Dietary supplement usage has increased throughout the years and is expected to continue to increase over time. The increase in usage is partly due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 43% of dietary supplement users have changed their way of using and taking dietary supplements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who changed or altered the usage of dietary supplements, 91% report an increase in their supplement intake. The increase in supplement consumption stems from the consumer’s increased awareness of their overall health and well-being. With the ongoing trends on increased dietary supplement intake, we will shed light on the statistics on usage of dietary supplements as well as its trends among its users.
Overall Dietary Supplement Usage
There is no question that overall dietary supplement usage has increased over the years. According to data analysis from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 58% of American adults aged 20+ years have taken dietary supplements in the last thirty days. The report confirmed that the overall percentage of adults taking dietary supplements has increased in all age groups. Furthermore, the percentage of those who use multiple dietary supplements has also increased due to awareness and precautionary measures taken by the people to combat and protect themselves against infection and sickness. According to the CDC survey, the most popular dietary supplements in use are multivitamins, Vitamin D, and Omega 3.
The CRN also released its most recent 2020 survey regarding dietary supplements, which supports the survey released by CDC. The CRN’s 2020 survey indicates a higher percentage of women who take dietary supplements compared to men, at 77% and 68% respectively. The survey also supports another focal point of the study conducted by CDC with 98% of their respondents taking vitamin and mineral supplements, 46% taking specialty supplements, and 44% taking herbal supplements.
CRN 2020 Survey Highlights
Who Takes Dietary Supplements?
- 68% of Male Adults
- 77% of Female Adults
- 61% of Adults Aged 18-34
- 74% of Adults Aged 35-54
- 81% of Adults Aged 55 and above
Dietary Supplement Usage Categories
- 98% of users take vitamin and mineral supplements
- 46% of users take specialty supplements
- 44% of users take herbal supplements
- 30% of users take sports nutrition supplements
- 19% of users take weight management supplements
New Dietary Guidelines for Women, Infants, and Children
There have been updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) that touch on the unique nutrition needs of women, infants, and children. This newest edition is the first to provide recommendations for all life stages, starting from when a woman becomes pregnant. According to the DGA, the dietary and nutritional intake of pregnant women is different from that of a normal adult. A pregnant woman needs an adequate intake of folate/folic acid, iron, iodine, choline, and vitamin D.
Some recommendations from the DGA include:
- Women who are pregnant to take iron supplements as advised by an obstetrician,
- Women who are planning for pregnancy to take a daily folic acid supplement of 400 to 800 mcg,
- Pregnant and lactating women should consult with a healthcare provider about adequate choline intake and whether choline supplementation is needed,
- Pregnant and lactating women should supplement with 150 mcg iodine per day to achieve adequate intake, as this nutrient is critical for growth and development,
- Caregivers of infants should consult with a pediatric doctor to determine whether there is a need for iron and B12 supplementation before the age of 6 months, and
- Infants should be provided with Vitamin D supplementation beginning soon after birth.
A recent study conducted by the Natural Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, indicates that supplement usage is high among pregnant and lactating women, at 77% and 70%, respectively. According to the study, the top three dietary supplements that are being consumed by pregnant and lactating women were multivitamins-minerals, folic acid, and iron, which are all essential to their health and well-being.
What this Means Post-COVID
In a post-COVID world, consumers are still going to be looking out for their health and wellbeing. With all the current trends indicating an increase in supplement use, we expect to continue to see growth in the supplement market. Supplement brands must work on creating supplements that cater to the needs of consumers. As mentioned above in multiple surveys and reports, the most popular supplements are multivitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D. However, this does not mean that these are the only supplements for businesses and brands to focus on. There has also been a growing marketplace for probiotics, enzymes, and nootropics that have been taking off. Supplement brands that can incorporate these ingredients into their supplements will be able to capitalize on the growing demand for supplements in the industry.
Additionally, supplement brands and businesses must focus on being transparent with their ingredients and packaging through clean label. Because consumers are paying closer attention to their health and wellbeing, they want to know what ingredients, fillers, and flow agents are in their supplements. With clean label, consumers will be able to know that the products they are taking are safe and contain only pure, high-quality ingredients. According to a study conducted by Innova, 91% of Americans prefer a clean label because it denotes transparency of the supplement. As such, supplement brands and businesses that incorporate clean label into their packaging will be able to achieve growth in the following years to come.
Consumer supplement usage is constantly increasing and is showing no signs of stopping. With the evolving supplement needs and expectations of consumers around the world, dietary supplement brands and businesses should work hard to create new ways to meet their demands. Agile and innovative supplement brands that can do so will be able to come out strongest over time.
*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.