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Do Supplements Really Work?
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
― Maya Angelou
Americans spend billions of dollars on supplements and vitamins annually. Here is a billion-dollar question: Do supplements really work? Researchers say that despite the lack of evidence, one out of two Americans takes supplements hoping to improve their health.
Natural Product Supplements Industry
In 2012, Americans spent $12.8 billion out-of-pocket on natural product supplements. This is equal to about one-quarter of what they spent out-of-pocket on prescription drugs ($54.1 billion).
The average annual out-of-pocket expenditure in this category was about $368. These findings come from an analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recommending Supplements to Patients
In 2012, Americans spent $12.8 billion out-of-pocket on natural product supplements. This is equal to about one-quarter of what they spent out-of-pocket on prescription drugs ($54.1 billion). The average annual out-of-pocket expenditure in this category was about $368. These findings come from an analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you thought $12.8 billion in 2012 was a lot, think again. According to www.statista.com revenue from vitamin and nutritional supplement production reached nearly $31 billion in the United States in 2018. And, the industry is set to add over a billion more in revenue in 2019. When consumers were asked why they used dietary supplements, most of them said that they did so for overall health and wellness benefits.
Sharzad Green, Pharm. D., is a hormone replacement specialist & pharmacist at Community Clinical Pharmacy, in Mesa, Arizona. She offers private Hormone Replacement Consultations to find a tailored solution that fits your needs. Sharzad has had the privilege of working with over 12,000 patients and providers in the Valley and around the world.
Supplements in Relation to General Wellness
Secondly, some supplements are thought to help with common conditions such as anxiety, sleeplessness, aches and pains, etc. In these situations, one may consider taking Adaptogens, Melatonin or Curcumin, etc. It is very important for me to learn about the specifics of the condition and what we are trying to improve so that I can make the best recommendation. In other cases, some supplements are suggested to help a person to overcome an illness faster, promote overall health or possibly prevent certain diseases (Vitamin C, Fish Oils, Selenium, etc.). Although these supplements may not be proven to be effective, investing in health and wellness is priceless for a great number of individuals.
FDA Reminders on Supplements
As you may have noticed, a warning on supplement bottles may read: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”. This is to inform the consumer about a lack of evidence on the safety or effectiveness of the supplement.
In addition to the OTC options we discussed above, consumers may seek prescription vitamins and supplements by working with doctors who are trained in the area of “Nutrient Therapy”. These doctors do specific blood, urine or hair testing to determine the level of certain nutrients as well as toxic metals or chemicals in your body. Your therapy is then prescribed and custom compounded, based on your test results. In all of these cases, it is crucial to discuss your medical conditions and current medications with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting a supplement. There may be drug-drug or drug-disease interactions that you may not be aware of. Feel free to ask me or one of our knowledgeable pharmacists about supplements and vitamins. We understand that with so many choices, it may be difficult to pick the product that is right for you. We are here to offer you solutions and suggest the best quality supplements available. Sharzad Green, Pharm.D.
When in doubt, contact one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at Community Clinical Pharmacy. We are here to offer you solutions and assist you in making informed decisions about your health.
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