Why take a custom multivitamin versus an off-the-shelf option

One of the most frequent questions that we get is, “Why take a custom multivitamin versus an off-the-shelf option?”  The retail multivitamin has a long history, with products gaining traction in the 1920s and 1930s, and becoming a household staple during World War II when nearly 33% of U.S. soldiers were found to suffer from disabilities that stemmed from poor nutrition.  Franklin D. Roosevelt convened the National Nutrition Conference for Defense in 1941, which released the first set of government-sponsored Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for six vitamins and two minerals.  In 1943, the first One-A-Day multivitamin was released, and the market embraced the idea of a supplement that was guard against several types of nutritional deficiencies.  The problem: retail multivitamins have evolved very little since 1943, while technological advances have enabled the delivery of high precision, personalized vitamin products.

Walking the aisles of your local pharmacy, grocery, or health foods store, you are likely to encounter rows upon rows of multivitamin brands with very little differentiation in product composition.  These are “A to Z” products, typically containing 30+ nutrients on the back label, with low dosing levels that are designed to address gaps in the RDA scale based on population-based studies of broad demographic groups (e.g., men, women, and seniors).  The blanket approach of supplementing with a broad range of nutrients at low doses tends to produce inconsistent results.  According to Healthline, “If you have a nutrient deficiency, it’s best to supplement with that specific nutrient. Multivitamins pack many nutrients, most of which you may not need.”  The failure of these off-the-shelf products to target their design to specific needs of individuals lends credence to the myth that multivitamin don’t work.

A custom multivitamin that is personalized to the needs of the individual addresses the fundamental design flaws in retail multivitamins.  These vitamins are calibrated to the individual based on data submitted through a brief digital assessment on diet, fitness, heath, and lifestyle.  They key design features are fewer total nutrients and less standardization in which nutrients are selected, but the right mix at the appropriate levels of dosing that align with leading clinical evidence rather than the RDA scale and population-based studies.  Let’s review some of the benefits of customized vitamin products:

  • Cost savings:  These products can help the consumer avoid unnecessary “add on” pills that consumers use to enhance the baseline dosing found in watered-down, off-the-shelf products.  An average consumer may spend $465 or more per year on their dietary supplements, while a customized vitamin formula in our system can be found for as little at $300 per year with our 6-month subscription delivery plan, and often less with a coupon or discount.  It makes sense that you would save roughly 35% on your annual vitamin spend when you no longer are forced to buy that extra bottle of Vitamin D, Iron, or Calcium to get up to reasonable dosing levels for your individual profile. 
  • Less Guesswork:  It is often overwhelming and confusing to shop for vitamins.  Many consumers end up wasting money on vitamins that are not right for them, and in some cases, they may buy a product that is dangerous or take a dosage that is unhealthy or can lead to medical complications or medication interactions.  Finding a customized vitamin company that provides medically-informed, evidence-based navigation on vitamin selection can offer a better alternative to the Wild West of the mass market retailers that vend a wide array of unregulated products. 
  • Better Long-Term Adherence:  The simplicity of getting an all-in-one custom multivitamin with a formula geared toward your needs allows for better long-term adherence compared to taking a horse-pill sized generic multivitamin, handful of pills, or a vitamin pill pack.  Our team has focused on creating a multivitamin product with a small diameter, oval-shaped design, and an easy-to-swallow, silky pill coating to make it easy to take on a daily basis.  Nobody wants to choke on their vitamin and many off-the-shelf options fail to design their product in such a way that it reduces choking risk.  Furthermore, in a typical retail transaction, a customer buys their vitamin and never hears from the vitamin company again.  The vitamin company doesn’t know their customer, and the customer probably does not know what half the ingredients on the back label mean or why they are included in their vitamin.  By contrast, a custom vitamin company knows their customer and can provide tailored education, adherence coaching, and feedback loops to support ongoing compliance with a personalized vitamin routine. 

These are only a sample of reasons why a custom vitamin is superior to an off-the-shelf option.  There are a slew of other benefits, such as environmental sustainability through reduced packaging waste, better absorption properties due to bioavailability, and high quality manufacturing that ensures safety of the product among other benefits.

The mass market has sold generic multivitamin formulas based on broad demographic characterizations for 80 years.  It is an opportune moment to re-think the product in the context of the technology, data science, and clinical evidence available in modern society.


The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice.  The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment.  You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.

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