More than half of Americans take vitamins or other dietary supplements,and in 2015 alone, they spent $21 billion on them. So it’s no surprise that a group of new companies are trying to get into the supplement game, promising vitamin regimens that are personalized to each customer’s needs. You've got our attention!
Zenamins, MultiplyLabs and VitaMe are just three of the many start-up companies that offer these kinds of customized and personalized vitamin packs on a subscription basis that range in cost from a $25 two week trial to a flat fee of $39.95 per month for up to five specially formulated pills. By filling out a questionnaire that asks about goals, lifestyle, values and family health history, the companies are able to customize a packet of pills and capsules that target specific concerns.
This trend in personalized subscription vitamins hit a fever pitch when, guess who, Gwyneth Paltrow launched Goop Wellness last Spring. Known to many as the go-to guru for all things cool, Paltrow’s vitamin and supplement regimens which are tailored to women’s needs, claim to help soften a multitude of ailments from fatigue to weakened immune systems and the perils of aging. The cost: $90 per kit or $75 if you subscribe monthly. And the company claims they sold over $100,000 of merchandise on their first day.
But do we need personalized vitamin regimens? Probably not. “All critical vitamins and nutrients are contained in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat meat and dairy products,” says board-certified internist, Dr. Robert Huizenga. “Except for folic acid supplementation in pregnancy, there is no good evidence for health benefits from vitamins.” And a recent study at John Hopkin's showed there’s no proof of benefit, but evidence of possible harm from high doses of certain vitamin supplements.
I guess the cutest of the pack is Care/of. Care/of delivers personalized daily vitamin packs directly to customer doorsteps after receiving information on-site about goals, health and lifestyle. The platform then generates recommendations, which consumers can add or remove to their daily packs. Care/Of promises top quality ingredients with scientific advisors from Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts Human Nutrition Center on Aging.
Many doctors discourage the use of vitamins in most cases and some studies show vitamins can have negative side effects and the false belief that vitamins can prevent the negative health effects of a lousy diet may encourage poor eating habits.
There's something to be said about good design here too. At first glance since all these companies are doing similar things I can at least look good while taking my vitamins. That said Goop and Care/of have our money if we aim to feel good inside and outside. What's more custom than having your name on your vitamins?