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Ritual Vitamins Review: Is this the future of vitamins?

We review Ritual’s multivitamins and subscription service to assess quality, convenience, value and more

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ayesha Bryant, MSPH, MD
Last Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Ritual review

While many in the supplement industry go the way of “more is better” with mounting doses and longer ingredients, Ritual takes a different approach. It believes in the central role of diet for the majority of nutritional intake, and it limits ingredients to a core set of nutrients that its contents reflect the most common gaps, especially for vegans, vegetarians, and women who are pregnant. Ritual claims to have analyzed thousands of scientific studies to formulate multivitamins that intelligently fill gaps in the diets of Americans, by age and gender, without including excessive or counterproductive ingredients.

What’s unique about its formulas? Are they a good value compared to the competitors? Finally, are Ritual’s vitamins a good choice for everyone? We thoroughly tested the company’s products and services for ourselves and are sharing our experience to help you decide if Ritual is right for you.

Editor's Summary

Overall Rating 9.1 / 10

If you want a multivitamin to round out an already good diet and like knowing what’s in your supplement and where those ingredients come from, Ritual may be the best option out there.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Focuses on RDA-minded doses of essential nutrients to cover common nutritional gaps, including omega-3
  • Science-backed formulas created with the guidance of a medical advisory board
  • Offers transparent, detailed information about nutrient sourcing
  • Delayed-release capsules can be taken without food
  • Vegan and GMO-free formula with no synthetic fillers or stabilizers
  • Ritual gives our readers $10 off if you bundle two or more products in an order

Cons

  • For people whose diet isn’t already nutrient-dense, Ritual won’t fill in many nutritional gaps
  • Available only with a subscription
  • Pricier than drugstore vitamins and some other vitamin subscriptions ($30-$35/month)
Our Top Picks

Ritual

Ritual is a great multivitamin choice for men and women of all ages who care about science-backed supplements and transparent sourcing.

Ritual has analyzed thousands of scientific studies in order to formulate multivitamins that intelligently fill gaps in the diets of Americans, by age and gender, without including excessive or counterproductive ingredients. Its dedication to transparency and honesty is admirable.

Essential for Women 18+
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$30
Essential for Men 18+
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$30
Essential for Women 50+
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$35
Essential for Kids
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$30

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. Our testing team has purchased and compared over 500 health-related products to date, and we are constantly updating our reviews based on the latest advances. This guide, like all medical-related content on our website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

While each review brings together the feedback and expertise of our larger testing team and Medical Review Board, the central author for this review has been a researcher and writer in the nutrition and supplement field for eleven years. Our assessment includes testing of the products as well as dozens of hours of detailed research and evaluation.

How we evaluated the company

We evaluated the entire customer experience from signing up for a Ritual subscription to using these products through a 30-day time window. We evaluated the company’s mission against its product line and the products’ nutritional composition against common dietary needs. We researched the sourcing of its nutrients, the absorption potential of its formula, and the production standards Ritual employs. We also compare the company to its competitors for cost, quality, selection, and service.

Our assessment shows Ritual to be a well-designed supplement choice for most people. Its moderate doses of nutrients, whose potency is verified by outside labs, promise to fill in common nutritional gaps without the risks of toxicity that come from extreme dosages or poorly balanced formulas.

The guidance of its medical advisory board is evident in the prioritization of traceable nutrient sourcing and safer, more effective nutrient forms (such as folate versus folic acid), as well as nutrients that are essential for supporting physiological processes in the body (such as vitamin K2 and boron for maintaining bone health). A gold standard clinical trial supports the efficacy of its formula, noting that Ritual substantially increased levels of vitamin D (43%) and omega-3 (41%) in subjects.

Ritual products are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), quality regulations enforced by the FDA that ensure safe production and accurate labeling. Ritual also employs third-party testing for heavy metals, allergens, and microbes. The company’s Essential for Women 18+ recently earned certification from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a federally recognized standard within the pharmaceutical and supplement industry. It’s a coveted industry approval that verifies product claims, nutrient levels, and bioavailability as well as formula purity. Although the company has prioritized certification for its women’s vitamins first, it says that it intends to pursue the same for its other products.

