Receive Guidance From The First Personalized Vitamin Company, Vous Vitamin
Meet the founders of Vous Vitamin!
Millions of Americans consume vitamins and dietary supplements daily. However, it has become apparent that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the industry.
Women.com spoke with the founders of Vous Vitamin, endocrinologist Dr. Romy Block and internist Dr. Arielle Levitan. Through research, Dr. Block and Dr. Levitan found that many patients weren't exactly sure what their bodies needed while others were unknowingly taking vitamins that interacted with their prescribed supplements. To resolve these issues, they created the first personalized vitamin company back in 2014.
Vous Vitamin understands that everyone has unique and specific needs. Dr. Block and Dr. Levitan created a quick survey that customizes a multivitamin blend for everyone's individual needs. This allows their clients to reduce their vitamin intake by taking a simple, all-natural tablet.
To learn more about Vous Vitamin, keep scrolling!
Vous Vitamin was founded by two practicing physicians who are known to be good friends. Where along your career paths did you both meet?
We met as a practicing internist and endocrinologist in a large Chicago hospital system. We had each been in practice for about 15 years.
As practicing physicians, what was the inspiration behind Vous Vitamin?
Through our friendship, we used to talk about recurring issues we were seeing with our patients. Despite our different specialties, we found that we were spending an inordinate amount of time talking to our patients about vitamins. We realized that people were globally confused about what vitamins and supplements they should or should not be taking. As physicians, we recognized that the answer was not the same for everyone. People had different vitamin needs based on their individual diets, lifestyle, and health concerns. We were inspired to create an easy, personalized vitamin solution that would be accessible to anyone via an easy online survey. Thus the birth of Vousvitamin.com.
While creating Vous Vitamin, what problems in the dietary supplement industry were you wanting to solve?
The primary problem that we were seeking to solve was the profound sense of confusion felt by consumers in the overwhelming vitamin aisles and endless online marketplace shelves. This confusion, when combined with the fact that most consumers “self-prescribe” in the vitamin category, contributes to wasteful spending on ineffective or pseudoscience-based products, adverse reactions, safety events, and in many cases, category avoidance that results in real vitamin deficiencies that lead to health problems. We wanted to create a medically sound solution at the intersection of personalization and simplification for the consumer that would help them navigate to a targeted, effective, and affordable daily vitamin routine.
In your opinion, why doesn’t the FDA regulate the vitamin industry?
The FDA does, in fact, regulate the vitamin industry, but in ways that are very different from pharmaceutical or biomedical products. This lack of regulation has caused many health and safety concerns including several major lawsuits due to unsafe products and/or improper labeling. We have chosen to voluntarily register with the FDA and we check that our marketing language conforms with existing regulations. Companies need to be very careful around claims for their products. Furthermore, the FDA outlines what it considers to be Good Manufacturing Practices, and with respect to that guidance, we manufacture our products in a pharmaceutical-grade facility with certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) located within the United States.
How is Vous Vitamin different from other competitors?
Vous Vitamin is distinctive in the industry because of our focus on getting the consumer to the right daily pill, not the maximum number of daily pills. We are the only company using technology and data science to shrink the pill load and lower costs in the category for the consumer. Our model typically delivers optimal daily nutrition at 50% of the cost of retail experimentation or 3-5x less than personalized pill packs. Our personalized all-in-one multivitamin is very different from an off-the-shelf alternative. The typical multivitamin, which is usually based on crude classifications of gender or age, will contain 30+ ingredients (“A to Z” composition) at ultra-low doses that equate to fractions of the RDA scale. By contrast, our personalized all-in-one multivitamin has targeted nutrient composition, with curated nutrients that correspond to your profile, and high-impact dosing that aligns with the leading clinical evidence as opposed to the RDA scale. In many cases, our product obviates the need to purchase add-on pills to get to reasonable dosing or the right range of nutrients; hence, the consumer saves money compared to traditional retail shopping.
