CRN, Ipsos survey finds uptick in supplement usage

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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New survey data from the Council for Responsible Nutrition and Ipsos found more than 2-in-5 respondents saying they’ve changed their dietary supplement routine since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Of those who have changed their regimen due to the pandemic, 91% said they have increased their supplement intake, including adding new supplements (46%), taking the same supplements more regularly (25%) or increasing doses (22%). 

“As consumers continue to confront the devastating public health effects of COVID-19, Americans are focused more than ever on their overall health and well-being,” said Brian Wommack, CRN senior vice president of communications. “As evidenced in the survey, dietary supplements continue to play a critical role in the lives of most Americans, and even more so in light of the ongoing health crisis. More than three quarters of Americans report taking dietary supplements and the overwhelming majority of supplement users, 83 percent, believe these products play an important role in helping to support health and wellness during COVID-19.”

Overall, the survey found that 57% of respondents said they were increasing their intake for immune support reasons, and 53% were doing so for health-and-wellness benefits. Among products, vitamin C and vitamin D saw the highest increase in supplement intake among respondents during the pandemic. Nine percent of those who have changed their regimen said they have increased their intake of elderberry. Eighty-five percent said that the pandemic is a reminder to take care of their overall health. 

“CRN and Ipsos’ recent survey demonstrates that in light of the pandemic, most supplement users believe it is important that they continue incorporating dietary supplements into their lifestyle (88%), with many supplement users actually increasing their intake of dietary supplements,” said Chris Jackson, senior vice president of public affairs for Ipsos. “The data not only show increases in supplement intake throughout the pandemic, but point to sustained usage in the future as nearly all supplement users who changed their regimen (98%) indicate that they are likely to continue with their current dietary supplement routine moving forward. This data point, paired with supplement users’ sustained engagement in healthy lifestyle habits, suggests lasting changes as consumers continue to confront this public health crisis.”

The organizations noted that while supplements can help support overall health and wellness, no supplement may claim to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19 or any other disease, and that any dietary supplement that makes such claims should be avoided. The survey found that almost 2-in-5 consumers said they had heard or read about dietary supplements that could possible prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. 

 “CRN would like to remind the dietary supplement industry and consumers that supplements may not claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19,” said Luke Huber, CRN vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “CRN believes supplementation is an important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle which also includes a proper diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.”
CRN said that in addition to the COVID-19 survey, it would be issuing its 2020 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements later this fall. The organization said members and nonmembers can purchase the results of both surveys on the CRN website.