What is Ritual and who is it for?

Ritual is a vitamin brand with a mission: produce a multivitamin supplement that targets common nutritional gaps using high-quality ingredients in a formula that is optimally absorbed by the body. The founder was inspired to create Ritual when she found herself disillusioned by available prenatal vitamin options that had questionable ingredients.

Ritual aims to stick close to the science of best nutrient forms and essential nutritional interactions. It offers a transparent, no-nonsense view into the formulas, which are customized for the unique needs of gender and life stage. The company’s dedication to transparency about its nutrient sourcing and formula design is thorough—and rare within the supplement industry.

Ritual multivitamin formulas may be an ideal choice for those who already have a reasonably good diet and who don’t have significant health issues. They offer safe and reasonable doses of essential nutrients that could help most people in their pursuit of optimal health. While the subscription structure might seem inconvenient for some people, Ritual is correct to maintain that consistency matters for effectiveness.

Ritual isn’t the best choice for people whose diet may be deficient in core nutrients or short in variety that would offer them the needed amounts of a wider span of nutrients. It may also not be the best option for those whose nutrient needs are greater than average because of personal size, activity levels, or medical conditions. Additionally, Ritual may not be the ideal choice for those with higher nutrient needs or lower nutrient absorption due to particular medication regimens.

Product line

Ritual offers the following multivitamin formulas. Unless otherwise noted, all formulas come in mint-flavored transparent capsules.

Getting started with Ritual

Ritual is only available through its company website. You’ll begin by answering a few initial questions, including how many people are in your household (Hint: answer one if you’re ordering only for yourself). If you’re purchasing vitamins for more than one person, you’ll be eligible for a bundle discount of $10 off your first order.

The sequence will then ask about your age and assigned sex at birth. The questionnaire offers non-binary as an option with a resource page for trans and non-binary customers that explains the differences in the gender-specific formulas and suggests customers consult their physicians when choosing the right formula.

Customers who select the female designation in the questionnaire will select whether they’re looking for daily nutrient support or prenatal or postnatal nutritional support.

The questionnaire will then share a key nutrient priority for your particular age, sex, and health goal group (e.g. iron for women under 50 who are not looking for pre-/post-natal vitamins).

Because Ritual also carries vegan protein powder, you’ll be asked how often you use protein powder (daily, occasionally, before/after exercise, or never). Regardless of how you answer, your “Recommended Ritual” will suggest protein powder in addition to a Ritual vitamin.

If you aren’t interested in protein powder, you can simply click the “x” to the right of the protein powder in the list, and both the powder and shaker will be removed from your Ritual lineup. The screen will allow you to add it back if you change your mind before checking out.

When you’re ready to make the purchase, you’ll be asked to set up an account with your name, email, and password. You’ll provide your shipping and payment information next and have the chance to confirm your order.

Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll get an immediate on-screen confirmation as well as an email confirmation in your inbox. You’ll also be invited to “plan” your “Ritual” by pairing your daily vitamin with an existing habit, such as taking it with breakfast.

Shipping is free, but expect to wait a bit to receive your first order. Although shipping times will vary, our testers waited two weeks on average before receiving the vitamins. Subsequent shipments, however, came in a very timely manner, and testers always had the next bottle before they needed it.

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Our experience as customers

In our testing, we purchased and tested the Essential for Women 18 Plus, Essential for Men 50 Plus, and Essential for Teen Girls. Everyone enjoyed the subtle mint flavor of the capsules. Capsules appeared average in size and were easy enough to swallow for those who don’t mind taking pills.

Insider Tip: Occasionally someone experiences a fishy aftertaste after taking vitamins, including Ritual vitamins. If you’re one of these people, we’ve discovered how to prevent that aftertaste: refrigerate the Ritual vitamins.

The adults had been taking daily multivitamins before using Ritual and saw the least difference with the new Ritual regimen. However, they noticed slightly more sustained concentration during the day. Additionally, the women’s formula seemed to improve skin softness.

The teenager had not been taking a multivitamin recently, and improvements for her were more dramatic. She reported feeling more energy and focus throughout the day, including an easier time feeling alert and clear-headed in the morning. She saw a substantive improvement in her skin’s clarity as well as a more consistent mood while using Ritual.

