Investigators at Auburn University conducted the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to look at the effects of Essential for Women in 94 adult females 21-40 years old.
The study focused on measuring the levels of several key nutrients in the bloodstream, including vitamin D, which helps support bone health, immune, and muscle function; omega-3 DHA, which helps support brain, eye, and heart health; and folate forms. Genetic variations that affect nutrients were also determined.
Study participants were randomly assigned to take either two pills of Essential for Women or a scent- and visually-matched placebo daily for 12 weeks. At baseline (week 0) and end of the study (week 12) participants arrived to the laboratory following an overnight fast in order to have blood samples drawn and to fill out subjective questionnaires (e.g., dietary records and quality of life surveys).
Study results showed that Essential for Women increased serum 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol (vitamin D) levels by 43% and red blood cell omega-3 DHA levels by 41% in 12 weeks while no changes were observed for the placebo group. Some measures of omega-6 to omega-3 ratios were improved for increasing omega-3s in the Essential for Women group. There was also a significant increase in serum HDL (good) cholesterol in the Essential for Women group, but not the placebo group.
Omega-3 DHA results were presented and published as an abstract at the 60th annual American College of Nutrition (ACN) meeting in November 2019. The results for vitamin D have been submitted to the Experimental Biology conference for presentation in March 2020. More results are forthcoming and will be submitted to major nutrition conferences, according to Ritual. The full results are expected to be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in the field of nutrition.
“Our products at Ritual are evidence-based,” said Katerina Schneider, founder and CEO. “Now, we can go a step further and quantify it with our Essential for Women multivitamin.”
Transparency is a central tenet of the company, she continued. “We invested in a university-led clinical trial to go above and beyond and quantify the impact of Essential for Women. The Essential for Women clinical trial is our first step toward a clinical-backed future. Our world-class science team is committed to choosing research partners and evidence-backed ingredients, and investing in clinical trials on our own finished products.”
Michael Roberts, the principal investigator at Auburn University, said the results overall were very positive. He also offered praise for Ritual and its efforts to “quantify the impact of their ingredients and ensure the scientific validation of their products.”
“The good thing about this company is that they conducted a lot of research and sourced high-quality ingredients before they put their product on the market. They do not cut corners, and this is what I’d call ‘gold-standard’ for the supplement industry.”
“We were very pleased to work with Ritual,” he said. “The Molecular and Applied Sciences Laboratory (MASL) is becoming known around the world as a university lab that practices good science with high ethical standards. We have solid scientific protocols, are fortunate to have an excellent human research ethics review board on campus to allow us to do the research, and are fortunate to work with outstanding industry partners and graduate students.”
Kinesiology Master’s student Shelby Osburn coordinated the trial. “Shelby is one of our many outstanding graduate students, and these students are instrumental in our lab’s history and ongoing success,” said Roberts. “Shelby presented the data at the American College of Nutrition’s annual conference in San Diego and took home the prize for best research presentation. It’s very rewarding to work with colleagues like Shelby and sponsors like Ritual. When companies like Ritual go to great lengths to formulate and fund third-party research at prestigious universities, consumers can be more assured that the company is doing everything in its power to make excellent products.”