Consumers understand micronutrient supplements help fill nutrient gaps, says CRN survey


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Image: © iStockPhoto / monticelllo
Image: © iStockPhoto / monticelllo

Related tags: Dietary supplements, Nutrition

The majority of consumers recognize that nutritional supplements can help fill nutrient gaps but should not be viewed as replacements for a healthy diet, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

Data from 2,159 people indicated that 87% of responders agreed that multivitamin and mineral supplements can help meet nutrient needs when people don’t get enough from food alone.

The data also indicated that consumers hold balanced perspectives about the role supplementation plays in overall health, with 80% in agreement that multivitamins should not replace healthy eating or lifestyle habits and 81% concluding that multivitamins should be considered as just one part of a healthy diet.

“A large majority of consumers already use multivitamins and other dietary supplements, and that use has been shown to decrease the prevalence of nutrient shortfalls,”​ wrote Dr Annette Dickinson, Dr Duffy MacKay, and Dr Andrea Wong in the Nutrition Journal​.

“Users of dietary supplements deserve the support of policy makers, to the extent that their choice is a logical and rational one.”


“Our data suggest that policy makers and health professionals can recommend dietary supplements to help improve nutrient intakes without being concerned that this will cause consumers to discount the importance of eating a healthy diet,” ​said Annette Dickinson, PhD, lead author on the paper and a consultant for CRN.

The findings are particularly important because a large proportion of the US population is not making the recommendations for a lot of essential nutrients. According to NHANES data, 50% of Americans are not hitting the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for vitamin A, 40% for vitamin C, and over 90% for vitamins D and E. For potassium, 98% are not meeting the requirements. For calcium and magnesium it is 50% and 60%, respectively.

CRN consumer survey 2015

“Surveys find that dietary supplement users tend to have better diets and adopt other healthy habits—suggesting that they view supplements as just one strategy in an array of health habits to help ensure wellness,”​ added Dr Dickinson.

Dr MacKay said: “As Americans continue to seek ways to stay healthy, dietary supplements play an important role, therefore, it’s important for our industry, as well as those in scientific, academic, health care practitioner and policy circles, to understand how consumers view that role.”

The survey was designed and analyzed by FoodMinds, and was fielded in October 2014 using Toluna’s On-line Omnibus.

Source: Nutrition Journal
2015, 14​:66, doi:10.1186/s12937-015-0053-9
“Consumer attitudes about the role of multivitamins and other dietary supplements: report of a survey”
Authors: A. Dickinson, D. MacKay, A. Wong

Related topics: Markets

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