Science

A Scientific Review of Personalized Supplements

2 min read

Essential Takeaways

  • Done right, "personalization" should include comprehensive testing that can help identify any unexpected nutritional needs a person might have.
  • The best strategy for supplementation is to help fill gaps or specific needs that are difficult to meet, even through a healthy diet.*

You're a unique creature. We're all different, including our nutritional intakes, our metabolisms, our exposures and our genetics.

But these differences are nuanced, and they're not just skin-deep—they're cell deep. That's why toggling through an online quiz in the hopes of "better skin" or "helping brain fog" merely scratches the surface, as well-intentioned as it might be. Done right, personalization should include comprehensive testing that can help identify any unexpected nutritional needs a person might have. And it should probably be done with the help of your doctor.*

With the technology we now have available, what’s possible currently?

The dream would be to look at a battery of all kinds of tests, but that’s a ways away from being the current norm. Why? Because it can be costly, difficult to collect and needs to be analyzed in multiple labs. Currently, it’s possible to get an idea of what might help from a questionnaire or diet survey and even a few simple blood or urine tests. The key to making any findings worthwhile, however, is to work with a good physician or healthcare expert, or with a company that can support its recommendations with credible studies and data.

Let's put it this way: How cluttered is your current supplement routine?

One thing to look out for is ending up with a lot of different bottles of supplements. This can pretty easily lead you to take more than you really need, when in reality, overdoing it on one nutrient can hinder the impact of another. Plus, it can get expensive.*

Less is more

Essential nutrients in forms your body can use, without shady extras.*
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Where does Ritual fall on the spectrum and why did you choose to build it that way?

The fact is that in the realm of nutritional needs, our bodies are often more alike than they are different. So our approach is to scour thousands of peer-reviewed, published scientific population data to pinpoint some of the gaps we share in our diet, with considerations like genetic variations, dietary restrictions, and lifestage.

Want an example? Up to one-third of the population has a genetic variation that makes it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid, the synthetic form of folate—which is why we include methylated folate (a bioavailable version) in all our multivitamins. But pregnant women require more folate than women who aren't expecting, or postmenopausal women, or men, so we adjusted the amount accordingly in our Essential Prenatal. On the flip side, it's easier for women to get enough zinc from their diets than men—so we skipped zinc in our women's multivitamins and included it in Essential for Men. That's personalization we can get behind.*

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