Individuals in the U.S. have been taking multivitamins and other supplements since the 1940s when they first became available, but a new study suggests that while overall supplement usage is relatively unchanged, multivitamin usage is dropping.
A recent study published in JAMA has revealed that while overall supplement usage held steady numbers between 1999 and 2012, multivitamin usage actually dropped within that same time frame.
However, supplements that included omega-3s, lycopene, vitamin D, and probiotics increased in popularity.
Researchers pulled and analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that included information from over 37,900 adults with an average age of 46 to reach their findings.
Officials from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) in Washington, DC expressed a positive reaction to the numbers presented in the study, stating that they were “encouraged” by the findings.
Others, like industry critic and MD Pieter Cohen, have questioned why the number of those still using supplements was so high after numerous studies had found them “no more effective than placebos.”
Despite the mixed reviews, other studies have recently come forward with positive findings about supplements.
One such study revealed that calcium supplements, when taken within recommended levels, are considered safe for the heart.
Over the past 10 years or so, multiple studies have raised questions about the effectiveness and the potential harmful effects of calcium supplements on the heart.
The new study, commissioned by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), has found that the evidence doesn’t support any sort of connection between balanced calcium supplements and heart disease or stroke.
Regardless, most medical professionals, like Taylor Wallace, who is an affiliate professor of nutrition at George Mason University, prefer patients get their calcium from items in their diet.
Taylor says that supplements should be used as a means to “fill any gaps” that may appear in a person’s diet.
If that’s the case, supplement usage may be decreasing as a result of more well-balanced diets, in addition to a variety of other factors.