Women’s multivitamins

Essential for Woman 18 Plus—$30/month

Ritual’s Essential for Women 18+ is formulated for women ages 18-49 and contains nine nutrients. Ritual directly addresses the omission of vitamin C and calcium in its formula, explaining that most people in the United States get enough calcium and vitamin C from dietary sources. Instead, the company says it has included other nutrients needed to make the most of dietary calcium for bone health. These are nutrients that most women are deficient in—boron, magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2.

  • Vitamin B12 (333% DV)
  • Folate (250% DV)
  • Vitamin D3 (250% DV)
  • Vitamin E (45%)
  • Iron (44% DV)
  • Magnesium (7%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (.7 mg—DV not established)

Essential for Women 50 Plus—$35/month

Ritual’s Essential for Women 50+ is designed for the changing needs of older women and includes eight ingredients. For women 50 and over, Ritual doesn’t include iron, since post-menopausal women need less iron, and excess iron can impose strain on organs and raise your risk for certain life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Ritual also decreases folate, since older women require less folate than do women of child-bearing age. Essential for Women 50+ has more magnesium and vitamins K2, B12, and E.

  • Vitamin B12 (667% DV)
  • Vitamin D3 (250% DV)
  • Folate (100% DV)
  • Vitamin E (67%)
  • Magnesium (14%)
  • Vitamin K2 (100 mcg—83%)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (1 mg—DV not established)

Essential Prenatal—$35/month

The Essential Prenatal is a popular product—so popular that it was out of stock for a time but is available again.

In contrast to the normal women’s multivitamin from Ritual, its prenatal formula notably contains more iron, magnesium, omega-3, and vitamin D, in addition to three unique ingredients—biotin (in large quantity), iodine, and choline. These adjustments are all based upon research studies regarding nutritional needs during pregnancy for both mother and developing child.

For instance, research suggests that iodine insufficiency in pregnant women is tied to cognitive and motor development issues for children. Biotin, meanwhile, tag-teams with folate to protect genetic integrity, and studies indicate that choline plays an important role in fetal brain development. Ritual notes that insufficiencies among pregnant women are common for all three of these important nutrients, which is why it includes them.

  • Biotin (857%)
  • Folate (167%)
  • Vitamin D3 (333%)
  • Vitamin B12 (286%)
  • Iron (67%)
  • Iodine (52%)
  • Vitamin E (37%)
  • Choline (10%)
  • Magnesium (8%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (350 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (.7 mg—DV not established)

Essential Postnatal—$35/month

As its name suggests, Essential Postnatal is the postnatal counterpart to Ritual’s prenatal vitamin. Essential Postnatal is intended to help women for the six months following birth and while women are lactating. Consistent with the company’s overarching philosophy, Ritual delivers the nutrients that new mothers need but don’t ordinarily consume in high enough quantities for optimal health.

Unlike the prenatal vitamin, this supplement is formulated with vitamins A and C, as well as zinc. It contains less iron, in keeping with dietary recommendations during lactation.

This postnatal vitamin aims to fortify the health of both the postpartum mother and the nursing infant. For instance, the amount of omega-3 fatty acids included in Essential Postnatal promotes healthy fatty acid content in the breast milk that feeds a newborn. Similarly, Ritual provides iodine, biotin, and choline to compensate for the higher nutritional demands while a woman is breastfeeding.

  • Biotin (857%)
  • Vitamin B12 (357%)
  • Vitamin D3 (333%)
  • Folate (167%)
  • Iodine (69%)
  • Vitamin E (53%)
  • Vitamin A as mixed carotenoids (38%)
  • Iron (30%)
  • Zinc (23%)
  • Vitamin C (21%)
  • Choline (10%)
  • Magnesium (8%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (350 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (.7 mg—DV not established)

Men’s multivitamins

Essential for Men 18 Plus—$30/month

The Essentials for Men 18+ formula differs in a few key ways from its equivalent for women. Men have higher recommended daily intakes of zinc and vitamin A than women, yet American men tend to get insufficient quantities of them from dietary sources. Additionally, since men have a lower recommended daily intake of iron than women, the men’s multivitamin does not contain iron.

