There has always been an undercurrent of thought that a pound of prevention might save an ounce of cure. And now that cure is outweighing prevention in terms of cost, combined with the fact that Americans are looking for just about any way to save a buck these days.
And that certainly bodes well for the supplement business. It bodes well for the supplement manufacturers whose significant investments in grounding the supplement industry within sound science the past few years may soon begin realizing a return on that investment as more family doctors and healthcare researchers associate supplementation with prevention. And consequently associate prevention with lower overall healthcare costs, as evidenced by the recent article published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The article underscored the need of multivitamin use among children “who [have] health problems, less active lifestyles and limited access to food or health care.” Pair that assessment with the Journal of the American Medical Associations’ recommendation a few years back that all adults ought to be supplementing with a multivitamin and sprinkle in a steady flow of good news around the disease-prevention benefits associated with supplements like vitamin D, and you have a recipe brewing that might make legislators and regulators more open to arguments like that recently pitched by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, take a more holistic view of health and save healthcare dollars.
More important is the American consumer, who votes with her pocketbook. Overall vitamin sales exceed $3.8 billion in food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets, according to Nielsen Group data for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, not only representing actual growth of 6.2%, but also representing a faster growth rate — sales were only up 3.7% for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26, 2008. For the current period, multivitamins are up 2.3% and children’s chewables 7%.