Science

Inside the Making of Our 50+ Multivitamin

3 min read

Inside the making of our 50+ multivitamin—and why it's an ideal way to support your health post-menopause.
Inside the making of our 50+ multivitamin—and why it's an ideal way to support your health post-menopause.

Even with the launch of our first multivitamin, and then our prenatal, we’ve always had our eye on one product in particular—and that’s a postmenopausal multivitamin for women over 50.

Because think about it: “Half of a woman's life (or typically more) is after menopause,” notes Dr. Luke Bucci, our former VP of R&D. As our founding scientist, creating a multi to support women through this often unsung life stage was always top of mind. “We noticed that the actual nutrient needs and shortfalls of women over 50 were not always being addressed. We noticed gaps between what was known and what was missing or imbalanced in many products available.”

The result, of course, was Essential for Women 50+—a multivitamin with eight nutrients designed to help fill nutrient gaps of postmenopausal women and support healthy aging from within. Another way of putting it? So many of the women over 50 we’ve spoken to feel more amazing than ever, and we wanted to create something that would help support you as you take life on.*

Food first.

Putting daily nutrition first is the driving force behind how we formulate our multivitamins. In other words, we believe in putting diet first, and then using our multivitamin to help fill gaps. That’s important for women of all ages. “We always wanted to give women over 50 the same attention as we gave women 18-50 years," says Dr. Luke. "Needs change with age, which means that we required a different formula.”

But let’s get into some specifics. “Fact: Nutrient shortfalls affect a considerable number of women over 50,” notes Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, and Ritual’s Senior Director of Scientific Affairs. “We carefully assessed the dietary intake of women over 50+, included key nutrients that were most under-consumed and left out nutrients they were typically getting enough or more than enough from their diet.”

One example is iron. While we recommend that women pre-menopause supplement with iron to support regular menstruation (as well as pregnancy), when someone is postmenopausal, it’s a lot easier to meet your recommended daily iron needs through diet alone. (You can find it in foods like spinach and other leafy greens, meat, seafood, beans, tofu, eggs, and broccoli.)*

“American women over 50 typically consume more than the recommended 8 mg iron from their diet,” says Sharafi. “So removing iron from the formula felt like a non-negotiable.”*

Let’s talk about bone health.

Another example that a lot of women over 50 ask about is calcium, and rightfully so: Estrogen helps out a lot with calcium absorption, so after menopause, bone health becomes an important focus.*

The thing is that supplementing with more calcium isn’t necessarily the solution. “Recent research in postmenopausal women has raised concerns on safety of calcium supplementation and many experts are recommending that people rely on food sources to meet their calcium needs,” adds Sharafi. “So we left calcium out of our Essential for Women 50+, and instead made sure to include helper-nutrients to help support calcium absorption and bone health: vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K2, and Boron.”*

By the way, we include these calcium-helper nutrients in our other multivitamins. But because bone health is even more of a focus postmenopause, we upped the dosage slightly for magnesium and K2 in particular, since these unsung heroes help play a role in calcium absorption and bone health.*

It’s worth mentioning the physical effects of menopause.

Namely this: While the physical impact of menopause can be tough to weather, they're also not in a multivitamin’s job description. “There’s a big misconception that vitamins and minerals can impact menopausal symptoms,” says Sharafi.

In other words, false promises aren’t part of our formula. “We go with the science,” says Sharafi. “We are not promising to make an impact on menopausal effects with our nutrients. Instead, Essential for Women 50+ is designed for postmenopausal women to help support their nutrient gaps and help support health from within, such as bone, heart, vision and muscle health.”*

Two capsules a day? That’s right.

When you’re thinking of nutrients worth supplementing after 50, it’s easy to envision an array of different capsules and pills next to your morning coffee. Not so fast: Consolidating the daily dosage of Essential for Women 50+’s eight nutrients into two delayed-release capsules was a non-negotiable for our science team—even if it wasn’t exactly an easy road.*

“Our biggest obstacle was trying to get higher amounts of key nutrients into a daily dose without raising the number of pills to take,” says Dr. Luke. Our solve: Switching to slightly larger capsules, which happen to be the same size as our Essential Prenatal. Bonus points for the no-nausea capsule design, which helps bypass some of the stomach irritation associated with some other vitamins.

All in all, “creating Essential for Women 50+ was a big deal for us,” says Dr. Luke—and that’s been true since the very start of Ritual three years ago. In his words: “Mission accomplished.”

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Meet our Experts

This article features advice from members of our Science Team.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, Senior Director, Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, Senior Director, Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.