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Over 170 Million Americans Take Dietary Supplements

October 31, 2016

Increase in usage among Millennials contributes to overall boost among U.S. adults in 2016.

About 71% of U.S. adults, or more than 170 million Americans, reported taking dietary supplements, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). The 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that the five most popular supplements are the multivitamin (taken by 75% of supplement users), vitamin D (37%), vitamin C (34%), calcium (29%) and vitamin B/B complex (24%).
Overall, 53% of U.S. adults take a multivitamin, which has remained fairly steady over the years; 26% take vitamin D; 25% vitamin C; 21% calcium; 17% vitamin B/B complex; 14% omega-3; 11% each for vitamin E, fiber and protein; and 9% probiotics.
General population growth, along with an increase in usage among adults between the ages of 18 and 34 has contributed to overall usage, according to CRN. In terms of regular usage, 48% of Americans aged 18-34 are “regular supplement users,” 50% of those aged 35-54, and 62% of those aged 55+. Overall, 54% reported taking some type of supplements regularly.
This year’s results indicate that, as in years past, the oldest population surveyed (adults aged 55+) maintains the highest percentage of supplement use at 74%. Different from previous years, the 2016 survey pointed to similar supplement consumption patterns among younger and middle aged adult populations, with 70% of adults aged 18-34 and 70% of those aged 35-54 reporting dietary supplement use. In comparison, only 65% of adults aged 18-34 reported taking dietary supplements in 2015, while 68% of adults aged 35-54 said the same.
“It is exciting to see the growth in supplement usage among younger adults especially after our 2015 survey indicated that increased usage should be anticipated among those aged 18 to 34 over the next five years,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “Every industry is talking about the Millennials and the impact this generation will have. Our data shows the impact is already being made on the dietary supplement industry as young adults are increasingly incorporating dietary supplements into their health regimens.”
CRN speculated the increase in supplement usage among younger adults may also be correlated with a shift seen in the most common reasons users take dietary supplements. Historically, the top two reasons for taking supplements among supplement users were for “overall health/wellness benefits” and “to fill nutrient gaps in my diet.”
This year, however, energy (30%) has risen to become the number two reason for taking supplements among supplement users, behind only “for overall health and wellness benefits” (42%), which remains top of mind. “To fill nutrient gaps in my diet” now ranks third when it comes to reasons why supplement users take supplements, at 28%.

Another important finding, which is consistent with the findings from CRN’s previous surveys, is the high level of confidence Americans have in dietary supplements. According to the 2016 survey, 85% of U.S. adults have overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Among supplement users it’s even higher, with 96% indicating confidence.
In terms of product category, 86% of Americans are confident in vitamins and minerals; 66% are confident in specialty supplements (up from 62% in 2015), 63% are confident in herbals/botanicals, and 53% are confident in sports nutrition supplements.

“We’re always pleased to see data showing Americans are confident in our industry’s products. We were all the more satisfied to see that not only do a majority of Americans have confidence in dietary supplements, but also that a majority of Americans have trust in our industry,” said Ms. Blatman.
A new question aimed at measuring consumer trust in the dietary supplement industry was added to the survey this year. The question, “To what extent do you perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy,” revealed that nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy. Added Ms. Blatman, “This question will serve as a benchmark question for us moving forward.”
In its seventeenth consecutive year, the 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements serves as the leading resource for statistics on usage of and confidence in dietary supplements. The survey was conducted Aug. 24-30 by Ipsos Public Affairs and was funded by CRN. The survey was conducted online in English and included a national sample of 2,007 adults aged 18 and older living in the U.S., including 1,430 among those who are considered supplement users. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000. The precision of Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents, and plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for supplement users.
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