Dietary Supplement Statistics | US 2024

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It may come as a surprise for some people outside of the diet, nutrition, and supplement world to find out just how large the industry has become. There are literally millions of web pages, across thousands of sites, touting hundreds of supplements. All of that content has arisen because the Supplements Industry in the US alone has surpassed $163 Billion a year, and is expected to keep growing at 9$ for the next ten years.

We’ll break down some of the key insights gathered from hard data to generate a clearer picture of the supplement market–who’s taking supplements, what they’re taking them for, if they work, what ingredients are trending, and more.

Who’s Taking Supplements

Many people around the water cooler or break room wouldn’t readily admit to taking supplements, or complementary medicines. But the data indicate that the staggering sales in this market come from a small population of rich enthusiasts.

  • 59 Million Americans have at least one “complementary medicine” they pay for out of pocket [1].
  • 57.6% of adults take at least one supplement a month [2].
  • Nearly two-thirds of women (63.8%) take supplements, compared to barely half of men (50.8%). [3]
  • 15% of adults (~9 Million) have used a weight loss supplement. [4]

Supplement use increases with age:

  • 35.9% of men under 40 use supplements, but that goes up to 67.3% over 60.
  • 49% of women under 40 using supplements increases to 80.2% of women over 60.

In addition to these baseline data, we also have more nuanced data regarding multiple supplement takers. These are people presumably with higher confidence in supplements. It should be noted, however, that without qualitative statistical data to reinforce this presumption, it could be erroneous; it may also be that these demographics reflect attitudes of uncertainty, leading to more consumption, or doubt about efficacy, leading to double and triple purchases.

Header

Ages 20-39

40-59

60+

Totals

% Who take 0 Supplements Daily

57.7%

40.8%

27.5%

42.4%

% Who take 1 Supplements Daily

21.3%

25.2%

20.7%

22.5%

% Who take 2 Supplements Daily

10.2%

14.5%

17.3%

13.8%

% Who take 3 Supplements Daily

4.2%

7.7%

11.4%

7.5%

% Who take 4 Supplements Daily

6.8%

11.8%

24.9%

13.8%

These data paint a clearer picture of the demographics’ use of supplements. Younger brackets trend overwhelmingly to one or no supplements, with that use bracket steadily increasing with age. One interesting bracket is the 3 supplement range, which for every demographic is the least represented, indicating a clear delineation between user types: those who are willing to take one or two versus those willing to take 4 our more; once a user crosses the 2/day threshold, their likelihood of stopping at 3 is low.

Attitudes Toward Supplements

After looking at the raw numbers for people taking supplements, we can take a look at the more qualitative data–specifically, what do people think about supplements?

  • 68% of existing supplement consumers think that their supplements don’t do anything.
  • 62% of existing consumers are worried that the wrong supplement can have adverse effects.
  • 27% of consumers don’t feel sure they are taking the proper supplements for what they actually want. Additionally, 26% of people aren’t sure they’re taking the right dose of their current regimen.
  • 75% of consumers do no research regarding third-party testing, 73% don’t research industry certifications, and 72% don’t research production facilities. [5]

These numbers indicate that while people have a lot of misgivings about their nutritional supplements, most of them don’t put in any of the time to research the products to assuage those worries. This indicates a strong potential market for supplement education, as well as a need for that market to court experts and demonstrate that expertise effectively.

Why People Take Supplements

People take Supplements for a variety of reasons, and understanding those reasons can illuminate a variety of market data and lead to a better understanding of trends.

  • 45% of people take supplements to “improve” their current health.
  • 33% of people only want to “maintain” their current level of health or fitness.
  • 36% of women take a supplement for “bone health”, usually a calcium product.
  • Only 23% of people take a supplement because of advice from a doctor or other health care provider [6].

Breakdowns by type of Supplement can help understand why people are taking supplements, outside of their reported survey answers.

  • Multivitamin supplements are the largest share of purchases.
  • Vitamin D and Omega-3 supplements are second and third most common.
  • Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin B12 and the blanket category “botanicals” round out the rest of the list.
Header

% of Adults 20-39 Consuming

% of Adults 40-59 Consuming

% of Adults 60+ Consuming

Multivitamin/Mineral

24

29.8

39.4

Vitamin D

6.7

17.4

36.9

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

5.4

12.5

21.8

Botanicals

5.1

8.3

N/A

Vitamin C

5.2

N/A

N/A

Calcium

N/A

7.7

19.2

Vitamin B12

N/A

N/A

12.4

These data indicate some revealing macro-trends based on demographic. It appears that Vitamin C and Calcium have an inverse relationship: younger people appear to be the only market for Vitamin C, while only people over 40 consume Calcium supplements.

