Recent research suggests the majority of adults in the U.S. now take dietary supplements for a variety of reasons. From vitamins and minerals to weight loss pills, most people see a lot of value in supplement use. But why is that? And is this a good trend, or could there be some unintended consequences from so many adults taking supplements? Let’s take a look at what the experts are saying as it relates to trends in supplement use, and what’s likely ahead.
The Latest Facts on Dietary Supplements in the U.S.
According to the 2017 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 76 percent of U.S. adults take supplements. That’s a 5 percent increase from 2016’s survey results, showing that more people are concerned enough with their health that they’re willing to seek out supplements that are supposed to help. The same study found that 87 percent of adults trust that dietary supplements are effective and of high quality.
So what kinds of dietary supplements are people taking? The survey shows that 75 percent of U.S. adults have taken vitamins or minerals in the last year, so it’s no surprise that those top the list. Next up are specialty supplements, which are followed by herbs/botanicals, sports nutrition supplements, and weight management pills.
Top Reasons for the Increase in Supplement Use
Research by Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) backed up the findings of CRN’s survey, as it found that 31 percent of people who take supplements are buying vitamins. The next most popular types of supplements are herbs/botanicals and specialty supplements, which are tied at 18 percent.
NBJ also found some possible reasons that more people are likely taking supplements. Not only are there more types of dietary supplements available—allowing people to solve more health issues this way—but they also come in more variations. While you used to mainly have to choose from hard and soft pills, now you don’t have to swallow pills at all to get the benefits of supplements. Instead, you can opt for gummies, lollipops, powders, lozenges, liquids, shots, and chewable supplements. Non-pills now make up 34 percent of supplements on the market and that number continues to rise.
Additionally, thanks to the internet, dietary supplements are easier to buy. While most people still buy their supplements in local stores, online retailers—especially Amazon—are quickly gaining ground here and will likely become the most popular source of supplements in the future. This, in turn, will make it even easier for people to buy supplements without leaving their house, which could further increase the popularity of supplements.
What the Latest Supplement Data Means
Clearly, adults in the US have some health concerns they’re hoping supplements can solve. In particular, NBJ’s research found that the most common health concerns include:
- Sleep problems
- Lack of energy
- Skin or hair problems
- Sore joints
- Sore muscles
In addition, CRN’s own research found that the top reason for people to take supplements is for health and wellness benefits, as that’s the reason 46 percent of U.S. adults gave for taking them. About 30 percent of respondents reported taking supplements to fill in their diet’s nutrition gaps, while 28 percent reported taking supplements for added energy.
Whether you’re interested in an energy boost or need to increase the amount of protein you’re getting, adding calcium and vitamin D for bone health, or rounding out other nutrients in your diet, supplements can be a good option. Do your due diligence. Make sure you research the brand first to make sure it’s highly regarded and safe, and look for products without added fillers and junk that you don’t need. Also, don’t take too much of the nutrient you need, because you could experience health problems from too much of even the top-rated supplements.
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Other resources on the topic of supplement use: