Dietary supplement use on the rise

ATLANTA — The National Center for Health Statistics earlier this month issued a report showing that use of dietary supplements has been on an upward trajectory over the past decade — only 40% of Americans took supplements in 1988, compared with 53% who took supplements in 2006.

Other key findings included the fact that multivitamins are the most commonly used dietary supplements, with approximately 40% of men and women reporting use between 2003 and 2006. And use of supplemental calcium increased from 28% during 1988 and 1994 to 61% during 2003 and 2006 among women ages 60 years and older.

“We’re encouraged to see the government confirm what we’ve seen about dietary supplement usage — that it’s growing,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition in a release issued Wednesday. “Sales are up for this category, and our own consumer research has demonstrated steady usage by approximately two-thirds of U.S. adults [over] the past seven years.”

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year to improve their overall health, to fill in nutrient gaps and because their doctors recommend them, Mister added.