Dietary Supplement Use Could Cut US Healthcare Costs by $24 Billion: Study

Increased use of dietary supplements in the US could save healthcare consumers more than $24 billion over 5 years, a study commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance has reported. The study focused on calcium-vitamin D combinations, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein-zeaxanthin combinations. The study updated research conducted by The Lewin Group, a national health care and human services consulting firm, from 2004 and 2005 that included a systematic literature review of the most rigorous scientific research available. Researchers found that consumers could save on healthcare costs by increasing their use of supplements in the following ways:
  • Supplementing with calcium-vitamin D could help seniors avoid hospitalization for hip fractures, as well as prolonged stays in nursing facilities. Five-year savings: $16.1 billion.

  • If 25 percent of the 44 million American women of childbearing age not currently taking folic acid began taking 400 mcg daily, neural tube defects could be prevented in 3,000 babies. Five-year savings: $1.4 billion.

  • Elderly people taking 1800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day could help them avoid approximately 374,301 hospitalizations for coronary heart disease. Five-year savings: $3.2 billion.

  • About 191,000 people with age-related macular degeneration could prevent loss of vision and the dependent care related to it by taking 6-10 mg of lutein-zeaxanthin every day. Five-year savings: $3.6 billion.