For those who find vitamins to be expensive, what are common problems with vitamin deficiencies?
People are often hesitant to take vitamins for a variety of reasons. These may include cost, confusion about what to take, or the sense that if they eat a healthy diet they will not have deficiencies. We find people manifest many symptoms due to vitamin deficiencies including fatigue, thinning hair, brittle nails, migraines, brain fog, GI symptoms, and memory concerns. Many of these issues can be traced to lacking certain key nutrients in their diets.
Are there any myths about vitamins that you want to debunk?
Some of the most common myths we would like to challenge include: More vitamins are better. This is not always true. In fact taking the wrong vitamins or too much of even the right vitamins can be quite harmful to your health. This is where physician oversight in formulating products is key. Another common myth is that eating a healthy diet will provide you with all the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, this is not true. Demineralization of our soil and other farming practices has left our food supply low in nutrients. In addition, some vitamins such as Vitamin D need to be obtained largely from sun exposure which most of us do not get in significant amounts year round. Also other, nutrients such as iron are best found in red meat, which many people avoid for other health reasons.
Creating a company that offers personalized, premium all-natural vitamin supplement products couldn’t have been easy. What challenges did you face when creating Vous Vitamin?
We had the obvious challenges of knitting together capabilities in eCommerce and custom manufacturing with large data sets and the application of data science to create a personalized vitamin platform. Less obvious, perhaps, were the challenges of digital marketing and getting the word out about this offering. We have had to familiarize ourselves with the modern methods of customer acquisition and marketing channel management. Fortunately, we have found some great agency partners to help guide us in this area, and we are constantly learning about new tactics and approaches. The channels are changing constantly (e.g., was any brand talking about TikTok two years ago?) and it is important to stay attuned to changes in consumer buying behaviors. Our greatest challenge has been getting the word out to consumers, among so many competing voices that there is a safe and medically sound way to take vitamins, but it is not easy to figure out on your own and the proper guidance is essential, thus the creation of our online survey.
Why is it so important to understand what vitamins you need to take for your personal body type, lifestyle, and health conditions?
We all have different diets, lifestyles and health concerns, so it only makes sense that we would have different nutritional needs. If we do not take enough of the right vitamins we will remain deficient and suffer the effects. As mentioned above, taking the wrong vitamins can be also be harmful to your health. Thus is important not to take too much of certain vitamins since they can be toxic.
Being the first personalized vitamin company, how does the process work for new customers?
As an originator in the personalized vitamin space, we have certainly learned over the years about ways to help the consumer take their first step into personalization. The process starts with the consumer introducing themselves by answering questions about their diet, fitness, health, and lifestyle to create a personal profile. These are the same types of questions that we would ask during an in-office visit to determine vitamin recommendations; or said another way, our questionnaire is the type of conversation that you wish you had with your doctor about vitamins if they had the time and expertise to dedicate to this area of health. Next, you meet your vitamin by discovering the combination of vitamins recommended for you with an explanation of the nutrients in your blend. We make sure that you never run out with a subscription and delivery model that eliminates the need for you to manage refills of your vitamins. The vitamins are formulated in easy-to-swallow, small-sized tablets that support long-term adherence. Finally, you can update your formula as needed by re-taking the survey and ensuring that your vitamin stays calibrated to your profile. We also make sure to disseminate physician-authored education to help our consumers learn more about what is in their bottles, and we solicit feedback through follow-up surveys asking about health outcomes and improvement.
Where can interested readers go to find Vous Vitamin?
The best place to learn more about Vous Vitamin is our website: www.vousvitamin.com Interested readers can also check out our award-winning book, The Vitamin Solution, available on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
Is there anything you would like to add about the importance of vitamins?
As physicians, we firmly believe that vitamins can be an important part of anyone's health and wellness. They are by no means a substitute for complete medical care, but an essential component of good health. A safe and doctor-endorsed approach is the best way to meet this goal.
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