I Tried Personalized Supplements for a Month & Noticed These 5 Life-Changing Effects
Full disclosure: I've always been a sucker for supplements. Though I of course always make a conscious effort to ensure I get a well-balanced intake of essential vitamins and nutrients through what I eat and drink, I can't help but love the fact that I can complement or enhance these elements that can influence my health and well-being with quick-and-easy backup support. But sometimes, it's hard to know exactly which supplements might be best suited for your own needs, especially given the wide variety of vitamins that are readily available to health-conscious shoppers. That's why when an Instagram post advertising personalized supplements first appeared in my feed, I was immediately intrigued.
Could a specially curated selection of supplements really cater to my unique needs? Are personalized supplements really worth the hype? Persona Nutrition believes that yes they are!
What Persona Nutrition Offers
A Nestlé Health Science S.A. company, Persona Nutrition's unique approach to supplement shopping takes the guesswork out of which vitamins are best to take by tailoring a personalized supplement plan for each of its subscribers. The first step is taking their free and confidential health questionnaire.
According to the website, the purpose of this survey is to "look at all the things that make you, you: your health goals, your lifestyle, your diet, your allergies—even your medications." There's even an accessible Drug-Nutrient Interaction (DNI) Database that allows you to find out how any Persona supplements may interact with any OTC or prescription medication you take.
Once you've finished taking the online assessment, Persona's algorithm generates a profile and personalized supplement plan for you that the company claims is "backed by the latest research and completely customizable." The thought of leaving your health in the hands of an online quiz and algorithm may seem like a wild roll of the dice, but it should be reassuring to know that Persona has an advisory board comprised of accredited nutrition and healthcare experts to help oversee the review process, as well as a direct line of communication to Persona's on-staff registered dietitians available every day.
Although I was able to get a free trial of my personalized supplements for the first month, to ultimately get your own personalized supplement plan, you will need to create an account and sign up for the subscription service. You may be able to get a discount on your first month, but going forward the subscription service is about $80 a month. While this seems a bit pricey, when I compared it to how much I was spending on supplements I purchase a la carte each month (~$100–$150), it actually seems like a pretty good deal.
The first step to crafting a personalized supplement plan via Persona is to take the online assessment.
Initially, I had some reservations about how potentially limiting a multiple-choice assessment could be. How could anyone truly cater to my health needs without the flexibility to provide more specific information about myself beyond ticking off a handful of standardized bubbles? However, I found that the assessment was fairly thorough, and I was impressed by how my collection of answers triggered what seemed like viable supplement solutions based on my own health and wellness concerns and goals.
It took me about 10 minutes to complete the assessment, after which, the Persona team (RDs included) crafted a personalized supplement regimen based on my responses.
One important factor of note that pertains to all supplements—not just those offered by Persona, but across the board—is that the FDA is not legally obliged to regulate dietary supplements with the same vigor as medications prior to being sold to consumers. Persona compensates for this lack of oversight by reportedly testing all their products in-house, as well as through the accessibility of their nutritionists and the aforementioned DNI database. However, it is always important to consult your healthcare provider before incorporating anything new into your own routine.
My personalized supplement routine
Unlike other supplements that are itemized and separated in bottles, the supplements arrived in a convenient dispenser and were already divided up into individualized baggies based on the recommended "Morning" and "Bedtime" vitamin combinations.
Depending on the time of day, I would make sure there was a little food in my belly, tear off the corresponding baggie, and wash down the handful of supplements within with about two to three cups of water. This was my routine every day for one month.
For the record, the amount of water I drank had nothing to do with the size of the capsules—they were actually very easy going down! I personally always like to take advantage of any opportunity that encourages quality hydration. However, when it comes to how much water to drink as you take personalized supplements, do what works best for you.
What's in each vitamin formula?
Here's a closer look at the supplement facts that correspond to exactly what I was taking every morning an evening.
Morning, per serving:
- Peppermint Plus: anise seed (25 mg), ginger root (175 mg), peppermint leaf (380 mg)
- Hair, Skin, & Nails: sodium hyaluronate (60 mg), fish collagen (40 mg), horsetail extract (50 mg)
Bedtime, per serving:
- Herbal Rest: magnesium—as magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide (150 mg), hops flower extract (75 mg), L-theanine (100 mg)
- Good Night: lavender oil (10 mg), passion flower extract 20:1 (30 mg), valerian extract 4:1 (150 mg)
- Beauty Sleep: sodium hyaluronate (60 mg), fish collagen (40 mg), horsetail extract (50 mg), L-theanine (50 mg)
- Ashwagandha: Sensoril® ashwagandha root and leaf extract—withanaia somnifera, roots and leaves (250 mg)
My Persona Vitamins Review
Though the resulting changes I noticed in my body came on subtly, there were at least significant shifts that were beneficial to my health and overall well-being that gradually became evident over time.