  • Vitamin B12 (333%)
  • Vitamin D3 (250%)
  • Folate (50%)
  • Vitamin E (45%)
  • Zinc (22%)
  • Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate (20%)
  • Magnesium (7%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (.7 mg—DV not established)

Essential for Men 50 Plus—$35/month

While this vitamin has the same ingredients as the Essential for Men 18+, the doses of five nutrients differ in this formula designed for men ages 50 and over. The Essential for Men 50+ contains more folate, magnesium, and vitamins E, K2, and B12. These additions support bone health and help address the most likely dietary gaps experienced by men over 50.

  • Vitamin B12 (667%)
  • Vitamin D3 (250%)
  • Folate (100%)
  • Vitamin E (67%)
  • Zinc (22%)
  • Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate (20%)
  • Magnesium (14%)
  • Vitamin K2 (100 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)
  • Boron (.7 mg—DV not established)

Ritual vitamins for kids and teens

Ritual has begun offering high-quality supplements formulated for children as well. Currently, there are three products available for kids.

Essential for Kids 4+—$30/month

These gummy multivitamins for kids ages 4 and up manage to be tasty (flavored by lemon, raspberry, and monk fruit) while containing zero sugar. They’ll deliver the essential nutrients that Ritual’s research indicates kids need in a supplement.

The inclusion of omega-3s and prebiotics in a tasty kids’ gummy helps Ritual’s new product stand out. Nearly 80% of top-brand gummy multivitamins for young kids fail to contain omega-3 fatty acids, and only a handful contain probiotics.

  • Vitamin A as beta-carotene (10%)
  • Vitamin C (20%)
  • Vitamin D3 (100%)
  • Vitamin E (33%)
  • Folate (50%)
  • Vitamin B12 (100%)
  • Choline (10%)
  • Iodine (20%)
  • Zinc (20%)
  • Vitamin K2 (45 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (50 mg—DV not established)
  • Fiber and Prebiotic Blend (5 g—DV not established)

Essential for Teens (Hers)—$30/month

Formulated specifically to meet the dietary needs of girls ages 13-17, the Essential for Teens (Hers) comes in Ritual’s standard delayed-release capsule and features a subtle mint overtone. It contains chelated iron to promote healthy red blood cell count. Bone, brain, and immune health are also emphasized in the formula, with omega-3 fatty acids and other important nutrients for teen girls.

  • Vitamin B12 (417%)
  • Vitamin D3 (250%)
  • Folate (100%)
  • Vitamin E (50%)
  • Iron (44%)
  • Zinc (27%)
  • Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate (20%)
  • Magnesium (7%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)

Essential for Teens (His)—$30/month

For teenage boys ages 13-17, Ritual has a formula—Essential for Teens (His), which contains many of the same vital nutrients as the multivitamin for teen girls. However, some of the proportions are different based on what scientific research suggests is optimal for boys. The teen “His” version also omits iron.

  • Vitamin B12 (417%)
  • Vitamin D3 (250%)
  • Vitamin E (50%)
  • Folate (50%)
  • Zinc (27%)
  • Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate (20%)
  • Magnesium (7%)
  • Vitamin K2 (90 mcg—DV not established)
  • Omega-3 DHA (330 mg—DV not established)

Bundling opportunities

To take advantage of Ritual’s $10 discount on your first month, consider whether a bundle makes sense for you or your household. Ritual has suggested bundles for its multivitamins and protein powders.

  • Essential Duo includes a pairing of their plant-based protein powder and any adult multivitamin formula.
  • The Co-Habit comes with men’s and women’s Essential 18+ vitamins. This bundle is meant for young heterosexual adults living together. Your relationship status doesn’t matter to Ritual; the company just wants you to be healthy.
  • The Life Partner offers two 50+ multivitamins. The example includes two women, but you can create a bundle to reflect your partnering.
  • The Labor of Love includes a prenatal multivitamin and men’s 18+ vitamin for couples who are planning a family.

Ritual also lets you custom-build your own bundle through its “Find Your Bundle” questionnaire.

