Consumers are using multivitamin as a “silver bullet” to address specific health concerns: Survey

By Danielle Masterson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images /  Anatoliy Sizov
Getty Images / Anatoliy Sizov

Related tags: Persona, personalized nutrition

Technology is paving the way for the rise of personalized nutrition and the end of a one-size-fits-all approach. But despite advancements in nutrition science in recent years, a recent survey has found that Americans expect their multivitamin to do all the heavy lifting.

After coming across an industry survey ​that found consumers are taking multivitamins as a way to support their immunity, Persona Nutrition's CEO said he needed to see it for himself. 

“That’s not what a multivitamin is designed to do. So, we wanted to survey Americans to see why they are taking multivitamins, and specifically ask about various health benefits,”​ explained Jason Brown, founder and CEO, Persona Nutrition. 

The new Wakefield Research for Persona Nutrition survey found that Americans do in fact rely on their multivitamin as a cure-all. The report found that Americans expect their multi to address specific health concerns, with respondents citing everything from weight management to stress. 

Findings

According to Persona’s national online survey of 1,000 US adults, several nutrition knowledge gaps exist.

The survey confirmed that 53% of US adults 35 years of age and older are taking a multivitamin to support their immunity. 

“Consumers are still relying on a multivitamin, which was introduced nearly 80 years ago, to support their specific health challenges, even though advances in technology and nutrition science have evolved daily nutrition,” ​said Brown. 

“We know multivitamins have a place in daily nutrition, but for those with specific health concerns, like immunity, sleep and energy, a multivitamin by itself can miss the mark,”​ said Tamara Bernadot, chief nutrition officer and co-founder of Persona Nutrition. 

While the majority of Americans do take vitamins and supplements, only a few consult the expertise of nutritionists or registered dietitians for guidance.

  • 70% of Americans report taking vitamins and supplements, but only 7% consult a nutritionists or registered dietitian for guidance

Almost half (47%) say it is more important to take a daily multivitamin now than it was last year, with 53% taking or considering multivitamins to support their immunity. The survey found that  Americans rely on a multivitamin for specific health challenges, specifically:

  • 44% to have more energy
  • 26% to maintain a healthy weight
  • 24% to support a good night’s sleep
  • 24% to maintain a healthy stress level
  • 12% to maintain hormone levels

The report also found that many of the respondents did not realize that vitamins and prescription medications can interfere with one another. Brown told NutraIngredients-USA that this was a shocker:

“The biggest surprise for me from our national survey is the number of people who don’t realize that prescription medications and dietary supplements can interact.  Of our respondents, 67% don’t realize that vitamins and prescription medications can interfere with one another. We have two pharmacists on staff who are continuing to build our drug-nutrient interaction database, so customers have the best of both worlds – a prescription medication that works to its fullest ability and a nutrition program that supports their daily wellness.”

Digging deeper

Persona’s Director of Nutrition Research, Courtney Jackson, took the top findings of the company’s national survey and dug deeper into what is missing from a traditional off-the-shelf multivitamin.  

Jackson identified several shortcomings when a person is looking to use a multivitamin as a “silver bullet” to address their energy, sleep, stress and immunity challenges:

  • It’s important to remember that the immune system is a system. It’s easy to get caught up in the “boost your immunity” hype, but your multivitamin should be paired with good lifestyle habits and complemented by immune-supporting supplements like quercetin, garlic, or even additional vitamin D, when needed. 
  • Fatigue can be a result of some vitamin deficiencies, but if you are taking a multivitamin, have normal blood work and still notice low energy, it might be time to complement your multivitamin with natural nutrients, including fermented ginseng, or adaptogenic cordyceps. 
  • While vitamins and minerals can play a role in sleep, taking a multivitamin by itself likely isn’t doing the trick. Consider supplementing with sleep-inducing ingredients such as L-Theanine, hops extract and melatonin to support sleep quality and the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. 

More than a multivitamin 

The survey is part of Persona’s “We’re More than a Multivitamin” campaign​, aimed at dispelling the misconception that multis are a cure-all. The company is taking the opportunity to fill the knowledge gap and highlight just how personal Persona can get.

“Based on our survey, 70% of Americans report taking vitamins and supplements, but only 7% consult a nutritionist or registered dietitian for guidance. We want to change this, so we’ve been promoting the benefit of having access to our on-staff nutritionists to help guide customers on their wellness journey,​” said Brown. 

“Our entire nutrition model depends on personalization – from our free online nutritional assessment to our ability to check for drug-nutrient side effects to how we package supplements by the best time of day to take them for each individual customer. Our nutritionists are available seven days a week to help customers adjust their packs as their lives change. For instance, if you took our assessment when you were pregnant, you’ll want to consult our nutritionists, so they can review and adjust your pack to meet your nutritional needs now that you’ve had your baby,”​ explained Brown.

“And, a fun fact – our nutritionists are available for non-Persona customers too!  If someone has a question about their supplements or have a specific nutrition concern, we’re happy to answer their questions via phone, email or text message.”

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