There's a Huge Gap in Women's Healthcare Research—Perelel Wants to Change That

 Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play.
Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play.

I often ask myself, "Do I really know what's going on in my body?" As I near my mid-30s after giving birth twice, I know that my body can do extraordinary things—but I don't know everything. How much did my hormones fluctuate during both pregnancies and how does that affect me now? Why does my hair feel so different now than it did a few years ago? Why did I just discover the four hormonal stages my body experiences each month and why didn't I learn about that in sex ed? There's a reason why there are no answers to the questions so many women have about their bodies: There hasn't been enough research.

Co-founders Alex Taylor and Victoria Thain Gioia found themselves asking similar questions during and after their pregnancies. Startled by the lack of research and regulation in the prenatal vitamin industry and its one-size-fits-all approach to women's prenatal nutrition, they teamed up to create their own supplement company, Perelel, to address the industry's many disparities.

Today, Perelel offers supplements and vitamin routines for women in many different stages of life, but it's not stopping there. The company has pledged $10 million to women's healthcare research to help close the research gap and provide more access to essential reproductive care.

Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play
Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play

I had no idea how critical this situation was until I heard Taylor and Gioia discussing it during their panel at Power Play in Los Angeles earlier this week. The statistics are, frankly, shocking.

"Women have been omitted from clinical trials from the late 1970s until the late '90s, and even as recently as a study in 2009. Women are still severely underrepresented in medical studies," Taylor said during the panel. "Most of what we know is based on trials done on white men."

Make it make sense—because it sure doesn't to me.

Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play
Perelel Health Marie Claire Power Play

When Marie Claire editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike asked the two women why they decided to take on this ambitious challenge, their answer was clear: "Women make up half the population, but we give birth to 100% of the future."

Women's healthcare is vital, and creating a product that meets a woman at every stage in her life is an obvious step in tackling the gender research gap if you ask me. But Perelel's commitment extends beyond supplements. The company has committed a portion of its pledge to the Magee-Women's Research Institute to further advance reproductive research, and it's partnered with the Good+Foundation to donate over $2.5 million worth of vitamins to women in underresourced communities.

I'm a mother to a daughter, the daughter of a woman who struggled through menopause, and a friend of so many incredible women who have dealt with fertility issues. I care deeply about the issues Gioia and Taylor discussed during their inspiring panel, but the research gap is something we all should strive to close. As the founders of Perelel said, "We give birth to 100% of the future."