The order is similar to that of last year's survey, with exception of magnesium overtaking calcium. Use of magnesium among respondents increased to 43.1%, compared to 38.1% last year—a relative growth of 13% and the largest increase among the major supplements. The use of CoQ10, vitamin D, B vitamins, and, most notably, probiotics also increased—with probiotic use reaching 40.2% of respondents, up from 37.8%. Use of multivitamins and fish oil supplements declined slightly, although they remained the most popular supplements—taken by 60.2% and 65.6%, respectively, of consumers in the survey.
Out of the top 32 supplements, the largest decrease was in the use of weight loss supplements, which fell to 8% from 10.7% the prior year—a 25% relative decrease. The drop was likely driven by a retraction of a study which had shown a benefit with a green coffee bean extract, as well as government scrutiny of the promotion of weight loss products. The use of glucosamine/chondroitin, resveratrol, and nutrition/protein powders and drinks decreased moderately, while use of melatonin and vitamin K supplements showed moderate increases.
"The changes in supplement use seem to reflect research findings and events that made headlines this past year," said Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com. "For example, recent studies show a wide range of benefits with probiotics and magnesium, but indicate more limited applications for resveratrol than the general "life-extending" benefit for which it was originally touted."
The results are based on responses to the most recent ConsumerLab.com Survey of Vitamin and Supplement Users, which has been conducted each November since 2008 among readers of ConsumerLab.com's e-newsletter. Respondents are predominantly heavy users of supplements who, on average, report taking at least 6 different supplements daily and actively seek information about these products.
Respondents also identified where they purchased their supplements and rated 1,709 brands and 891 merchants they used. The supplement brands and merchants receiving the highest ratings on overall consumer satisfaction within their specific market segments are listed on the ConsumerLab.com website.
"We began the annual survey several years ago to direct our product testing toward supplement categories and brands of greatest interest to ConsumerLab.com members," said Dr. Cooperman. "It has evolved into an excellent barometer of the nutrition marketplace."