The Supplements to Savings report revealed that taking vitamins B6, B9, and B12 can reduce the risk of cognitive decline incidents by 9.5%, resulting in 270,642 fewer incidents and a net savings of $109.93 billion
Some people take dietary supplements to boost immunity. Others use them to help prevent, manage, or treat major health issues. A new economic report, Supplements to Savings, reveals another reason for people to consider a dietary supplement regimen — greater overall health care savings throughout a lifetime.
CRN’s 2022 Supplements to Savings report
On Aug. 31, 2022, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) released its Supplements to Savings report. This analysis was commissioned to provide an in-depth analysis of both direct and indirect health care savings that are possible with dietary supplement use.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) model was utilized for this assessment. This model was created almost a decade ago to assess savings potential based on reduced disease risk in supplement users, resulting in differences in disease management and treatment costs. It also considers costs associated with medical events that may occur if supplements were not used to help prevent these types of incidents.
Calculating total savings estimates
The Supplements to Savings report analyzed six types of health conditions:
- coronary artery disease
- age-related macular degeneration
- cognitive decline
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- childhood cognitive development disorders
For each one, research has shown that taking a preventive level of certain dietary supplements can reduce medical events for those with a high risk of that disease. For instance, the supplements associated with reducing osteoporosis risk are calcium and vitamin D, while probiotic use has been connected with reduced IBS risk.
Based on a reduced risk of medical incidents and the potential avoidance of these events if preventive levels of the science-supported supplements were used, analysts were able to provide a net savings amount. They also provided the additional health care costs that could be saved if the entire target population engaged in full supplementation.
Health care savings costs by disease type
According to the Supplements to Savings report, taking omega-3, magnesium, dietary fiber, and vitamin K2 can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) by as much as 15.7%. If preventative intake levels of these supplements were taken, it could equate to 301,539 fewer medical events due to CAD. This would result in net savings of $13.3-85.3 billion, with additional savings of up to $83.84 billion if the entire target population achieved full supplementation.
The analysis also found that supplementing with calcium and vitamin D can reduce osteoporosis-related medical events by 14%, resulting in a reduction of 361,507 incidents. This would provide a net savings of $179.32 billion, with an additional savings of $155.41 billion with full supplementation.
An estimated net savings of $959.2 million was noted for age-related macular degeneration if the supplements lutein and zeaxanthin are used, with the ability to save an additional $942.7 million if full supplementation is achieved. These savings would be the result of a 4.4% reduction in risk, along with the avoidance of 21,718 medical events.
The Supplements to Savings report further revealed that taking vitamins B6, B9, and B12 can reduce the risk of cognitive decline incidents by 9.5%, resulting in 270,642 fewer incidents. This would provide a net savings of $109.93 billion, with the potential to save another $97.64 billion if the entire target population supplemented fully.
The net savings by taking choline for childhood cognitive development disorders was estimated to be $1.08 billion, with full supplementation allowing for additional savings of $1.07 billion. This was based on a 9.2% risk reduction rate, reducing medical events by 57,128.
The final category assessed was IBS. Net savings from taking probiotics for this condition could equal $110.22 billion according to the analysis, with $94.83 billion in additional savings if full supplementation is reached. These cost savings were due to a 34.7% reduced risk of medical events, along with savings related to 397.38 million fewer hours of missed work.
Helping patients realize these savings
The savings provided in this report are based on people taking enough of each supplement to achieve preventive effects for the associated condition. Helping patients determine these intake levels can contribute to greater health care savings.
One option is to start with the recommended dietary reference intakes (DRIs), then make adjustments based on the results. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides an online DRI calculator for health care professionals that provides individual suggestions for patients based on their sex, age, height, weight, and activity level. Enter this data and you and your patients are provided a comprehensive table of DRIs for each macro and micronutrient.