The Great American Supplement Movement

Among people who use multiple dietary supplements, fish oil/ omega-3 supplements now top multivitamins in popularity, according to a recent survey by ConsumerLab.com. The survey also shows that vitamin D use jumped 30% since last year and resveratrol use surged by 66%.

The ConsumerLab.com survey is based on 6,012 responses collected in November 2009 from a sampling of subscribers to the ConsumerLab.com free e-newsletter. Most respondents- like the readers of this newsletter- use multiple supplements.

Among the surveys key findings:

Fish oil/ omega-3 supplements were used by 75.0% of respondents (up from 71.6% in 2008) followed in popularity by multivitamins which were used by 72% of respondents.

Among the heaviest supplement users (10 or more per day) 87% used fish oil

CoQ10 became the third most popular supplement, with 55% using it, up from 50.9% last year. (Calcium use fell a drop, but it still held 4th place in the survey behind omega-3’s, multis and CoQ10.)

Vitamin D was used by 47.9% of respondents, a 20% increase from last year making it the fifth most popular supplement. Vitamin D use was seen to rise dramatically with increasing age!

Probiotics use was up 25% from last year. One-third of women in the survey used a probiotic.

Resveratrol saw a 66% increase in use. Interestingly, men were 50% more likely to use it than women (even though there’s no particular reason why it should benefit men more than women except that women normally live longer than men, so maybe the men were trying to even the odds!)

And, in a satisfying finding, the most popular place to purchase supplements were online stores!

The report on supplement popularity is interesting, as it comes on the heels of a well-reported story about a Congressional investigation on supplements. If you only read the headlines or listened with one ear to the news, you’d think that all supplements in the market are contaminated. The real story was that the only supplements investigated were mass-produced herbal supplements widely available in places like malls. (Even among those, the trace amounts of contaminants that were found did not exceed thresholds considered dangerous.)

It’s also worth noting that testing labs like ConsumerLab rarely test the boutique, doctors brands sold to health professionals (such as the ones featured in our store- Designs for Health, Douglas Labs, Vital Nutrients, etc.).

I’m glad to see that supplement use is on the rise, and I’m gratified to see so many quality-conscious and well-informed people buying from online retailers who actually take the time to investigate the products they sell, get to know the companies that make them, and stand by the products they offer.

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