Last updated on January 8th, 2021 at 05:01 am
In this article, we’ll review Rootine, a modern supplement startup that’s spent the last 10 years taking personal nutrition to the next level. While there are a TON of direct-to-consumer vitamin brands out there promising a more nuanced experience with more generic, one-size-fits-all supplements, Rootine stands out.
We’ll take a deeper look at what sets Rootine apart from other modern competitors like Ritual, Baze, and Persona — just to name a few “competitors”. In quotes because, in reality, none come close to Rootine’s obsessiveness when it comes to supplement quality and personalization. We’ll explain what we mean.
What is Rootine?
Rootine is a pretty unique vitamin and supplement company. With arguably the world’s most personalized approach to manufacturing vitamins, they are actually more of a biotechnology company that specializes in personal nutrition. Founded by Dr. Daniel Wallerstrofer (PhD in biotechnology) and Rachel Sanders (Harvard MBA), Rootine uses detailed biological data from each customer to craft a truly custom vitamin solution that fits your personal genetic needs. Unlike other brands that merely use a simple online quiz to “customize” your mix of supplements, Rootine uses the combination of your DNA test, blood test, and lifestyle data to offer better informed recommendations. It’s like going to a nutritionist and having them personalize your vitamins based on lab work, except a heck of a lot cheaper and more convenient (i.e. 100% from home).
How does Rootine personalize vitamins?
Rootine’s vitamin-pairing is a two (or three) step process:
STEP 1: The first step involves taking a health quiz, which you can find via their website. The quiz is simple and only takes a few minutes. It breaks down what kind of nutrients your body needs given the standard basics like age, weight, height, dietary preferences, exercise level, etc.
STEP 2: The second step involves purchasing a DNA test to offer more information about your ideal vitamin combination. You can save a bit of time and money by uploading your Ancestry.com or 23AndMe genetic data into the Rootine dashboard. If you haven’t used those services before, forget we mentioned them. Rootine will send you an at-home DNA testing kit to analyze 50+ gene variants that are proven to scientifically impact your nutritional needs, as well as any absorption or dosage issues. The test is a simple cheek swab, which you then send back to their labs for analysis.
STEP 3 (OPTIONAL): If you want an even deeper look into your body’s nutritional needs, you can also purchase a blood nutrient test. This can be quite handy if you want to learn more about your body and find the root causes of skin issues, brain fog, thinning hair, fatigue, poor immune system, etc. So even if you end up not purchasing vitamins from Rootine, your test results are not a waste.
If you’re not interested in the blood test, though, you can simply opt for the DNA test. It provides keydata for Rootine to recommend a personalized…routine. However, it is recommended that you take the blood test every three to four months in order to ensure that the dosage they provide is working efficiently.
To begin, though, you’ll simply send in your DNA test, which is analyzed via their partnered medical-genetics laboratory. This can take several weeks, but once it is complete, you’ll receive a full panel on your DNA and a three-month supply of vitamins.
Is Rootine’s approach legit?
It may seem like overkill, or possibly a gimmick, but actually it’s the most rooted-in-science approach to daily vitamins we’ve ever seen. Nutrigenetics, or the way common genetic variations influence how your body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes key nutrients — has been around for years and measures the relationship between our genes, our health, and our diet. Rootine is simply the first vitamin company to utilize this data to formulate truly personalized dietary recommendations based on what your body needs on a genetic level.
Rootine also uses something called an evergreen algorithm. This algorithm was developed several years ago, and is continuously updated, and analyzes the data of one’s lifestyle, genetics, and blood sample in order to build the best possible nutrient profile. The constant need for regular blood testing isn’t just an attempt to pull more money out of users– it is a necessary process in order to adapt one’s supplement package to their current age, weight, diet and overall lifestyle. It takes customization to a whole new level. In addition, the algorithm is being updated as new research meets their “medical-grade bar of proof” to be included.
What makes Rootine vitamins different from other brands?
