Supplements in the News

Health Impact II Study Finds Seniors Who Take Certain Dietary Supplements Live Longer, More Independent Lives
Published Saturday, March 29, 2008

As the American population ages and U.S. healthcare costs skyrocket, taking certain dietary supplements could help seniors live independently longer, and offset healthcare expenditures by billions of dollars, a new study by The Lewin Group finds. The supplements studied—omega-3 fatty acids and lutein with zeaxanthin - have reported savings of $3.1 billion and $2.5 billion respectively over five years, resulting from reduced hospitalizations, physicians' visits and avoided transitions to dependency, the report shows.

"With healthcare costs for Americans 65 and older expected to reach $16 trillion by the year 2030, the need for innovative and preventative healthcare solutions is clearer than ever," said Elliott Balbert, DSEA president. "More than 187 million consumers rely on daily use of dietary supplements, and the supplement industry is pleased that this study reinforces the efficacy and health benefits of their usage."

Underscoring the important health and cost benefits of dietary supplements for U.S. seniors, members of Congress took one step closer to recognizing the role of dietary supplements in the health regimen of Americans when Congressman Chris Cannon (R-Utah) today announced the creation of a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements, which he will co-chair with Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). Cannon introduced H.R. 1545 earlier this year, which would allow supplement costs to be paid by Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

"As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health, it's important that the government acknowledge the positive impact dietary supplements have on disease prevention, and the substantial cost benefits to the healthcare system that result," said Cannon." Clearly, there's cause for additional research and sound public policy supporting these products, which greatly benefit American consumers and taxpayers alike."

The study's key findings centered upon how omega-3 fatty acids and lutein with zeaxanthin allow seniors to avoid common conditions such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), helping them live independently longer and reducing the level ofdisability associated with these conditions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a qualified health claimfor omega-3 fatty acids, and another qualified health claim is currently pending for lutein. The FDA has acknowledged that consumers will benefit from more information on food labels concerning diet and health and this, in turn, has prompted the agency to establish interim procedures whereby qualified health claims can be made for dietary supplements. Health claims characterize a relationship between a substance (specific food component or a specific food) and a disease or health-related condition, and are supported by scientific evidence. All health claims must undergo review by FDA through a petition process.

The Lewin Group's analyses of existing research studied the health effects of the two supplements as they relate to reduction in risk of disease progression for adults over age 65. Using Congressional Budget Office cost accounting rules, Lewin calculated a conservative five-year savings estimate.

To read details of their report, click here.

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