Study Examines Why U.S. Adults Use Dietary Supplements



JAMA Internal Medicine Study Highlights

Study Examines Why U.S. Adults Use Dietary Supplements

Regan L. Bailey, Ph.D., R.D., of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed the motivations of U.S. adults for their use of dietary supplements and the most commonly reported reasons were to improve or maintain overall health (Online First).


Researchers examined data from adults (n=11,956) in the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study suggests that the most commonly reported reasons for dietary supplement use were to “improve” (45 percent) or “maintain” (33 percent) overall health. Women reported using calcium products for “bone health” (36 percent) and men reported supplement use for “heart health or to lower cholesterol” (18 percent). Only 23 percent of those adults who used supplements did so on the recommendations of a health care practitioner, according to the study results.


“Nevertheless, given the widespread use of dietary supplements for health promotion and maintenance, increased clinical research efforts are warranted to address safety and efficacy. Also, more investigation on the complex interplay of social, psychological and economic determinants that motivate supplement choices are needed,” the authors conclude.

(JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 4, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2299. Available pre-embargo to the media at


Editor’s Note: An author made a conflict of interest disclosure. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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