Public Release: 

New article shows daily use of certain supplements can decrease health-care expenditures

Council for Responsible Nutrition

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2014--Use of specific dietary supplements can have a positive effect on health care costs through avoided hospitalizations related to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), according to a new article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements(1). The article, "From Science to Finance--A Tool for Deriving Economic Implications from the Results of Dietary Supplement Clinical Studies," published by Christopher Shanahan and Robert de Lorimier, Ph.D., explores a potential cost-benefit analysis tool that, when applied to a high-risk population (U.S. adults over 55 with CHD) who take dietary supplements, specifically omega-3 fatty acid or B vitamin dietary supplements, can result in the reduction of the individuals' odds of experiencing a costly medical event.

Hospitalizations for all U.S. adults over the age of 55 with CHD cost the United States over $64 billion in 2012(2), and the amount spent on the treatment of CHD, rather than the prevention, is burdensome on both the societal and individual levels--and only expected to increase, according to the article. "One way to control the burden of CHD costs is to minimize the number of costly inpatient procedures," the authors said. "Many dietary supplement products are available in the market today that have been shown to have positive effects on heart health through associated clinical studies...Thus, the potential decrease of total health care expenditures in the United States is a strong argument for the daily use of dietary supplements."

According to the authors' analysis of all U.S. adults over the age of 55 diagnosed with CHD:

  • If every high-risk person in the target population were to take omega-3 supplements at preventive intake levels daily, there would be an average of $2.1 billion in avoided expenditures per year and a cumulative of $16.5 billion in avoided expenditures between 2013 - 2020
  • If every high-risk person in the target population were to take B vitamins at preventive intake levels daily, there would be an average of $1.5 billion in avoided expenditures per year and a cumulative of $12.1 billion in avoided expenditures between 2013 - 2020

"This is a relatively low-technology, yet smart, approach that can be used by consumers, physicians, employers, and policymakers as a means to reduce personal and societal health care costs," the authors concluded.

The cost-savings model presented in this article was first presented in a report, "Smart Prevention--Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements," in which Frost & Sullivan conducted a systematic review of scientific research in peer-reviewed, published studies that looked separately at relationships between omega-3 supplement intake and the risk of a CHD-attributed event, and B vitamins intake and the risk of a CHD-attributed event. The firm then projected the rates of CHD-attributed medical events across U.S. men and women over the age of 55 with CHD and applied a cost benefit analysis to determine the cost savings if people in this targeted population took omega-3 supplements or B vitamin supplements at preventive intake levels. The report was funded through a grant from the CRN Foundation.

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The article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements can be found here. The full Frost & Sullivan economic report and accompanying materials, including omega-3 supplement and B vitamin supplement infographics, are available for free at http://www.supplementforsmartprevention.org.

1 Shanahan, C. and de Lorimier, R. (2014). From Science to Finance--A Tool for Deriving Economic Implications from the Results of Dietary Supplement Clinical Studies. Journal of Dietary Supplements.

2 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2010). Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Retrieved February 2013, from http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/

Shanahan, C. and de Lorimier, R. (2013). Smart Prevention--Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplement. An Economic Case for Promoting Increased Intake of Key Dietary Supplements as a Means to Combat Unsustainable Health Care Cost Growth in the United State. Frost & Sullivan. http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-market-insight.do?id=285115104

Note to Editor:

About the CRN Foundation: The CRN Foundation was established in 2009 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for the purpose of educating people about the beneficial, safe and responsible use of dietary supplements and their ingredients as part of a culture of wellness.

About the Council for Responsible Nutrition: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN's Code of Ethics. Visit http://www.crnusa.org. Follow us on Twitter @crn_supplements and @wannabewell and on Facebook.

About Frost & Sullivan: Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, they have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community.

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