Your alternatives and how Ritual stacks up

Ritual is just one player in the explosion of alternative supplement offerings over the last few years. Although Ritual’s marketing narrative around simplicity and traceability has been successful, these vitamins aren’t the only game in town. A few other companies, including GEM, Honest Company, and Smarty Pants have comparable missions and messages. How does Ritual stack up against these competitors? Let’s break it down.

GEM

GEM is a novel supplement company that gives new meaning to “food first” by offering a daily “bite” made of real food rather than a pill. GEM’s product line includes a daily vitamin and mineral bite as well as specialized formula bites for immunity, sleep, and calm. Its Daily Essential formula contains 15 noted vitamins and minerals on the label as well as other acting ingredients like the herb ashwagandha and antioxidant astaxanthin.

Like Ritual, it has a science advisory board made up of nutritionists and other scientists who weigh in on formulations. Unlike Ritual, GEM offers both a subscription or one-time order option, which may be attractive to some potential customers.

While the idea of a flavored food bite is probably more appealing than a capsule to many people, GEM doesn’t tailor its formulas to life stage or gender needs. GEM also doesn’t contain omega-3 as Ritual does. Given that a multivitamin’s main purpose is to fill in nutritional gaps, we find Ritual’s customized approach to nutrient formulation and customization more scientifically sound and ultimately convincing. Ritual is also slightly cheaper at $30 for the general women’s or men’s formulas as opposed to $39 for GEM.

Care/Of

Care/Of is a supplement company that sells a large line of nutritional products through subscription online as well as a limited line through Target stores. In addition to multivitamins, it sells individual vitamin or mineral supplements as well as collagen powder, protein powder, probiotic formulas, and herbal/adaptogen supplements.

Like Ritual, it offers better forms of nutrients and more sourcing information for its multivitamin products than do most supplement companies. Its multivitamin is also considerably cheaper than Ritual’s, coming in at $15 instead of $30 for a monthly subscription. Care/Of offers a general multivitamin, a general multi with iron, and a prenatal multi, which means more tailoring for individual needs than GEM but still considerably less customizing than Ritual’s line. It offers a few more nutrients in multi formulas, but the difference feels minimal. Care/Of also doesn’t include omega-3 as Ritual does. Of course, with an extensive line of individual nutrient supplements, you can always add to the base daily formula, but you’ll quickly close the cost gap with these add-ons.

Finally, Care/Of doesn’t offer any mention or indication of third-party lab testing for quality, accuracy, and potency. None of their products have United States Pharmacopeia (USP) certifications.

Overall, we find Ritual to be the more tested and trustworthy choice.

Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants is a supplement company that sells its products online and in stores. It offers a full array of multivitamins in capsule and/or gummy forms along with special formulas for immunity and sleep. When purchasing from the company website, you can choose a one-time purchase or select a subscription for a cost-savings option.

Both Smarty Pants and Ritual offer comparable gender- and age-based formulas (except for Ritual’s Postnatal formula, which has no Smarty Pants counterpart). Smarty Pants has a wider range of nutrients in its multi supplements and includes omega-3 but only about half the dose of Ritual’s formula.

Smarty Pants costs less than Ritual, particularly with a subscription. A 30-day supply with a subscription is $20.65 for the women’s formula capsule or $27.85 for the gummy. You have the option of ordering a larger supply for more savings, however.

Although Smarty Pants doesn’t have USP certification for any of its products currently, it utilizes third-party quality testing and even ships every batch of its finished product to a third-party, c-GMP compliant laboratory for quality analysis. The company even provides a link where you can check your individual bottle’s “Certificate of Compliance.” Smarty Pants offers sourcing information on its nutrients but doesn’t achieve Ritual’s level of detail with traceability.

While we consider Smarty Pants a good option for consumers who prefer a gummy vitamin or a formulation that includes probiotics, we still appreciate Ritual’s simplicity and science in this comparison.

Our bottom line on Ritual is this: if you’re looking for a supplement whose safety and sourcing you can trust above all else, we recommend Ritual. It’s a solid choice for those who are interested in a supplement formulation that’s guided by scientifically based moderation and thoughtful nutritional balance along with customization where it makes sense.