ConsumerLab, a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition, released the results of its annual Survey of Vitamin & Supplement Users. The 105 page report provides information on the most popular supplements, who is taking them, where they are purchased, and more in the U.S. for 2010.
The report found vitamin D use had skyrocketed, especially among women who also were more likely to use calcium and probiotics, and that omega 3 fish oil supplements were exerting a “growing dominance”, used by 75.7 percent of respondents in the survey.
The most popular supplements in 2010 were:
- Fish Oil: The popularity of fish oil supplements has been rapidly growing over the past several decades, as more studies tout the benefits of the supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids that benefit heart health, as well as arthritis and depression. Supplementation has increased as growing concerns continue over mercury levels in many types of fish.
- Multivitamins: Nearly half of American adults take multivitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D use by Americans has skyrocketed. Vitamin D has long been known to be essential to bone and muscle health by aiding calcium absorption in the intestines and the production of enzymes involved in collagen formation in the bones. This important nutrient also promotes normal cell growth and helps maintain hormonal balance as well as supporting the immune system. With increasing research pointing to the importance of vitamin D and the deficiency of many Americans, supplementation has increased dramatically.
- Calcium: Calcium strengthens bones, helps to prevent osteoporosis and is important for maintaining a normal heartbeat, regulating blood pressure, and even assisting with the healthy functioning of the nervous system. Calcium also helps the body to absorb nutrients by aiding in their transportation across cell membranes. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, which would equal about three cups of milk or other dairy products.
- CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound found in every cell in the human body. It works by converting food and supplements into fuel known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that energizes cells and helps them perform work. Though our bodies have the ability to make CoQ10, production of it decreases as we age. Therefore many adults 40 and over opt to supplement their diets with CoQ10.
Other findings in the report included:
- Men were more likely than women to have taken coQ10, glucosamine/chondroitin, vitamin E, and resveratrol, and women were much more likely than men to have taken vitamin D, calcium, or probiotics.
- Younger adults were more likely to have used a multivitamin than older adults: 73.0% of people aged 35 to 44 used a multivitamin, compared to 67.9% of those aged 75 to 84. Younger adults were also more likely than older adults to have used amino acids, nutrition /protein drinks and powders, green tea, nutrition bars, iron, and several other supplements.
- Older adults were more likely than younger adults to have used vitamin D, calcium, CoQ10, vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, vitamin K, and red yeast rice. For example, 64.9% of those aged 75 to 84 used vitamin D, compared to 48% of those 35 to 44.
- Among ten types of merchants from which people purchased their supplements, the most common was online stores, used by 46.5% of respondents – up from 44.1% in 2009 and 39.9% in 2008.