Vitamin D supplement use increases 50% among US users; herbs slide, finds survey

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Dietary supplement, Fish oil

Vitamin D and omega-3 are up; but botanicals are down among supplement users
Vitamin D and omega-3 are up; but botanicals are down among supplement users
Vitamin D penetration has jumped 50% in the past two years in the US, according to a new survey of 6000 supplement buyers conducted by product tester and market scrutineer, ConsumerLab.com, that also recorded dwindling herbal interest.

Its 105-page report found vitamin D use had skyrocketed, especially among women who also were more likely to use calcium and probiotics, and that omega-3 fish oil supplements were exerting a “growing dominance”​, used by 75.7 percent of respondents as opposed to 74 percent in 2009.

Unlike many of the other 31 supplement types that featured in the survey, fish oil consumption was ubiquitous among all age groups and both genders.

ConsumerLab.com found 56.2 percent of people surveyed were vitamin D supplement users, compared to 47.9 percent in the 2009 survey and 36.9 percent in 2008 – a 52 percent hike.

“In contrast to fish oil, vitamin D use increased with age and by gender – 61 percent of women used vitamin D compared to 51 percent of men,” ConsumerLab.com president, Tod Cooperman told NutraIngredients-USA.com

Multivitamin consumption rates dropped slightly to 70.1 percent from 72 percent in 2009 among those polled – taken from ConsumerLab’s e-newsletter subscription list.

Botanicals took a hit in 2010 with only 37.6 pecent or respondents reporting using them compared with 44 percent in 2009. Glucosamine/chondroitin fell from 38.5 percent to 35.3 percent.

Online outlets were the most popular with 46.5 percent of people using them, compared to 44.1 percent in 2009 and 39.9 percent in 2008. Vitamin stores, mass merchants and direct distributors registered a small drop in patronage.

Other findings included:

  • Men were more likely than women to have taken coQ10, herbs and extracts, glucosamine/chondroitin, vitamin E, resveratrol, amino acids, nutrition drinks and powders.
  • Younger adults (35-44) were more likely than older adults (75-84) to have used multivitamins, amino acids, nutrition/protein drinks and powders, green tea, nutrition bars and iron.
  • Older adults were more likely to have used vitamin D, calcium, CoQ10, vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, vitamin K, and red yeast rice.

Calcium passed CoQ10 to become the fourth most popular supplement with use rising from 51.2 percent in 2009 to 55.3 percent last year. CoQ10 dropped from 55.3 percent to 51.2 percent over the same period.

The respondents also named preferred brands (out of 1356) They were:

Catalogue/Internet Brand: Puritan’s Pride

Direct Selling (MLM) Brand: Nutrilite
​Discount/Warehouse Brand: Kirkland (Costco)
​Grocery Store Brand: Trader Darwin (Trader Joe’s)
​Healthcare Practitioner Brand: Pure Encapsulations
​Health Food Store Brand: Carlson Labs

Mass Market Brand: Biotivia

Pharmacy Brand: Walgreens

Store Brand: Vitamin World

Almost 1200 vendors were also rated with the most popular being:
Catalogue/Internet: Swanson
​Direct Sales (MLM): USANA
​Grocery Store: Trader Joe's
​Mass Market: Target
​Online Retailer: iHerb.com
​Pharmacy: Walgreens
​Vitamin Store: Vitamin Shoppe
​Warehouse Store: Costco

“We originally began the annual survey to direct our product testing toward supplement categories and brands of greatest interest to ConsumerLab.com members. It has evolved into an excellent barometer of the nutrition marketplace,”​ said Cooperman.

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4 comments

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Taking Advantage of The New Vitamin D Trend

Posted by Lanna-Gerline Millien,

It is surprising to see the significant increase in the use of Vitamin D as a supplement. Quite impressive!

After reading these data one may tend to conclude that many firms will now take advantage of this trend and use vitamin D to create an interest amongst potential vitamin users; hence the idea of a few questions.

With so much interest and publications, how can non-scientifically trained individuals manage real information about vitamins in general and most specifically vitamin D? How can anyone ensure that they get to the knowledge that really matters, i.e. daily recommended dosage, what parameters can be looked at to ensure optimal efficacy, interactions with medications?

Overall, these numbers indicate an increase in the use of supplements but it would have been great to also examine whether this increase in sales also translates in an increase in real knowledge?

These data are a great reference thank you for publishing them.

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Fish oil stinks

Posted by Harold Walker,

Fish oil is probably the worst way to obtain one's Omega 3,6, and 9 daily allotment. The ocean has become a toxic waste dump and heavy metals and PCBs are now found in virtually every large fish taken from the sea. Fish farms are worse because they feed the fish chemicals, hormones and growth stimulants.

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Biotivia as top mass market

Posted by Fiona Schaffernicht,

It is not a surprise seeing Biotivia take the top place in this category. The company is unique in their concentration on advanced, vs generic, supplements and their customer service is light years ahead of most on line brands.

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