Rising healthcare costs remains the talk of the nation. It is interesting to note that research commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) couple of years ago shows that appropriate use of select dietary supplements would improve the health of key populations and save the nation more than $24 billion in healthcare costs over 5 years. The study updated research conducted by The Lewin Group in 2004 and 2005 that included a systematic literature review of the most rigorous scientific research available.
“Rapidly escalating healthcare costs in the U.S. have severe implications for our society as a whole,” said Jon Benninger, president of DSEA. “This study provides valuable data that may lead to preventative healthcare solutions and address the budgetary problems facing federal and state health insurance programs, corporate healthcost managers and individual families.”
Key study findings include:
• Calcium with Vitamin D: Appropriate use of calcium with Vitamin D for the Medicare population shows potential avoidance of approximately 776,000 hospitalizations for hip fractures over five years, as well as avoidance of stays in skilled nursing facilities for some proportion of patients. The five-year (2008-2012) estimated net cost associated with avoidable hospitalization for hip fracture is approximately $16.1 billion.
• Folic Acid: If just 11.3 million of the 44 million American women who are of childbearing age and not taking folic acid began taking 400 mcg. of folic acid on a daily basis neural tube defects could be prevented in 600 babies, saving as much as $344,700,000 in the first year. Over five years, taking into account the cost of the supplement, $1.4 billion could potentially be saved.
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The estimate of the potential five-year savings in health care expenditures resulting from a reduction in the occurrence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among the population over age 65 through daily intake of approximately 1800 mg of omega 3 is $3.2 billion. Approximately 374,301 hospitalizations and associated physician fees due to CHD could be avoided.
• Lutein with Zeaxanthin: Through daily intake of 6-10 mg of lutein with zeaxanthin, it is estimated that $3.6 billion could be saved over 5 years by helping people with age-related macular degeneration avoid dependency. Across the five-year period, approximately 190,927 individuals could avoid the transition to dependence either in the community or a nursing facility that would accompany a loss of central vision resulting from advanced AMD.
“The impressive results of the study provide clear evidence of the benefit of dietary supplements,” said Mr. Benninger. “As an industry, it is important that we fund studies like this and publicize results, so that consumers and legislators realize the value of supplements.”