Nutritional Supplements May Save Billions of Dollars in Health Care Costs

Published: September 7, 2012
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A study commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance involving a systematic literature review of the available evidence to date, it was estimated that more than $24 billion in national health care costs could be saved through the targeted use of nutritional supplements. The five nutraceuticals examined were: calcium, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and saw palmetto. In terms of calcium, the study found that daily intake of 1200 mg of calcium with vitamin D by persons over the age of 65 could prevent approximately 734,000 hip fractures over a 5 year period and could save approximately $13.9 billion in health care costs. In terms of folic acid, the study found that daily intake of 400 mcg of folic acid by 10.5 million women of childbearing age could lead to 600 fewer babies born with neural tube defects and could save approximately $321,853,000. In terms of omega-3 fatty acids, the review found consistent evidence that omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent cardiovascular disease, and promising evidence of the role of omega-3 fatty acids in addressing depression, renal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. In terms of glucosamine, the authors review the evidence of its role as an anti-inflammatory in addressing osteoarthritis. In terms of saw palmetto, the authors discuss evidence of its use for the alleviation of symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The results of this systematic review suggest that the use of these nutritional supplements by particular at-risk groups may help to not only prevent several conditions but also to save billions of dollars in health care costs.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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