The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has issued results of a COVID-19-focused consumer survey that discovered more than two in five (43 percent) of dietary supplement users have changed their supplement routines since the start of the pandemic. Among those who altered their regimens due to COVID-19, 91 percent report increasing their supplement intake which includes adding new supplements to their existing routines (46 percent); taking the same supplements more regularly (25 percent); or increasing dose(s) (22 percent).
“As consumers continue to confront the devastating public health effects of COVID-19, Americans are focused more than ever on their overall health and well-being,” said Brian Wommack, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “As evidenced in the survey, dietary supplements continue to play a critical role in the lives of most Americans, and even more so in light of the ongoing health crisis. More than three quarters of Americans report taking dietary supplements and the overwhelming majority of supplement users, 83 percent, believe these products play an important role in helping to support health and wellness during COVID-19.”
With respect to the reasons supplement users have increased their supplement routine, CRN’s COVID-19 survey found that overall immune support (57 percent) and health/wellness benefits (53 percent) are the most common reasons why users have increased their intake during the pandemic. At least one third of supplement users who changed their supplement regimen also cite reducing the risk of serious illness (42 percent) and taking greater control over their health (34 percent) as top reasons for increasing their supplement routine throughout the health crisis. As for specific ingredients, the multivitamin (59 percent), vitamin C (44 percent) and vitamin D (37 percent) have seen the highest boost in supplement intake during COVID-19. Nine percent of supplement users who have changed their supplement regimen since the pandemic began also report increasing their intake of elderberry, with a 13 percent increase from female supplement users and 11 percent increase from supplement users aged 55-plus.
The majority of Americans (85 percent) report that the pandemic is a reminder to take care of their overall health. Both supplement users and non-users alike reported practicing other healthy lifestyle habits throughout the crisis. However, supplement users were significantly more likely to engage in these healthy habits compared to non-users especially in the categories of staying hydrated, eating healthy, exercising regularly and managing stress.
“CRN and Ipsos’ recent survey demonstrates that in light of the pandemic, most supplement users believe it is important that they continue incorporating dietary supplements into their lifestyle (88 percent), with many supplement users actually increasing their intake of dietary supplements,” said Chris Jackson, senior vice president, public affairs, Ipsos. “The data not only show increases in supplement intake throughout the pandemic, but point to sustained usage in the future as nearly all supplement users who changed their regimen (98 percent) indicate that they are likely to continue with their current dietary supplement routine moving forward. This data point, paired with supplement users’ sustained engagement in healthy lifestyle habits, suggests lasting changes as consumers continue to confront this public health crisis.”
While dietary supplements do play a critical role in supporting overall health and wellness, it is important to remember that no supplement may claim to treat, cure or prevent coronavirus or any other disease. Any product labeled as a dietary supplement that makes such claims is illegal and should be avoided. Recent legal actions by FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) targeting these products underscore that consumers must be vigilant against fraudulent claims. The COVID-19 survey found that nearly two in five (38 percent) Americans report that they have heard or read that there are dietary supplements that can possibly prevent or treat COVID-19.
“CRN would like to remind the dietary supplement industry and consumers that supplements may not claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19,” said Luke Huber, ND, MBA, vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN. “CRN believes supplementation is an important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle which also includes a proper diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep.”
For more information, visit www.crnusa.org.