Most Adults, More Than 1 in 3 Kids Take Dietary Supplements

More than 1 in 3 children and nearly 3 in 5 adults take dietary supplements in the United States, a new report shows. 

The new figures continue a 15-year trend of small, steady increases in how many people in the U.S. use the products that can deliver essential nutrients, but their usage includes a risk of getting more nutrients than recommended. In 2007, 48% of adults took supplements, and that figure has reached nearly 59% in this latest count.

The new report looked at whether people took a multivitamin, as well as other more specific supplements. Among children and adolescents ages 19 and under, 23.5% took a multivitamin, while 31.5% of adults reported taking one. The most common specialized supplement that people took was vitamin D.

The report, released today by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, compiled survey data from 2017 through 2020 in which 15,548 people reported their household’s usage of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other botanicals that are taken by mouth in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form. The researchers said the vitamin and supplement market is large and growing, totaling $55.7 billion in sales in 2020.

More than one-third of adults (36%) reported taking more than one supplement, and 1 in 4 people ages 60 and older said they took four or more.

The data showed demographic trends in who uses dietary supplements. Women and girls were more likely to take supplements than men and boys, although there were similar usage levels for both genders among 1- to 2-year-olds. People with higher education or income levels were more likely to use supplements. Asian people and White people were more likely to take supplements, compared to Hispanic people and Black people.

The authors wrote that monitoring trends in supplement use is important because the products “contribute substantially to nutrient intake as well as increase the risk of excessive intake of certain micronutrients.”


CDC: “Dietary Supplement Use in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017-March 2020,” “Dietary Supplement Use Among Adults: United States, 2017-2018.”

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