How Dietary Supplements May Reduce U.S. Healthcare Costs

How Dietary Supplements May Reduce U.S. Healthcare Costs

Healthcare Costs Keep Increasing

The United States pays more for healthcare per person than any other country in the world. In 2020, spending reached a new high of $4.1 billion, or an average of $12,500 per person. But despite rising costs, health outcomes have continued to decline. But what if there was a way to support health and longevity, and save time and money?

Listen as Dr. Dean discusses the benefits of proactive supplementation and the cost savings realized from the resulting kwellness benefits. And eep reading to learn how taking dietary supplements may help reduce the costs associated with conventional healthcare treatments for at-risk populations.

What Rising Healthcare Costs Looks Like

In order to paint a picture of what the future of healthcare could look like, we have to define where we currently stand. This includes that statistically only 3% of the average person's total healthcare expenditures are spent on preventative care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that the cost of healthcare in the United States is over $2 trillion per year, and this number only continues to grow. National health spending is projected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028.

The reality is, 75% of the nation’s healthcare dollars are allocated towards the treatment of chronic disease, which costs the U.S. more than $260 billion annually in lost workforce productivity. Unfortunately, only 3% of total healthcare expenditures is spent on prevention care.

“Chronic disease takes a huge toll on people’s quality of life, and the health care system spends a tremendous amount of money treating chronic disease, but has failed to focus on ways to reduce those costs through prevention.

Steve Mister, President, CRN Foundation

There are several underlying factors that can increase rates and therefore, spending on healthcare. One major factor is the aging population. The number of 65+ year olds in the United States is predicted to be 17% of the population. It's estimated that by 2030, this figure will exceed 20%. Since those aged 65 and over, on average, spend more on healthcare than any other age group, growth in the number of older Americans is expected to increase total healthcare costs over time.

Supplementation For Cost Savings

More than one-third of Americans take supplements.

A growing body of clinical research shows that supplements may help to save costs in the hospital, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve overall health. As a result, also reducing the need for medications, treatments, and surgeries.

While it’s no secret that supplements are commonly known for providing significant health benefits, many are unaware that they can also lead to huge financial savings. This is now coming to the forefront of the health movement, and for good reason. As more people adopt a healthy lifestyle, dietary supplements could play a significant role in reducing healthcare costs in the U.S. economy.

How Supplements Save Money

The CRN foundation recently published a report titled “Supplements to Savings: U.S. Health Care Cost Savings from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements'' exploring the potential healthcare cost savings for at-risk populations if they used specific dietary supplements as a form of preventative healthcare. At-risk populations are defined as adults aged 55 and older, diagnosed with a chronic disease.

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cognitive decline
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Childhood cognitive development disorders

Supplements For Preventative Health

The data suggests that omega-3’s, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic supplements could reduce medical costs associated with the following chronic diseases:

Magnesium: Heart Health

In 2022, the FDA announced a qualified health claim for products containing magnesium forreduction of blood pressure. This was based on a strong body of scientific evidence showing a link between magnesium use and blood pressure reduction. The cost savings expected from avoided CAD-attributed events is estimated to be $2.32 billion per year during the period 2022 to 2030.

Omega 3: Heart Health

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease (CHD), is caused by the buildup of plaque on arterial walls. This condition affects over 20 million U.S. adults and often places a heavy burden, both financially and in terms of reduced quality of life. Based on the estimated cost of Omega-3 EPA+DHA supplementation, reduced health care costs resulting from avoided CAD-related events is projected to be $4.47 billion per year in savings during the period 2022 to 2030.

B Vitamins: Brain Health

Aging is associated with a progressive decline in vitamin B-12 status. According to research, it is expected that the cost of managing the burden of dementia disorders in the US will be $433.4 billion by 2030. Although more research is needed, three B vitamins—B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin)—have been studied for their roles in improving cognitive function. Accounting for the cost of daily supplementation, the expected cost savings due to B vitamins is $1.86 billion per year for the target population from 2022 to 2030.

Vitamin D: Bone Health

In 2015 and 2016, researchers conducted a study that tested the connection between calcium and vitamin D supplement intake and the risk of a bone fracture. The final analysis reported that supplementation may produce a 15% reduced risk of total fractures and 30% reduced risk of hip fractures. Given the cost of calcium & vitamin D supplements, the net savings expected from avoided fractures is estimated to be $179.32 billion cumulatively, during the period 2022 to 2030.

Probiotics: Gut Health

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal tract disorder that causes significant abdominal pain and can greatly impact quality of life. One area of growing interest is the role that probiotic supplements may play in lowering a person’s odds of experiencing a severe IBS episode.Given the cost of probiotic supplementation, the savings expected from avoided absenteeism caused by severe IBS episodes is estimated to be $12.25 billion per year during the period 2022 to 2030.

The Cost-Efficient Way to Health

Studies continue to show that dietary supplements are a big gamechanger and may prove to be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve health.

This can be attributed to a few factors:

  • Dietary supplements are often cheaper than traditional medical treatments.
  • Dietary supplements can be used in combination with other health interventions, which leads to greater health benefits overall.
  • High-quality supplements have minimal side effects and can be taken long term, which makes them more reliable and cost-effective than health interventions that have short-term side effects or require ongoing treatment.

The dramatic increase in healthcare spending is in large part due to diet-related conditions and little focus on preventative care. Diet and nutrition is closely linked to health, but it's not emphasized in many healthcare systems.Identifying at-risk populations early and providing targeted solutions within healthcare programs could generate significant health gains and be highly cost-effective.