I hope you and your family are well during the uncertainty experienced in the first half of 2020. Now, more than ever, ensuring our core health is vitally important. With the personalized sector of the supplement industry becoming mainstream, I'd like to quickly discuss your new options and what I feel is important to know so that you can make decisions to best support your health.
Do you even need a personalized vitamin?In short, yes. Two things are abundantly clear:
- Most people do not get enough nutrients from their diet and even most “healthy diets” lack critical nutrients
- Research clearly shows that generic, “one-size-fits-all” multivitamins do not work well
I believe in a “food first” approach and that you should always strive to eat a healthful diet. Supplements are inherently designed to be supplemental and will augment a proper diet but will never be able to fill the nutrient void of a poor diet.
Supplemental nutrients can be incredibly powerful, but only when the correct nutrients - at the correct doses - are provided. Throwing a kitchen sink of nutrients at random doses into a person’s body is simply not effective. This is the mass-market multivitamin approach to nutrition and it has failed repeatedly.
Targeted supplementation of key nutrients will benefit most people, so let’s look at the available options in the emerging market of personalized supplements. I will compare and contract Rootine against the competition.
Rootine vs. the big players in the “personalized” multivitamin space:
The first companies in this space are what we call “Lifestyle Quiz Companies” because they customize nutrient packs based solely on a lifestyle quiz. I’ve put “personalized” in quotations because this approach is pseudo-personalized (at best) and a meager step up from a mass-market multivitamin. Here’s why:
Problem #1: Without context, a simple lifestyle assessment can provide extremely misleading recommendations about which nutrients are needed and which are not. Without the context from DNA and blood data, this “lifestyle-only” approach lacks all information about how your body is absorbing, distributing, metabolizing, and excreting nutrients. This is the data that matters most.
This metabolic data is essential which is why Rootine built it’s algorithm around DNA and blood data first, with lifestyle analysis providing additional context but we made sure that it is not overly represented.
Problem #2: These brands do not offer customized doses for their nutrients. Instead, they mass-manufacture single-dose nutrient pills. From a business perspective, this is an incredibly cheap and efficient way to operate but it fails to provide the customer with the precise nutrient doses that they need. If you as the customer were to answer a question one way, you get 25 mcg of vitamin D, for example. If you were to answer differently, you would get 0 mcg of vitamin D. There is very little personalization here. Since we all have an ideal range for each nutrient, consistently overshooting or undershooting this “sweet spot” is not beneficial. Over time, this intake discrepancy can lead to a nutrient deficiency if the dose is too low or an adverse accumulation of a nutrient (especially fat-soluble nutrients) if the dose is too high.
Rootine’s microbead technology and hyper-personalized approach provides precision doses for every nutrient to the mcg or mg. You get the exact amount your body needs, nothing more - nothing less.
Rootine vs. the niche players in the space:
As the science became clearer that each person has inherent biological needs (beyond lifestyle) for different nutrients at different doses, other companies began to fill this void left by the “lifestyle-only” brands. A handful of companies began to offer recommendations based on a DNA test while others pursued a blood testing approach.
I have respect for these companies because these biometric data sets are far more powerful than a simple lifestyle quiz and developing a model to incorporate this data and partner with a laboratory is a far more complex route. In short, they did not take the easy way out. That said, similar issues present themselves with these methods:
Problem #1: All data is important because context is essential. Genetic testing without blood data is missing vital information about your body. The same is true for blood data without the backdrop of genetic analysis.
- Example 1: A blood test shows that your CoQ10 levels are low and CoQ10 is added to your formula. However, a DNA test (that the company does not offer and therefore that you did not take) shows that your NQO1 gene is dysfunctional. This gene is responsible for activating CoQ10 and without proper function your body cannot activate CoQ10, rendering supplementation useless.
- Example 2: A genetic test shows a variation in your VDR gene, which means you need significantly more vitamin D compared to the norm. However, if you took a blood test you would find high blood vitamin D levels. Without this blood data, you would receive a high dose vitamin D pill that you do not need.
Rootine offers industry-leading DNA and Blood testing, along with lifestyle analysis to create the most complete picture of your nutrient needs.
Problem #2: These brands use the same “one dose, one pill” approach as the lifestyle quiz companies and do not offer custom nutrient dosing. To truly optimize nutritional outcomes, you need a personalized dose for every nutrient provided.
As mentioned, Rootine can tune your formula to extreme detail through our slow-release microbead technology, designed for optimal absorption and blood level maintenance.
There is much more to discuss regarding this rapidly emerging sector of personalized nutritional supplements, which is largely overshadowed by many of the same issues of the supplement industry. It’s important to protect yourself and your wallet from poor manufacturing standards and the use of untested, unproven nutrients. As genetic testing becomes commonplace, many brands are starting to offer DNA tests to guide nutrient recommendations. Be sure that these brands are making their recommendations based on genetic variants backed by a body of literature supporting their nutrient interaction and are not using variants with little to no scientific basis. This is a common issue and one reason genetic tests get a bad rap. There are millions of genetic variants, most of which have zero impact on nutrient requirements. Also, be sure that you are comfortable with what these companies are doing with your biometric data, most have a lucrative side-business of selling your personal data.
Rootine provides EFSA-described nutrients (the most strict governing body on nutrient claims) with proven benefit in humans, tests for genetic variants with medical-grade bar of proof backing their impact on nutrient needs, and never sells or distributes your genetic data. All test analysis and custom manufacturing is completed in our medical-grade genetics laboratory with ISO 9001, 15189, and 22000 certifications and follows all FDA cGMP.
I hope it provides you valuable insight into the industry. When buying a health product, make sure you’re buying from a company who is rooted in science, not just experts in marketing.
In the best health,