctor about your diet, and what you may be lacking (along with any physical symptoms you suspect your food might be the culprit for) and investigate individual supplements suited to your needs.
Personalized supplements are unlikely to do you much harm, and if they are within your price range they can be a great resource to round out a balanced, varied diet. Even if you don’t have any active deficiencies, boosting your intake of certain basic vitamins, minerals, and folates may improve your health and well-being overall at a very low-effort level. Additionally, these vitamins are likely to reduce your risk of interactions or duplications between ingredients. The individual pills may also be helpful if you develop any sensitivities over the course of your routine, in which case you can simply omit the problematic pill from your vitamin routine.
However, if the adorably packaged daily packs aren’t within your budget, no worries. Opt to speak with a doctor or dietician when you can, or do your own due diligence to identify weak spots in your diet. Some of the most common deficiencies in the US are iron, B12 and B9 folates, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. You can start by identifying what kinds of fruits and vegetables you already eat regularly, and what doses of each essential nutrient you’re actually getting. Then, find the places you’re lacking and either supplement your diet with additional foods or pick up a low-dose vitamin to address any concerns.
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