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A Note on Our Multivitamins for Trans and Non-Binary Individuals

3 min read

A note on our product nomenclature and choosing the right multivitamin for your individual needs.
A note on our product nomenclature and choosing the right multivitamin for your individual needs.

At Ritual, it’s our mission to help everyone support their foundational health. We’re proud to have built a product world that acknowledges different ages and life stages, and formulas that can help bridge certain nutrient gaps no matter how we identify. But we also acknowledge that there is still much work to be done on the road to true inclusivity. That’s why we’d like to provide a little insight into our product nomenclature and how we hope to evolve, as well as some guidance on choosing a multivitamin from our current lineup.

Our product philosophy has always been to firmly root everything we do in science. It’s why, when developing our multivitamins, we believe it is important and necessary to adhere to the largest and most respected reference for the needs of the population—the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES. NHANES is a highly comprehensive nutritional database, allowing a representative evaluation of what Americans eat versus what they actually need. To get a more accurate picture of the American population’s requirements, we also utilize the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and Estimated Average Requirements (EARs). The information presented and reviewed from these organizations and scientific consortiums has greatly advanced our understanding of the population’s requirements but is limited to the surveying and references of infants, children, males, females, pregnancy and lactation, across various specific age-ranges.

Our brand nomenclature is very much tied to the organization of this data provided at this overarching level and is what we, at this stage, deem to be most reliable when it comes to evaluating nutrient intakes.

But while we believe this approach is the most responsible approach to formulation, we also know that it’s inherently limiting. There shouldn’t be a choice between abiding by the most respected scientific literature and ensuring that everyone feels seen and represented by our brand. We’re committed to challenging ourselves to do better. The science and data must evolve, and so will our thinking, and so should our products.

Choosing a Ritual multivitamin

Here’s the good news: While specific nutrient recommendations can vary depending on sex, life stage, and other factors, many of us actually have nutrient gaps in common. That means that no matter someone’s biological sex or how they identify, both Essential for Women and Essential for Men are formulated to help fill dietary nutrient gaps.*

Vitamin D is a great example—we need this nutrient to support calcium absorption, along with normal muscle and immune function. Most US adults fall short when it comes to getting enough vitamin D, due to a variety of factors (diet isn’t always a reliable source, and sunlight might not be either depending on where you live, the time of year, or even skin tone and SPF usage). That’s why we include 50 mcg of vitamin D3 per serving in all of our multivitamins. Our men’s and women’s multivitamins also have omega-3 DHA, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin B12, and boron in common.* (1)

That said, there are also some key differences between our formulas, with the purpose of addressing common nutrient gaps that are specific to different sexes and life stages. Essential for Women 18+, for example, contains iron—Essential for Men does not. That’s because menstruating women typically need more iron, which helps support blood health, while men (and women over 50) need a little less, and are therefore more likely to get enough from their diet. Essential for Women also contains slightly more folate than Essential for Men.* (2)

Essential for Men, on the other hand, contains zinc and vitamin A while Essential for Women does not. According to the NHANES, men are more likely to be falling behind when it comes to getting enough of these nutrients from their diets, which is why we opted to include them in the mens’ formulas.* (3)

Ultimately, we think that these specifics matter—it’s why we created different formulas in the first place. For trans people, there may be some intricacies when it comes to choosing a multivitamin that best suits their nutrient needs. If you’re not sure which of our formulas is a good match, we recommend having a conversation with your physician.*

References:

  1. Ginde, A. A., Liu, M. C., & Camargo, C. A. (2009). Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D...in the US Population, 1988-2004. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(6), 626. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.604
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Iron. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health
  3. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 2019. Usual Nutrient Intake from Food and Beverages, by Gender and Age, What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2016

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