Lewin Group Issues Health Impact Studies
Indicates Billions Could Be Saved in Health Care Costs through the Use of Selected Supplements
Over the past several years, the Dietary Supplement Information Bureau has commissioned The Lewin Group, a highly-respected health care and human services consulting firm, to conduct a series of "Health Impact Studies" relating to potential health care cost savings from the use of dietary supplements.
These studies examined the results of existing scientific research on selected supplements to calculate their health benefits, then applied this information to current health care statistics, determining how much money could be saved with a lower incidence of diseases and ailments that could be avoided through the use of the select dietary supplements. The results of these studies were very encouraging, showing that for several of the supplements tested, billions of dollars could be saved over a five year period. Summaries and links for each of the four studies appear below.
Health Impact Study I finds that dietary supplement usage could save billions in health care costs
The first Health Impact Study examined five supplements: calcium (with vitamin D), folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and saw palmetto. The results were staggering: the reduction of hip fractures through calcium intake alone could save the health care industry approximately $13.9 billion through a reduction in hospital, nursing facility and physician expenditures. Folic Acid intake for sufferers of neural tube defects (NTD) over five years could save approximately $1.3 billion in lifetime costs. Research on the other supplements was similarly promising. Please click the link above for more in-depth information and to read the entire study.
Health Impact Study II finds seniors who take certain dietary supplements live longer, more independent lives.
The second Health Impact Study chose for its focus the health of senior citizens over the age of 65. The supplements studied were omega-3 fatty acids, for their role in decreasing rates of coronary heart disease, and lutein with zeaxanthin, for reducing levels of age-related macular degeneration. As with the initial study, the findings were overwhelmingly positive: with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, $3.1 billion could be saved over five years, with 384,303 CHD-related hospitalizations avoided. With lutein with zeaxanthin, $2.5 billion could be saved through avoiding greater dependency and admission to nursing care facilities necessitated by the loss of sight.
Health Impact Study III shows supplements help better manage diabetes.
For the third study, the Lewin Group were instructed to examine the potential benefits of dietary supplements for diabetics. The study found that diabetics, 34% of whom currently take dietary supplements regularly, report themselves in significantly better health than diabetics who do not take supplements. Diabetic supplement users also reported being in better health than a year ago, and are more likely than diabetics who do not take dietary supplements to engage in other protective health behaviors, such as refraining from alcohol and consistently managing glucose levels.
Health Impact Study IV updates previous studies, shows select supplements could save $24+ billion in health care costs.
The fourth Health Impact Study updated earlier analyses with new studies by the Lewin group and its experts, finding that just a handful of dietary supplements: calcium with vitamin D, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein with zeaxanthin could save the U.S. health care system over $24 billion over a five year period. This includes savings of approximately $16.1 billion through the use of calcium with vitamin D, $3.2 billion from omega-3 fatty acids, $3.6 billion from lutein with zeaxanthin, and $1.4 billion from folic acid. Click the link above for more information about this study.