Dietary supplements may help reduce health care costs

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Good news for health care practitioners, public policy officials, insurance companies and patients is that dietary supplements can prevent complications of certain conditions and save billions of dollars a year.

Good news for health care practitioners, public policy officials, insurance companies and patients is that dietary supplements can prevent complications of certain conditions and save billions of dollars a year.

HERE’S food for thought about finances: Use of specific dietary supplements in U.S. adults over the age of 55 not only helps improve their health but, according to a new economic report, can also mean significant savings in health care costs.

The study
The new report, “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” issued by the economic firm Frost & Sullivan, examined four separate chronic diseases and the potential for health care cost savings when U.S. adults over the age of 55, diagnosed with these conditions, used one of eight different dietary supplement regimens. The report found that utilizing certain dietary supplements that have been shown scientifically to help reduce the risk of experiencing a costly disease event among high disease-risk population groups can also be effective at controlling potential health care costs—in some cases, resulting in billions of dollars in savings. The study was funded through a grant from the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry.

The problem
Approximately 75 percent of total U.S. health care dollars are spent treating preventable diseases, with only 3 percent spent on disease prevention programs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, medical events—that is, inpatient procedures, hospital stays and emergency room visits—related to coronary heart disease (CHD), one of the conditions examined in the report, cost $78 billion a year.

A solution
However, if U.S. adults over the age of 55 years with high cholesterol took psyllium dietary fiber daily, the net cost savings from medical events related to CHD could be almost $2.5 billion a year between 2013 and 2020. Similarly, if U.S. women over the age of 55 with osteoporosis took calcium and vitamin D at preventive intake levels daily, the health care system could save $1.5 billion a year. For many people, the report can be a wake-up call to talk to their doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or dietitian about smart prevention, including which dietary supplements and what intake levels are right for them.


The report is available in its entirety at www.supplementforsmartprevention.org. Visit www.crnusa.org. Follow CRN on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and @WannaBeWell and on Facebook.com/lifesupplemented. North American Precis Syndicate

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