More Than Half of U.S. Adults Take Dietary Supplements

Supplement intake has increased in the last 20 years, with more women taking supplements

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Adult U.S. dietary supplement intake has increased since 1988-1994, according to a National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief published April 13 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jaime Gahche, M.P.H., from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues calculated the prevalence of dietary supplement intake in 37,596 U.S. adults aged 20 years and older at three time periods. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988-1994, 1999-2002, and 2003-2006, demographic characteristics were analyzed for any supplement, multivitamin/multimineral, folic acid, vitamin D, and calcium.

The investigators report an increase in the use of at least one dietary supplement from 42 percent during 1988-1994 to 53 percent during 2003-2006. Women used dietary supplements more frequently in all time periods. Use of multivitamins/multiminerals was most common and increased from 30 percent in 1988-1994 to 39 percent in 2003-2006. Supplemental calcium intake in women aged 60 years and older increased from 28 percent in 1988-1994 to 61 percent in 2003-2006. There was no increase in the use of folic acid supplements in women aged 20 to 39 years since 1988-1994. Vitamin D supplement intake in men and women in most age groups increased from 1988-1994 to 1999-2002, but remained stable in 2003-2006.

"This report indicates high use of dietary supplements in the U.S. adult population during the past 20 years," the authors write. "Because a high proportion of the U.S. population uses dietary supplements, it is essential for surveys and studies that assess nutrient intake to collect information on these important contributors."

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