I had less difficulty falling asleep
To say I'm a "night owl" is an understatement. At the same time, I also love to get a good night's sleep. But while my body may want to call it a day and hit the hay, my mind sometimes has a different agenda.
Prior to trying these supplements, I would spend many a night getting in bed at a reasonable hour—say 9:30 p.m.—and then proceed to lay there with my eyes closed while racking my brain with thoughts about earlier events in the day or what I need to do to prepare for whatever events, meetings, assignments, family obligations, etc., are coming up on the horizon. While I may come up with some really creative ideas or solutions, my midnight epiphanies lose their luster when I'm exhausted and dragging my feet the next day—and don't even get me started on the head trip I give myself when hit with an onslaught of "Sunday scaries." When that happens, the butterflies in my stomach make Mothra look like a tsetse fly. It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself to relax and go to sleep, my body is beholden to my brain's racing thoughts and relentless energy.
However, within the first few days of taking these supplements, I noticed that the amount of time between getting in bed and actually falling asleep had significantly been reduced. By the end of the month, I was able to drift off to dreamland within about 20 minutes of getting in bed.
Furthermore, as part of my assessment, I noted that I wanted a formula that did not include melatonin. In the past, this particular supplement has not always agreed with my brain chemistry, and I would sometimes have very intense nightmares. However, this melatonin-free formulation didn't negatively impact my dreams at all, and I slept very soundly.
I always woke up on the right side of the bed
In addition to falling asleep with ease, I also woke up feeling very refreshed—so much so, that I seldom found myself hitting "snooze" after the first time my alarm went off each morning. I also am usually a bit of a cranky pants in the morning until after having my first cup of tea or coffee in the morning. But by about day 12, I noticed that I had an effortless pep in my step, and although alert and clear-headed, I was still very calm.
While this positive change might have been due to my newfound ability to get a better night's sleep, the combination of ashwagandha, L-theanine, and magnesium also perhaps played a role in my perky, productive waking life. Though more research is needed, generally speaking, these supplements have been associated with stress relief, cortisol regulation, energy, mood, and focus.
My ponytail was on point
When I first read that "horsetail extract" was an ingredient in my personalized supplements, I immediately did a double-take (and said a quick prayer). The last thing I wanted was to discover that I was literally ingesting parts of an actual horse. Fortunately, this was not the case at all!
"Horsetail supplements, also known as Equisetum arvense, are made of the aerial parts of the horsetail plant," Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD, a nutritionist and ACE-certified trainer, tells Eat This, Not That! "Horsetail extract is believed to have medicinal properties and is used to help treat urinary tract infections, bladder and kidney problems, and respiratory conditions. It is also believed to help with the healing of wounds, as well as being a natural diuretic and anti-inflammatory."
Blowdrying my hair has historically been considered a workout unto itself, and I'm merciless when it comes to using hot tools—whatever it takes to tame my mane, I aggressively pursue. As someone who also has always had naturally dry, textured hair that is prone to breakage, I was pleased to notice less breakage bits in my brush and around my bathroom after styling. In fact, my morning hair routine seemed to require far less maintenance throughout the month, and my ponytail actually felt thicker and more dense in my grip than usual. I was also pleasantly surprised by my hair's natural fullness and shine.
That said, this was per my own personal experience, and though I did not encounter any adverse side effects while trying it, that doesn't mean they don't exist. "Potential side effects of horsetail supplements include upset stomach, headache, dizziness, and allergic reactions," advises Sabat. "It is important to speak to a doctor before taking horsetail supplements to make sure it is safe for you to take."
I was less bloated
I've always struggled with bloating to some degree. Whether due to indigestion or hormonal changes, my lower belly pooch has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. Also, my propensity for high blood pressure has also made me more susceptible to water retention.
However, over the course of the month while taking this combination of supplements, I had to do a hardcore closet purge in anticipation of an upcoming move. Typically, this involves trying on old outfits, realizing they look terrible on me, and then donating or trashing them. This time around, I found it way more difficult to let go of anything lower pooch trouble area seemed to be less prevalent. While my weight hadn't changed drastically, everything I tried on flattered my figure in ways I hadn't expected. Additionally, my blood pressure stayed within a healthy range throughout the month.
Though I was urinating more frequently, between my lower blood pressure readings and fitting more comfortably into my clothes, for me, the extra trips to the loo were totally worth it.
Convenience led to consistency
While we all know the effectiveness of most supplements is anchored in consistency, remembering to always take them can still sometimes be challenging. However, the way these vitamins are pre-sorted and packaged made it super easy to incorporate into my busy routine! The more consistent I was able to be, the sooner I started noticing positive results—and this only further motivated me to continue taking them each day.
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/food/information-consumers-using-dietary-supplements/questions-and-answers-dietary-supplements#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20FDA%20is%20limited,before%20they%20reach%20the%20consumer
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26427581/
- Source: https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2019/09130/an_investigation_into_the_stress_relieving_and.67.aspx
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080935/
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34706374/
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19067388/
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35168030/