Overall Dietary Supplement Use Remains Stable Among U.S. Adults

Summary and Comment |
October 13, 2016

Overall Dietary Supplement Use Remains Stable Among U.S. Adults

  1. Thomas L. Schwenk, MD

From 1999 through 2012, use of fish oil and vitamin D rose, whereas multivitamin use declined.

  1. Thomas L. Schwenk, MD

During the past 20 years, studies have shown little benefit from most dietary supplements, but whether such results have influenced supplement use is unclear. Researchers used a national health and nutrition database to assess use of vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements among nearly 38,000 adults during seven 2-year study cycles from 1999 through 2012.

During the 14-year study period, overall supplement use did not change: 52% of respondents reported recent use (i.e., during the previous 30 days) of any dietary supplements in 1999–2000 and in 2011–2012. However, use of several individual supplements fell significantly between the first and last surveys, including multivitamins (from 37% to 31%), vitamin C (42% to 36%), vitamin E (41% to 34%), and ginseng (6% to 2%), whereas use rose significantly for other individual supplements, including fish oil (from 1% to 12%) and vitamin D (5% to 19%). Use of glucosamine (3%) and chondroitin (2%) didn't change.

Comment

With few exceptions, the mostly negative studies of dietary supplements during the past 2 decades have had little influence on use of these supplements. An editorialist suggests several possible reasons for persistent use of supplements, including consumer unawareness of the negative research findings, a pervasive view that vitamins and minerals must be good for you, and inadequate restrictions on the claims that supplement manufacturers can make when they advertise their products

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Thomas L. Schwenk, MD at time of publication Editorial boards UpToDate

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Reader Comments (1)

Ignacio Other Healthcare Professional, Internal Medicine, Bogota

WONDERFULL

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