Each year, a new product or service comes out that promise to offer clients and customers better health. This time, it’s personalised vitamins that are supposed to address people’s specific health needs. But what are the risks of taking personalised vitamins?
Companies selling personalised vitamins claim that they are tailored according to a customer’s genetic makeup and specific health needs. Different from traditional health supplements, personalised vitamins are customised based on questionnaires customers are required to complete. These questionnaires typically ask for the customer’s health concerns, medications, diet, and physical activity.
Aside from these questionnaires, companies claim they can also assess their customers’ health profiles through their DNA test results.
However, the studies concerning personalised vitamins are very limited, especially when they are compared against traditional vitamins. Because there is little research supporting personalised vitamins, it is possible that these companies may not be providing accurate information regarding their health benefits.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study investigated the claims being made by these companies. To do so, they submitted fake profiles to four companies selling personalised vitamins. They took online questionnaires and even underwent some DNA tests.
Upon submitting their profiles, the authors of the study found out that the recommended vitamins for every fake profile are the same and not customised according to specific needs. This shows that the claims are either inaccurate or the companies don’t have the means to interpret the questionnaires or DNA tests correctly.
Instead of taking personalised vitamins, which is also the more expensive option, it is still better to go the traditional route: eat a healthy diet, be physically active, consult your physician, and undergo regular screenings to monitor your health.
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