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Nutrients. 2017 Dec 6;9(12). pii: E1325. doi: 10.3390/nu9121325.

Contribution of Dietary Supplements to Nutritional Adequacy in Various Adult Age Groups.

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Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Linus Pauling Institute and Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Nutrition Impact, LLC, Battle Creek, MI 49014, USA.
Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.


Many Americans have inadequate intakes of several nutrients. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 specifically identified vitamins A, C, D and E, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, choline and fiber as "underconsumed nutrients". Based on nationally representative data in 10,698 adults from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), 2009-2012, assessments were made of age-group differences in the impact of dietary supplements on nutrient intake and inadequacies. Compared to food alone, use of any dietary supplement plus food was associated with significantly (p < 0.01) higher intakes of 15-16 of 19 nutrients examined in all age groups; and significantly reduced rates of inadequacy for 10/17, 8/17 and 6/17 nutrients examined among individuals age ≥71, 51-70 and 19-50 years, respectively. Compared to the other age groups, older adults (≥71 years) had lower rates of inadequacy for iron and vitamins A, C, D and E, but higher rates for calcium. An increased prevalence of intakes above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level was seen for 8-9 of 13 nutrients, but were mostly less than 5% of the population. In conclusion, dietary supplement use is associated with increased micronutrient intake, decreased inadequacies, and slight increases in prevalence above the UL, with greater benefits seen among older adults.


NHANES; adults; micronutrients; older adults; vitamin/mineral supplement

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

In addition to consulting work for the Campaign for Essential Nutrients (CFEN), the authors receive funding support from: USDA ARS grant 58-1950-014 (J.B.B.), NIH grant AT008754 (C.M.W.), Nestle Nutrition (S.H.Z.) and Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (B.F.). The authors serve on scientific advisory boards for AdvoCare (J.B.B.), Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (B.B.F., J.B.B.), Pharmavite (C.M.W., J.B.B.) and Metabolon (S.H.Z.). S.H.Z. is funded by grants from the NIH (DK56350, DK115380) and is a founder of Nutrigene Sciences, LLC, a company in which he owns stock equity. V.L.F., as Senior Vice President of Nutrition Impact LLC, performs consulting and database analyses for various food and beverage companies and related entities. Neither CFEN nor its individual company members had any role in the design of this study; collection, analyses or interpretation of the data; or writing of the manuscript. The authors made the final decision to publish these findings.

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