Magnesium continued its ascent in popularity (+0.6 points), edging out CoQ10 as the third most popular supplement. Vitamin D (+0.3 points) remained the most popular supplement, used by 66.4% of respondents, followed 10 points behind by fish oil (-1.8 pts), and then curcumin and turmeric (-0.6 points), multivitamins (-1.7 points), probiotics, vitamin C (+0.2 points), B complexes (-0.9 points), and calcium (-0.6 points). Among the top 50 supplements, 27 declined in popularity while only 20 showed an increase, suggesting some softening in overall demand for supplements. The survey assessed the popularity of 138 types of supplements and analyzed popularity by respondent age, gender, and frequency of supplement use.
"The results this year show the rapid ascent of CBD despite its lack of availability in traditional retail channels. Vitamin D remained firmly entrenched as the most popular supplement and magnesium continued its steady rise while use softened for several long-favored supplements, such as fish oil, probiotics, and even turmeric/curcumin," said Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com, which independently reports on supplements and supplement quality.
At the end of 2017, only 5.6% of respondents reported using CBD oil (including hemp extracts). This rose to 11.9% by the end of 2018, representing year-over-year growth of 113% and making CBD the 40th most popular supplement, up from 84th the prior year. Although CBD is widely available online and in smaller stores, it is not legal to market CBD as a dietary supplement, according to the FDA, and it is not available from traditional mass market stores or major pharmacies and vitamin chains. Interest in CBD was spurred on in 2018 by its approval as a prescription drug for rare forms of epilepsy, extensive news coverage, and word of mouth and social media postings about its use in treating pain, anxiety, and other conditions.
The ConsumerLab.com survey was first conducted in 2002. Respondents are predominantly heavy users of supplements, with over 80% taking at least four different supplements daily and actively seeking information about these products. Respondents also identified where they purchased their supplements and rated the brands and merchants they used.
"We began the annual survey to direct our product testing toward supplement categories and brands of greatest interest to ConsumerLab.com members," noted Cooperman. "It has evolved into an excellent barometer of the nutrition marketplace."