TAILOR-MADE ‘PRESCRIPTION’ JUST FOR YOU
DECIDE to take a supplement or two, and you face a barrage of choice — in price, formulations and health claims — and it can be impossible to know which are the best for you.
This confusion has led to a rise of online services that promise to provide a tailormade supplement ‘prescription’ based on aspects of your health, such as your diet and any medical concerns.
In the U.S., where personalised nutrition is more established, the sector is growing fast, with a predicted annual growth rate of 8 per cent by 2030. It is a simple formula: you click through an online quiz — which asks you basic questions about your age, health, and what you want to achieve from supplements — and the results are fed into an algorithm that pumps out a ‘personalised prescription’.
The supplements are then delivered monthly to your door. Prices range from £25 to £150 per month, and you can retake the quiz to adjust your ‘prescription’.
In a recent investigation by Good Health, with expert assessment by Margaret Rayman, a professor of nutritional medicine at the University of Surrey, we tested eight services, with widely varying results. While some produced a sensible ‘prescription’ of common nutrients, with useful extras such as probiotics, others included ingredients such as rhodiola root, when there is no clear evidence for its benefits; and paying more is not a guarantee of a better ‘prescription’. BOTTOM LINE: ‘You’d be better off taking an inexpensive supermarket brand multivitamin and mineral instead,’ says Professor Rayman.