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,, 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. 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,” president, Tod Cooperman told

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:
​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 members. It has evolved into an excellent barometer of the nutrition marketplace,”​ said Cooperman.

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