It’s no secret that Rootine works a bit differently from other personalized vitamin brands. We’ve mentioned the fact that the company utilizes nutrigenetics and an evergreen algorithm, which has never been done before in per. Rootine also utilizes regular blood testing in order to ensure your body is getting the right vitamins and nutrients it needs from your supplement on a three-month basis.
In addition to these unique attributes, Rootine’s vitamins themselves are noticeably different from other supplements you might see. They aren’t condensed into pills, powder, or capsules. Instead, they are packed into microbeads and packaged into small packets.
These microbeads can be absorbed much more easily than pills or capsules. This delivery system was developed to provide exact dosing, ideal bioavailability, and easier swallowing. Because of the small size of the beads, they are slow-releasing and take about twelve hours to completely absorb. This is actually very good for one’s body, as you’ll receive bits of nutrients throughout the day instead of all at once, which can cause irregular blood levels of nutrients.. If you’re not a fan of just swallowing them whole, the dosage can be added to your food such as cereal, yogurt, soup, smoothie, etc.
The microbeads are the basis for their extreme personalization capabilities and they can dose each nutrient to the microgram or milligram. This is quite different than most companies that simply slot a pre-made, single-dose nutrient pill into a pack based on your answers to a lifestyle quiz or results from a blood test. With the other companies, you either get a fixed dose of a nutrient or you get none at all. With Rootine, you get the exact amount you need, which can go up or down over time as your needs change.
Rootine also includes more essential vitamins and minerals than the average subscription-based vitamin brand. Each formula can include varying levels of eighteen essential vitamins, including Phytosterols, methylfolate, riboflavin, calcium carbonate, magnesium, Manganese, copper sulfate, iron, and vitamin B6, B12, C, D3, E, and more.
The pros of Rootine
- It’s one of the few, if only, companies that creates a complete picture of your body’s nutritional needs by considering DNA, blood, and lifestyle data.
- Your data is 100% private and protected as medical information. It will never be sold nor shared.
- You have the option of taking an at-home blood test or uploading blood panel results in addition to the DNA test to help the brand create better, more customized nutrient supplements for your needs.
- No harmful or questionable preservatives, fillers, or junk are used.
- Slow-release microbeads make absorbing the nutrients in each pack more efficient and natural.
- It’s a comprehensive multivitamin that won’t require additional supplements.
- The brand follows a scientific algorithm that pinpoints exactly what you need based on genetic factors.
- The packages of microbeads may make it easier for users to take on a regular basis, compared to large difficult-to-swallow pills.
- No megadosing required, you get exactly what you need. No more, no less.
- Doses are carefully measured and monitored, so you’re only consuming exactly how much you need.
- The algorithm used to determine your unique supplement needs is backed by tangible research, not just flashy hearsay.
- The packaging is aesthetically pleasing and easy to work with.
- High-grade nutrients are used in each vitamin pack.
- They perform rigorous in-house and 3rd party testing on the nutrients.
- Only vegetarian nutrients are used.
- The ingredients are simple and easy to understand, so you know what you’re putting into your body.
- Contains the key vitamins, minerals, and other core nutrients (i.e. CoQ10)that everyone needs, including vitamin D3, C, and E.
Potential drawbacks of Rootine
- Testing is necessary and can be a lengthy process. It can take between three and five weeks (or longer) to get your test results and start using the vitamins.
- At $70 per month for three months and a $129 Nutrigenetic DNA test, this product can be very expensive compared to other custom vitamins. In our opinion, their more scientific approach is worth every penny, but we recognize it’s not cheap.
- In order to have the most comprehensive and effective vitamin supplement brand, semi-regular bloodwork is recommended, probably every 6-12 months or so.
- While the microbeads might be ideal for those who struggle with swallowing large pills, the microbeads themselves take some practice to get used to swallowing.
- No month-to-month options are available.
Rootine Reviews: What are customers saying?
