3D Printed Supplements: Could This Be the Future of Bodybuilding?

by Matt Weik

With so many supplements out on the market, how do you know what will work for you and your specific needs. For instance, I could use creatine monohydrate and get great results, but if I tell you to use it, you might be a non-responder and not get anything from the product and might need to use something like a creatine HCl. However, there looks to be something new on the horizon that could produce supplements specific to your body type and it has to do with a 3D printer. That’s right, a new company is looking to launch 3D printed personalized supplements.

Now Taking Pre-Orders

Technology today is simply mind-blowing. A new company called, Multiply Labs, has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create a new system to build specific supplements for individuals. The technology is so close to being completed, that they are already taking pre-orders.

In what took over two years to build and test, Multiply Labs is now taking several ingredients and creating a single 3D printed pill. Now, this specific 3D printer is not the normal 3D printers that we have been seeing others use in the technology world, but the idea is the same. The 3D printer that Multiply Labs is using is using FDA-approved pharmaceutical polymers which can actually control how quickly or how slowly the various ingredients in the pill can be released.

We have all heard of time-released products in the supplement industry, but this takes it to a new level. One of the founders at Multiply Labs said, “One of our most popular combinations is a morning release of vitamin D and omega-3 and then later in the day, caffeine. The fact that caffeine is added to the supplement and released later in the day is something a mass-produced pill cannot do. We found a lot of young professionals care about health and fitness but don’t have time to devote to their own well-being. Because we’re using 3D printing robotics to manufacture in smaller batches rather than larger batches, it allows us to do personalization and allows us to get different formulations out and printed faster.”

Mind = Blown

Let’s think about this for just a second. This technology will be able to allow individuals to make their own personalized supplements according to their needs, and be able to take a pill that can alter the rate at which its contents will be released. That’s absolutely insane. While this isn’t going to excite the masses who use sports nutrition supplements (or scare supplement companies) just yet, who knows what the future might hold for the category. Right now, Multiply Labs is focused on calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, omega 3s, caffeine, folic acid, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and D3. I’m sure once this gets off the ground and they gauge how well it’s doing, they will probably start to work their way into the sports nutrition side of the market.

So, I’m sure if you’ve made it this far you are wondering how you go about getting individualized supplements made. It’s actually quite simple. By submitting information such as your height, weight, sex, current diet, and health goals, the software will identify gaps in your current nutrition and develop a supplement specific to filling in those gaps. Multiply Labs did mention that at some point down the road they are looking to incorporate blood tests as well to further dive into what deficiencies an individual may have that they can include in the individualized supplement.

Right now, the company isn’t putting out a ton of information other than what’s listed in this article. They are keeping their process, materials, and ingredients undisclosed and proprietary for the time being. It is unknown if Multiply Labs plans on ever sharing this information or if they are going to continue keeping it to themselves.

Could This Technology Change Competition in Bodybuilding and Sports?

One thing that excites me is the thought of this type of technology in the fitness and bodybuilding industries. If we have a way to enter in our information or give a blood sample where they can break everything down and see where we are deficient, how will that change the landscape for competitors and even professional athletes?

If we are able to pinpoint deficiencies and correct them through the use of this technology, it could help improve performance, increase muscle size and strength, enhance recovery time, and more. All of this by simply imputing your information and possibly getting blood drawn.

I’m sure more information will be shared in the coming months as they ready for their full release and launch. As we get more information, we will be sure to keep you up to date.

1.) A. Melocchi, et al. “3D printing by fused deposition modeling (FDM) of swellable/erodible capsular device for oral pulsatile release of drugs.” Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology. Volume 30, Part B, December 2015, pages 360-367.

2.) A. Melocchi, et al. “Hot-melt extruded filaments based on pharmaceutical grade polymers for 3D printing by fused deposition modeling.” International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Volume 509, Issues 1-2, July 25, 2016, pages 255-263.

3.) S. Daniells. “MIT spin-off gets closer to launch of 3D printed supplements.” Nutraingredients USA. Published online July 3, 2017.