Additionally, use of herbal supplements drops to insignificance in adults over 60, replaced by Vitamin B12 supplements, which is unseen in the younger demographics.

Meanwhile, multivitamin and Vitamin D use continues to increase as people age.

What Percentage of Supplements Work?

Despite the millions of people taking supplements, representing billions of dollars in sales, it remains unclear which of them actually work as advertised. Most supplements are not regulated by the FDA the way drugs are; in fact, the FDA can only recall products based on discernable health harms, or fraudulent claims made by the manufacturer. 237 supplements were recalled by the FDA between 2004 and 2012 [7] for various reasons.

In addition to fraud and safety, there is the issue of efficacy. The following data are collated from previous studies–they are not reflective of individual studies that this literature may have not been aware of.



Weight Loss Ingredients (According to data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)):

  • 41.6% of researched weight loss supplement ingredients have no positive effect.
  • 29% have a possible effect.
  • 16.6% have a modest or moderate effect.
  • 12.5% of ingredients have insufficient study to make a determination of efficacy.

Multivitamins (According to Johns Hopkins):

  • Multivitamin use does not reduce risk of Cancer or Heart Disease.
  • 12 year study found no reduced risk of mental declines.

Omega-3 (NIH):

  • Do not prevent heart disease (though seafood consumption 1-4 times/week does).
  • High doses can reduce triglycerides.
  • Does not slow macular degeneration.

Testosterone Boosters (NIH):

  • 24.8% of supplements show some increase in testosterone.
  • 10.1% showed a decrease in testosterone.
  • 18.3% had no change.
  • 13.8% showed conflicting or insufficient data.

Common Supplement Ingredients

Two popular supplements, for weight loss and for testosterone gains, are commonly seen as compounds of several ingredients. The following are statistical breakdowns of their common ingredients and efficacy.

Testosterone (NIH)[8]:

The most common ingredients in testosterone supplements (by percentage):

  • Zinc 64.4% (CD)
  • Fenugreek extract 48.9% (I)
  • Vitamin B6 44.4% (CD)
  • Tribulus 42.2% (no data)
  • Magnesium37.8% (I)
  • Boron26.7% (CD)
  • Diindolemethane 26.7% (no data)
  • Eurycoma longifolia extract 26.7% (I)
  • Maca extract22.2% (CD)
  • D-Aspartic acid 20.0% (CD)
  • Ashwagandha extract 17.8% (CD)
  • Vitamin D 17.8% (CD)
  • Black pepper fruit extract 15.6% (no data)
  • Mucuna purines 15.6% (I)
  • Tongkat ali extract 15.6% (I)
  • Vitamin B1215.6% (no data)
  • L-Arginine 13.3% (I)
  • Vitamin B3 13.3% (no data)
  • Vitamin B9 13.3% (no data)
  • Calcium 11.1% (CD)
  • Ginseng 11.1% (CD)
  • Nettle root extract 11.1% (no data)
  • Saw palmetto 11.1% (N)
  • Selenium 11.1%(I)
  • Shilajit 11.1% (I)
  • Avena sativa extract 8.9% (no data)
  • Bioperine 8.9% (D)
  • Damiana leaf 8.9% (no data)
  • Epimedium8.9% (N)
  • Ginkgo biloba 8.9% (N)
  • Rhodiola rosea extract 8.9% (N)

(I) increased testosterone, (D) decreased, (N) no change, (CD) Conflicting Data. These summaries are not exhaustive, and determinations regarding each ingredient should be made on an individual basis. Studies and data exist outside the scope of this limited review.

Weight Loss (NIH)[9]:

  • Dietary Fibers
  • Caffeine
    • Green Coffee (M)
    • Green Tea (M)
    • Guarana  (M)
    • Kola nut (M)
    • Yerba Mate (M)
  • Carnitine (M)
  • Chitosan (M)
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (M)
  • Fucoxanthin (I)
  • Garcinia cambogia (N)
  • Guar gum (N)
  • Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) (N)
  • Probiotics (M)
  • Pyruvate (M)
  • Vitamins
    • B12
    • D(3) (N)
  • Minerals
    • Calcium (M)
    • Chromium (M)
  • Plants/Herbs
    • African Mango (Irvingia gabonensis) (M)
    • Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium) (I)
    • Capsaicin (chili peppers) (N)
    • Coleus forsskohlii (N)
    • Raspberry ketone (I)
    • White kidney bean (M)
    • Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe) (N)

(N) No effect on weight loss, (M) modest, minimal, or probable effect, (I) insufficient data. These summaries are not exhaustive, and determinations regarding each ingredient should be made on an individual basis. Studies and data exist outside the scope of this limited review.

References

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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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