lethargyAccording to new statistics released this month, more than half of U.S. adults are using supplements. The statistics show that 53 percent of American adults are using some form of supplementation.

Lead researcher Jaime Gahche and her counterparts called the use of supplements “widespread” in their assessment, and that supplements are “contributing substantially to total nutrient intake” in the United States.

The report looked at supplement use among adults from 2003 to 2006, and compared it to use in 1988 to 1994. Among the findings:

  • Nearly 40 percent of all Americans use at least one multivitamin/multimineral product, with use more common among women than men. That is up from 30 percent in the previous findings.
  • The newest statistics show that more than 60 percent of all women over the age of 60 use a calcium supplement, compared to less than 30 percent in previous reports.
  • Supplemental vitamin D use has increased dramatically in both men and women since the first study, especially in adults over the age of 40.

The study’s authors point out that supplement usage information should be collected to have an accurate picture of total health. In an interview with WebMD, Gahche said:

Dietary supplement use has increased in adults over age 20 since 1994, and we have over one-half of Americans taking one or more supplements a day. This information is important because such a high prevalence of people take dietary supplements. So we need to make sure we capture this information when assessing nutritional status. If we only include food and beverages, we are missing out on a big proportion.

While supplements can help offset nutritional deficiencies, many experts agree that taking supplements is not a way to make up for a poor diet. This thinking, according to Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical adviser for Consumer Reports, has led to an explosion in the supplement market, which accounted for approximately $27 billion in spending in 2009.

“There’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Avitzur told CNN.

That’s why it’s important to talk with your Health Professional about the types of supplements available on the market, and how each can help you achieve your own optimal health. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening as often as it should.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Association of Retired People and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, just 58% of people who take supplements discussed products with a health professional.

One of the most important reasons to discuss supplement use with your Health Professional is because not all supplements are created equal. There are great differences between products on the market today.

Some supplements work faster and more effectively than others, providing rapid absorption and higher nutrition value than others. This can be for a number of reasons: the method which the product is delivered through the body, the elimination of fillers and binders that provide little nutritional value to the products, and the quality of ingredients used to create the product.

When choosing a supplement – as a majority of Americans are doing based on the latest research – it’s important to note these differences. That way, you can be sure that the supplement you are using is best for you and your specific needs.