Selective supplement use could save ‘billions of dollars’ in US health care costs, report claims 

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A major new US report says that a selective supplement use programme could save “billions of dollars” in health care costs.

The 160-page report was investigated and written by analysts Frost & Sullivan for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

Supplements to Savings: U.S. Health Care Cost Savings from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements, 2022–2030 shows how only $59 billion in savings are currently being captured, specifies the chronic diseases avoidable with preventive care, and identifies nine supplements and intake levels which it says are needed to realize the additional billions in healthcare savings.

“This report is a wake-up call to American healthcare policy makers,” said Michael Meirovitz, director of government relations at CRN. “We must shift our public policy and healthcare spending priorities so American taxpayers can have better health—and pay less for it.”

The report supplies detailed evidence that the use of certain dietary supplement ingredients by specific populations can reduce the direct and indirect medical costs associated with a wide range of chronic diseases and conditions—coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, age-related macular degeneration, cognitive decline, irritable bowel syndrome, and childhood cognitive development disorders.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75% of the nation’s healthcare spending is for people with chronic conditions. In addition to healthcare spending, these chronic diseases cost the U.S. more than $260 billion annually in lost workforce productivity. The U.S. invests less than 3% of total healthcare expenditures on preventive care services. “When it comes to healthcare spending for chronic disease, an ounce of prevention is worth billions of pounds of cure,” Meirovitz added.

“Identifying at-risk populations early and providing targeted nutritional interventions like dietary supplements is a cost-effective approach alongside other healthy habits,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. “A steadily growing body of clinical research shows investing in preventive care through supplementation helps Americans avoid chronic conditions. This strategy is what we call a no-brainer.”

Each of the main chapters of the report examine the potential cost-savings achievable in supplementing for a particular disease or condition:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Artery Disease
  • Magnesium and Coronary Artery Disease
  • Soluble Fiber and Coronary Artery Disease
  • Vitamin K2 and Coronary Artery Disease
  • Calcium & Vitamin D and Osteoporosis
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin and Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • B Vitamins and Cognitive Decline
  • Probiotics, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Productivity
  • Choline and Early Childhood Cognitive Development

The “Supplements to Savings” report was investigated and written by research firm Frost & Sullivan. The research methodology is a cost-benefit analysis comparing disease-attributed risk and implied associated costs in dietary supplement users vs. non-users; and meta-analyses of clinical research studies for dietary supplement ingredients as they relate to reducing the risk of a given condition. Cost savings were determined by using data including target population size, risk reduction of population, and the number of possible avoided events from supplement use.

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