Most of us require nutritional supplements as we age, but it became exasperating trying to learn which ones were right for me. The personable 30-something pharmacist who fills my prescriptions had no idea. Nor did my internist. And even though the salesman in the specialty vitamin chain in my neighborhood tried to help, it was obvious he hadn’t a clue what supplements a FabOverFifty woman really needs.
As the editor of a website, I’m often invited to try out products and services for everything from foams to relieve leg cramps to seminars for my financial security. When an online supplement service called Persona contacted me, I was intrigued by its promise that I could get “personalized, doctor-approved vitamin recommendations” simply by taking a five-minute assessment, so I wanted to learn more. Even before the end of my interview with Tamara Bernadot, one of the Persona founders, I knew this wasn’t just hype. When I told her I was taking statins to improve my cholesterol levels, she recommended I also take Ubiquinol to replace a critical enzyme that the statins were depleting. My doctor never mentioned that!
Sure enough, after completing the Persona five-minute assessment covering my health and lifestyle, as well as my prescription medications, my supplement recommendations included Ubiquinol. I ordered it, as well as the other Persona suggestions, right away. The supplements arrived in convenient daily packets with instructions when to take each one. Brilliant!
Whether you’re currently taking supplements or haven’t started because you’re confused by the constantly changing reports about what’s beneficial for you, and what’s not, I urge you to read on to learn why Persona will be a game-changer for your health.
FABOVERFIFTY What motivated you and your two co-founders to launch a company offering customized recommendations for nutritional supplements?
TAMARA BERNADOT “We’ve worked together for over 20 years in the nutrition industry, creating personalized nutrition programs for Dr. Andrew Weil, for the doctors at the Pritikin Longevity Center, and for Dr. Barry Sears, who created the Zone Diet. When ‘personalized nutrition’ was becoming the talk of the industry about two and a half years ago, we decided it was the right time to jump in with our own concept. We first spent six months researching, gathering data, and putting together a medical advisory board and a team of nutritionists.”
FOF How does your online assessment questionnaire help you arrive at the precise supplement recommendations for each person?
TB “Our technology lets us create a highly personalized questionnaire, so our algorithm can lead you down one of about eight paths, depending on your age, your gender and your health goals. Your answers, combined with our ongoing research and the expertise of our doctors and nutritionists, inform our supplement recommendations.
“We also ask what medications you’re taking as part of our robust questionnaire and we clinically test over 850 meds for interactions with the more than 90 supplements we offer. Persona wants to make certain that the supplements it recommends won’t react negatively with your pharma prescriptions. And, if you’re taking a drug that’s depleting an essential vitamin or mineral, we’ll recommend a supplement to make up for the depletion. Our competition doesn’t do this.”
FOF What is the background of the doctors on your medical advisory board and the Persona nutritionists, and how do they work together?
TB “Our Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Michael Roizen, who is the Chief Wellness Officer of The Cleveland Clinic and a New York Times best-selling author. He’s a walking encyclopedia of research and data. He and the other doctors on the board are up on the latest scientific supplement research and have been recommending supplements in their practices for years. They are keenly interested in what nutrition, diet and exercise–not just drugs–can do for their patients.
“Our team of nutritionists (one also is a registered dietician) helps to do the research and construct the questionnaires, then they send it all to the medical advisory board for final approval. We recruited them from Bastyr University, one of the best natural health schools in the country, which fortunately is located near our headquarters outside Seattle. They were taught how vitamin supplements and herbs react in the body and have better cutting-edge training than what medical doctors learn about nutritional supplements in medical school.”