If you’ve ever walked through the vitamins and supplements section of a pharmacy and were confused – which supplements do I really need? What dose is appropriate? Can I just take this multivitamin and be done with it? – Know that you are not alone. Several companies have identified this consumer problem and solved it, changing the vitamin industry along the way.

These new companies, including Care/of, Ritual, and more, have been showing up in online ads (and probably your Instagram feed) since 2015. Most of them work in a similar way: they try to get to know you and then recommend vitamins and supplements that suit your needs.

Are Multivitamins and Single Nutrient Supplements Necessary?

Multivitamins are extremely popular – according to statistics, about half of Americans over 50 take them. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. But the question of whether they are necessary or even useful is up for debate.

In one large analysis of over 4,900 people, those who regularly took multivitamins reported about 30% better health compared to those who didn’t, but the researchers found no hard evidence that this was true. The results of the study, which were published in BMJ Outdoor in 2020did not show a corresponding reduction in chronic disease risk in multivitamin users or improvement in health markers. And review published in June 2018 in Journal of the American College of Cardiology analyzed 179 studies and found that multivitamins (plus single-nutrient supplements such as vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin D) do not improve heart health or help people live longer.

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