II. Key Study Findings
Omega-3 fatty acids: Using a Congressional Budget Office (CBO-type) cost accounting methodology, the estimate of the five-year (2006-2010) net savings in hospital expenditures and physician charges resulting from a reduction in the occurrence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among the over age-65 population through daily intake of approximately 1800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids is $3.1 billion. Approximately 384,303 thousand hospitalizations due to CHD could be avoided across the five years.
Lutein with Zeaxanthin: Because the loss of vision is widely considered a determinant of dependency among older adults, our cost study comprises the potential avoided transitions to dependency associated with a reduction in the relative risk of AMD among the over-65 population through daily intake of 6-10 mg of lutein with zeaxanthin. We estimate a potential cost savings of $2.5 billion if approximately 98,219 individuals avoided the transition to greater dependency through not needing care in the community, and 32,740 are able to avoid admission to a nursing facility that would be necessitated by the loss of their sight from AMD over the five years.
Vitamin D: Studies have shown that a substantial number of women aged 65 and over are deficient in Vitamin D. Much of the literature on the health effects associated with Vitamin D center on its use in combination with calcium to yield positive bone health outcomes, reduced fractures and reduced risk of falls. We found that when Vitamin D is studied directly, there is a focus on changes in biomarkers versus outcomes that impact costs. While the hypothesized pathway between changes in bone density and vitamin levels in the blood, and the probability of future fractures and falls is well reasoned, the literature is largely absent on making a direct connection between vitamin D on these outcomes. Out of fourteen randomized or quasi-randomized trials, only one was a trial of vitamin D alone. Protection against hip fracture was not confirmed in this study.
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