Skip to main content

Supplementation reduces healthcare costs


Dietary supplementation represents big dollars in terms of the amount of healthcare costs saved by improving health outcomes and avoiding disease state ramifications. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition and its latest Frost & Sullivan research, supplementing a patient’s diet with one of several key nutrients can lead to billions in cost savings.

Sound familiar? The improved outcomes and preventive health message associated with vitamins, minerals and supplements strikes a similar tone to the conversation pharmacists are already having with their patients around MTM and disease state management — it’s all about educating the patient on leading healthier lifestyles.

“One of the uses we see for this study [is] the ability for either large employers or their insurance companies or wellness programs to implement dietary supplements into their programming as a way to improve outcomes,” said Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. “And if you have healthier outcomes, you lower your premium costs.”

CRN recently showcased the report for Walmart, Mister said, one of the larger employers in the retail pharmacy space.

Across just four disease states — age-related eye disease, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease in people with diabetes — relative dietary supplements have the potential to save more than $8.8 billion per year in annual healthcare costs. That is, of course, if everyone at risk for those four disease states supplements. But if even a fraction of those populations begins to take the appropriate supplements at preventive intake levels daily, that still represents a significant cost savings.

Specifically, according to the Frost & Sullivan report, an average of $3.9 billion per year in avoidable healthcare utilization costs is possible if all U.S. adults older than 55 years diagnosed with age-related eye disease were to use lutein and zeaxanthin dietary supplements at preventive intake levels. And if men and women 55 years and older with elevated cholesterol levels took psyllium dietary fiber at preventive intake levels daily, the cost savings for coronary heart disease could be almost $2.5 billion dollars a year. Similarly, if all women older than 55 years with osteoporosis took calcium and vitamin D at preventive intake levels daily, society could save $1.5 billion dollars a year. More than $975 million in annual cost savings related to coronary heart disease is potentially realizable through increased usage of chromium picolinate supplements by people with diabetes.

It’s not only that the supplements themselves help improve healthy outcomes, Mister added, it’s also the fact that patients who incorporate supplements into their health routine are more likely to pursue other healthy behaviors, or make positive lifestyle changes, too. “Dietary supplement use is intimately tied to other kinds of healthy behaviors,” Mister said. “It demonstrates that taking dietary supplements is one of a constellation of good behaviors.”


This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds