“Time and health are two assets that we tend to disrespect and devalue until they start depleting”
In light of this quote, today we introduce you to a pioneering company whose primary objective is similar – one’s overall health and one’s valuable time. And to attain this, let’s say hello to VITAMINE – Malaysia’s first supplement delivery service providing personalised daily supplements in pre-packaged sachets for your health needs.
Bela magazine had the opportunity to interact with the man behind this unique concept. The founder Mr. PJ Lai is a certified pharmacist with over a decade of experience.
The Existence of Vitamine
When asked how he came up with this novel idea, Mr. PJ Lai had a personal episode to share. Few years back when he was a practicing pharmacist in Australia, his father, residing in Malaysia, was found to have high cholesterol and prediabetic condition. The doctor advised him to make some diet and lifestyle changes in a confined period of three months otherwise he will be sadly put on medication.
Mr. Lai, being an experienced pharmacist, realised that once we are put on medications, there is rarely a U-turn. So, he came to his father’s rescue and mailed him some daily supplements.
Months later when Mr. Lai returned home, to his surprise, he found those supplement bottles still sitting on his father’s shelf. His father had conveniently switched to medications because of his unimproved condition and high readings. His father disliking the taste of one of the supplements and his lack of time to replenish the other, got Mr. Lai thinking.
If he were present to help his dad manage those supplements, would things be different? He pondered why it is hard for people to stick to a healthy routine of taking supplements daily. After months of planning, Vitamine was born.
Mr. PJ Lai believes that buying vitamins and supplements is like making an investment in your overall well being. “This service allows you to invest with minimal risk, you have the option of changing the plan or stopping a supplement if it’s not rightfully working for you”, he explains.
Since these goodies get delivered at your doorstep each month, the working community especially, doesn’t have to worry about running out of supplements.
Importance of Taking Care of Health
As we know, in a typical Asian family, women are the sole caregivers, and like most of the cultures globally, they hold the key to the wellbeing of the entire family. So, taking care of their health is most crucial amidst their overly dutiful schedules.
Mr. Lai stresses on the fact that our body is the home that houses our souls each passing day, as long as we live; therefore, it is our duty to take good care of our body, our home!
Significance of Vitamins for Our Body
In our childhood, we all have learnt about nutrition and the importance of vitamins in our science textbooks. But when it comes to implementing it in our real lives, we conveniently forget! From textbook knowledge to reality there is always a big gap and even when it comes to taking care of our health, there’s no exception!
About the significance of vitamins in our body, Mr. Lai emphasises, “Honestly, we all know the theory but we always need constant reminders to bring these theories live into practice! Vitamins are essential nutrients. That our body can’t make in adequate quantities. They must come from the food we eat. They are vital for disease prevention, growth, and good health. There are 13 vitamins in total.”
Simply put, without getting enough of them through our diets, one may get sick. One should generally get enough vitamins from a healthy diet.
Safe to take dietary supplements?
Mr. Lai says, “our body is a machine that runs 24/7, for as long as we live. To keep this machine running, we need to constantly feed it with fresh, high quality sources of power. This source of power comes primarily from what we eat every day, which are called nutrients.”
Additionally, he explains that we are exposed to all sorts of toxins in the form of pollution that harm us. To counter these pollutants, our body needs more nutrients or good sources of energy. In today’s fast-paced existence, with food on the go and with technological advancement, most nutrients are depleted to such an extent that even if you are eating healthy every day, you are still not getting enough nutrients from your diet alone. That is why there is a serious need arising now, more so than ever, to supplement our diet in the form of convenient tablets.
Is It Reasonable to Take Different Kinds of Dietary Supplements?
Says Mr. Lai, “Simply put, dietary supplements are an addition to our diets. We can’t really recompense for poor dietary habits, a negative attitude, lack of exercise and poor sleeping habits by taking supplements. But when done right, supplements can really create a major beneficial impact on our health and wellbeing.”
Taking multivitamins and minerals can ensure that we are at least consuming all our daily required nutrients.
- The antioxidants can help to neutralise the toxins we are constantly exposed to.
- Anti-inflammatories can help to reduce inflammatory responses triggered by exposure to stress of toxins.
How to Consume Vitamins and Supplements?
Mr. Lai recommends, “We at Vitamine can help you plan a complete supplement stack that complements your needs and health concerns. We will also ensure that the supplements do not interact with each other or with your current medications.”
He strongly proposes that before you start your supplements, you need to set your expectations right. He states that people often tend to compare supplements to medications, which is erroneous.
According to him, “Medications are used to ‘correct’ a disorder, whereas supplements are used to ‘prevent’ a disorder.”
Do these Subscribed Supplements Work?
If a supplement is working for your benefit, you will generally feel good and look better yourself. Vitamine offers free follow-up tests so that you can see the results directly. Some supplements like the ones for improving your energy or for your joints, you would probably feel better after taking them but sadly there isn’t any testing available to measure this kind of improvement.
Mr. Lai believes that if you can feel and visualise the improvements, you are more likely to stick to this healthy subscription habit.
The Challenges Faced by “Vitamine”
“Vitamine is a very new concept and its biggest challenge is to build awareness for people to know and understand this unique service,” says Mr. Lai.
According to him, this supplement subscription business model can be broken down into two parts: “supplement” and “subscription”.
Mr. Lai explains that first there is a need to increase the awareness of the importance of supplements. Taking supplements and vitamins wisely will not lead to the need of going on medications for ailments that can be prevented by taking your daily dose of vitamins and supplements.
Going from a “healthy” state to the “sick” state is usually a gradual process and that’s what the supplements do is to help delay this process or prevent one from getting to the “sick” state.
The second big challenge is to introduce the concept of a subscription model to people who are already on supplements.
These people are so used to buying supplements from the pharmacy every month and it’s really challenging to convince them to change their buying behaviour.
Nonetheless, Mr. Lai is confident that once people start subscribing and getting value out of this service, they won’t switch back to the old traditional way of buying supplements.
Favourite aspect of being the founder of this “one of a kind” healthcare service?
When asked about being the Founder of Vitamine, Mr. PJ Lai passionately replied, “the favourite part of this job is the satisfaction which I get by helping different people with different needs to achieve their health goals everyday!”
He shares that almost all his customers have his private number. “Every day I get text from them asking about different health-related questions. Some of these questions are not even supplement related, but I’m more than happy to assist them from a pharmacist perspective and I am glad to use my experience,” he admits.
Their willingness to come to him for advice signifies that they trust him totally as a health professional. And for him, this is the biggest pleasure and joy he gets from his job!
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice, it is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
From the Editor’s desk: Supporting local businesses, Bela magazine has no vested interest in the brand, nor any affiliation or relationship with Vitamine. The links to purchase are for the ease of our readers, and we do not earn anything from your clicks or purchase.
About the writer:
Vandana Oke is a home maker and a mother of two spirited children. She studied Interior architecture but always wanted to become a teacher. She completed her diploma as a certified Pre-Primary teacher and worked for few years as a nursery teacher back home in Pune before shifting to KL. A friendly person who has learnt to balance her personal and family time so that she can take up her hobbies as well.