In a review by Stephanie Limiti for The Thirty, Limiti noted that it can be difficult to verify the effectiveness of the vitamins, but using a curated service could be beneficial. “Just because I don’t necessarily feel any different doesn’t mean the vitamins didn’t improve the status of my health,” she notes, “We don’t need supplements to survive, but they can be a great addition to any dietary routine, and may improve your lifestyle in small but effective ways. If you do find yourself lacking certain nutrients and struggling to get necessary vitamins and minerals from food alone, I strongly recommend trying your hand at a vitamin that actually curates to what you need—like Rootine. And per usual, it’s always worth chatting with your doctor about these things too.”
In another review for Business Insider by James Brains, he mentioned that the microbeads were a bit annoying to swallow for him personally. “To me, the microbeads are annoying but they’re a nice option if you have trouble swallowing large multivitamins,” says Brains, “Rootine co-founder Rachel Sanders told me the design ‘ensures the best quality product and optimal delivery for vitamins and minerals.’ She added, ‘The innovative slow-release microbeads deliver a customized dosage of vitamins into your bloodstream throughout the day, which is aligned with how the human body absorbs nutrients from food.’ […] After the long customization process, and once I got the hang of the microbeads, I found Rootine to be an outstanding multivitamin. Based on my opinion, they kept my health on track even when my eating was less than exemplary.”
Josie Boswell noted in a writeup for MBSF that Rootine’s vitamins, upon sampling them, were certainly different than other supplements. “Although it’s too soon to know if they’re making a big difference in my long-term health, after taking them religiously for 30 days, I feel like I have more energy and focus, which is always a good thing!” says Boswell, “I feel like Rootine vitamins are a fantastic addition to my daily wellness routine and I love taking a supplement that’s curated just for me. No more one size fits all vitamins from the grocery store! I plan to continue my Rootine subscription, and I highly recommend giving them a try!”
A review from Muscle and Brawn on the Rootine brand noted that upon looking into the certified testing lab and FDA manufacturing best practices that the company follows (and makes very transparent), it’s clear that the brand has a philosophy that focuses heavily on analyzing one’s valuable genetic blueprint for optimal health– not a philosophy that focuses on a gimmick that will not last long. “Yes, Rootine is legit,” the review notes, “Between the customized process, high-quality ingredients, and the transparency of the entire process, this vitamin brand is one of a kind. Each Rootine test is a piece of a puzzle to reveal the picture that is your nutrient requirements; once you break down exactly what you need, you’ll never want a basic multivitamin again.”
The Verdict: Are Rootine’s DNA-based vitamins worth it?
Overall, Rootine seems to be a reputable source of supplements, with a lengthy background in the industry and MDs, PharmDs, PhDs, and RDs on their staff and advisory board. This is mostly because the brand actually uses science to back up their somewhat high prices and unique approach.
Rather than focusing on the glitzy design, packaging, and aesthetics of the brand, it’s important to focus on the facts. And when it comes down to it, Rootine is a company that is clearly dedicated to helping consumers build an accurate and beneficial nutrition platform that is based on factual scientific research. Genetic testing in the form of personalized consumer goods is likely to become more and more popular in the future, and for good reason. Rootine seems to be one of the first brands to use it in a nutritional context. Not only will they help you find the right formulation for your body, but also help you understand more about your health and well-being in general. You may have symptoms from missing nutritional supplements such as fatigue and brain fog that you otherwise never would have known about without Rootine.
So which kind of consumers benefit most from Rootine’s offering? Virtually everyone can benefit from knowing more about their own nutritional needs and implementing a plan with customized doses, however, it’s probably folks with chronic health or absorption issues, as well as problems swallowing large pills, who will see the most value from a program like Rootine. Biohackers, extreme athletes, and nutrition nerds are also strong candidates. Generally, if you’re curious about how to maximize your health, Rootine is an amazing service. Give it a try, or tell us what your experience has been like with their vitamins in the comments below.