Half of American adults continue to take supplements: Survey

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary supplements Vitamin Dietary supplement Office of dietary supplements

Half of American adults continue to take supplements: Survey
Use of dietary supplements in the US has risen slightly, with about 50 percent of Americans reporting supplement use, according to a survey of 20,000 people.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements also report for the first time the use of botanical supplements amongst a sample of the US population, with about 20 percent of adults using a dietary supplement with at least one botanical ingredient.

Results of the survey are published in the Journal of Nutrition​, and used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2006.

More women/girls than men/boys were supplement users, with 44 percent of males listed as users, compared with 53 percent of females. Furthermore, multivitamin-multimineral supplements were the most popular, with 33 percent amongst users.

“Without consideration of nutrient intakes from dietary supplements, there is a potential to misclassify the prevalence of nutrient inadequacy and excess,” ​wrote the researchers, led by . “These data suggest a high prevalence of dietary supplement use in the U.S. population.”

No surprises

Cara Welch, PhD, scientific & regulatory affairs manager from the Natural Products Association (NPA) welcomed the survey's findings, saying that the results are “what we all expected, and they support what we have been saying, which is that supplement use continues to go up”​.

Andrew Shao, PhD, senior VP, scientific and regulatory affairs, at the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), echoed these comments, adding: “This survey is consistent with other surveys showing a slight increase in supplement use and appears to be on track with the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements.”

The main results of the survey include:

  • 49 percent of the US population use dietary supplements
  • 33 percent of users took a multivitamin-multimineral supplement
  • 28-30 percent of users reported taking a supplement that contained the vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, and E
  • 26-27 percent of users reported taking a supplement that contained zinc and magnesium
  • 18-19 percent of users reported taking a supplement that contained chromium, iron, and selenium
  • 20 percent of adults use a supplement containing at least one botanical ingredient.

The researchers noted that classifications and definition of the various categories of dietary supplements is “inconsistent”. “Current efforts at the federal level to initiate a LanguaL classification system for dietary supplements are being investigated. LanguaL is an automated method for describing dietary supplements; this type of system would harmonize reporting of dietary supplements and allow for cross study comparison on dietary supplement use,”​ they added.

Source: Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/jn.110.133025
“Dietary Supplement Use in the United States, 2003–2006”
Authors: R.L. Bailey, J.J. Gahche, C.V. Lentino, J.T. Dwyer, J.S. Engel, P.R. Thomas, J.M. Betz, C.T. Sempos, M.F. Picciano

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