A nationwide survey has found the number of Americans taking nutritional supplements has grown to 77%. An almost equal number—76%—report they have trust in the supplement industry as a whole.

The survey was taken in late 2019 by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) as part of their 20th annual report on consumer usage trends.

Interestingly, another poll taken in late 2019 showed trust in the news media—who constantly attack supplements—was at an all-time low of just 48%.

Real results versus fake news

In recent years mainstream news outlets, whose primary funding is from the pharmaceutical industry, have launched numerous attacks on the efficacy of various supplements. They have been especially critical of weight loss and immune building supplements.

Notwithstanding these attacks, the vast majority of Americans have far more faith in supplements as a whole than they do in the accuracy of news reporting. In fact, many respondents to the CRN survey report taking supplements on advice of their doctor—a fact that only reinforces their trust in supplements.

This trust in supplements has been hard-earned. According to data from the U.S. government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in 1994 only 42% of Americans took a nutritional supplement.

By 2011 this number had grown to 53%. It then took almost another decade to reach today’s high point of 77%.

Clealy marketing has played a part in this growth; however, it is equally clear that the main reason supplement use has grown is because supplements work.

The multi-vitamin still leads the pack

The CRN survey found that the top choices for nutritional supplements had changed little from the previous year.

Coming in as the number one choice by far is a basic multi-vitamin, at 58%. Following at a distant second and third place is Vitamin D at 31% and Vitamin C at 28%.

Though not even registering in the top ten, the survey found that a growing number of consumers are seeking protein powders and cannabidiol (CBD oil).

Nancy Weindruch, vice president of communications at CRN noted that the increasing use of supplements appears to be due to a growing number of consumers recognizing that the modern diet and environment leaves the average person nutrient deficient.

“The average American diet is less than perfect,” said Weindruch. “We all have nutrient shortfalls to some extent.”

Widely used by all age groups

Perhaps the most surprising bit of information gleaned from the survey is the high number of younger adults now taking supplements. Though still lagging behind their older counterparts, the gap is surprisingly small:

• 70% of adults aged 18-34 take supplements.

• 81% of adults aged 35-54 take supplements.

• 79% of adults 55 and older take supplements.

Since the survey covered just general use of supplements, it did not distinguish between “whole food” and synthetic vitamin use; however, other surveys have shown an increased demand for whole food versions as consumers become better informed on the differences.

If you would like to learn more about the differences between the two, please check out our video The Difference Between Whole Food and Synthetic Vitamins.

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Sources: CRNusa.org, NutraceuticalsWorld.com, CDC.gov (National Health & Nutritional Examination Survey).