Last Updated on March 20, 2020
How AI is Transforming Dietary Supplements
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you already know that artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into every industry under the sun. But if the world of robots and beyond-human intelligence still seems far-fetched, consider this: if you’ve chatted with a bot on a website, or received personalized recommendations for movies on Netflix, you’ve already experienced AI in action.
AI has the potential to connect consumers with deeply personalized experiences in everything we do. And the latest industry to get the AI upgrade is—you guessed it—dietary supplements. We’ve rounded up some of the latest AI developments in the supplement industry below to help you keep tabs on where this growing market will go next. (Hint: it’s going to become even more about you.)
AI is fueling personalization
Ever since Care/of hit the supplement scene, personalized vitamins have been everywhere. Some of these companies, like Ritual, are simply redefining things like the multivitamin for the Millennial generation. But others, like Vitamin Packs, are already using AI to help deliver customized supplement plans.
Vitamin Packs’s AI mechanism, called Sage, digs through the data you provide in a quick online survey, delivering a supplement subscription plan tailored to your lifestyle, health, current medications and fitness goals. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
With the boom in personalized vitamin packs, it’s no surprise that researchers are now using artificial intelligence to dive one step deeper. The goal? To provide truly personalized supplements that redefine the phrase “made for me.” Here are some other startups moving the needle in personalized health.
Viome and a better biome
Launched by a space entrepreneur, Viome uses advanced AI to analyze the trillions of bacteria in your gut. Why the gut? Because a growing body of research is revealing that the gut plays a key role in the development of many diseases.
After using AI to scour your urine, stool, blood and spit samples, Viome develops your RNA and metabolic profiles. That’s used to deliver a personalized plan for vitamins, supplements and diet. At first read, this might not sound so groundbreaking. But the startup is using some pretty heavy-duty AI—originally developed at Los Alamos labs, the birthplace of the nuclear bomb, to fight disease warfare—to dive far deeper than other personalization services on the market.
But its vision is much larger than supplement plans alone. The startup plans to use even more AI to give users customized recipes and recommendations for which dishes to order at restaurants. And did we mention the guy who helped develop the IBM Watson technology is heading their AI now? Expect much more to come.
Vitagene processes your DNA profile through its AI platform, and then generates a personalized supplement, diet and exercise strategy. The startup Arrivale is doing something similar, analyzing your blood and using AI to provide personalized data to your health coach (which you choose through the Arrivale platform as well).
AI for better supplement formulas
And then there are the much geekier uses of AI, which can help researchers determine the ideal formulations for new supplement products. This might not be as exciting as getting your personalized supplement plan, but this use case could arguably have an even bigger impact on the world of supplements. How? By completely transforming what supplements make it to shelves.
One company, Life Extension, is using AI to do just that. Through its robust AI platform, it’s able to generate lists of ideal ingredients to solve for particular challenges like the aging of cells. But AI is more than a search engine, getting smarter as more information is input into the system. This allows it to process information logically, much like us humans—only in a lot less time. The company even markets the AI aspect on the product label itself, which it says consumers have responded to pretty positively.
We’re also seeing similar applications in the exploding beauty supplement market. Brands like Proven, Curology and FoB are blending the personalization and formulation aspects of AI to deliver next-level experiences for beauty supplement devotes.
What AI means for you
What does all this AI mean for the future of supplements? For manufacturers, it means more power to determine the best ingredients and calculate the ideal mix for helping users achieve the intended benefits.
And for the rest of us, it means a whole new level of customized products. Although we’ve been hearing about personalized vitamin packs for a few months now—making it old news in today’s super-fast news cycle—startups driven by AI are raising the bar in a lot of exciting ways. We’re no longer just seeing data being used to tell us which vitamins to take; many of these startups are moving closer to actually creating vitamin blends far more advanced than what’s on the market today.
Could it be that in the very near future, we’re all spending hundreds of dollars for fully customized supplement plans and even customized products themselves? Will we all be using AI-driven insights to determine our order at restaurants? That’s yet to be seen. But it’s pretty cool, and pretty empowering, to have all that science at our fingertips.