EDITORIAL

“Game changing” economic report …

Supplements Could Save Added Billions

F or those who are well steeped in the scientific literature of nutritional supplements, it comes as no big surprise that the right nutrients can do what few drugs can, i.e., help prevent disease. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that widespread nutrient use would result in huge annual healthcare savings.

While not quantified until now, an industry trade group has just issued a new report showing that supplement regimens are apt to greatly reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing significantly large financial savings, along with reduced grief and unhappiness.

Commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Foundation and issued by the economic firm Frost & Sullivan, a press release states:*

“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,” said Steve Mister, President, CRN Foundation. “We already knew that the dietary supplements identified in the report can play a role in reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases; we felt compelled to find out if they could also contribute to health care cost savings by reducing the medical events associated with those conditions. This new report says emphatically that they do.”

The new report, “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” finds that the use of specific dietary supplements in targeted populations substantially reduces costs of four different chronic diseases in U.S. adults diagnosed with these chronic diseases. When economically examined, the results of eight different dietary supplement regimens taken at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing the potential savings at hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.

Nearly 75 percent of health care dollars go to the treatment of chronic disease, with only 3 percent spent on prevention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just considering inpatient procedures and emergency room visits related to coronary heart disease cost $77.92 billion per year. But according to the new report, if those with elevated cholesterol level took psyllium dietary fiber at preventive intake levels daily, the cost savings for coronary heart disease could reach almost $2.5 billion dollars a year, totaling about $20 billion over the next 7 years. Also, if all women over 55 with osteoporosis took calcium and vitamin D at preventive intake levels daily, the total savings would amount to $1.5 billion dollars a year, or about $12 billion dollars between 2013 and 2020.

To clarify these savings, the report examined hundreds of scientific studies to determine the reduction in disease risk from the preventive regimens. Then it projected the rates of medical events across the high-risk populations, applying cost benefit analyses to tally the cost savings.

“This report provides one more reason for doctors and other health care practitioners to open a dialogue with their patients about incorporating supplement usage along with other healthy behaviors. For consumers, it’s a wake-up call to talk to their doctor or nurse practitioner, their pharmacist, or a registered dietitian about smart prevention, including which dietary supplements and what intake levels are right for their individual lifestyle. We also encourage insurers and employers that are looking for ways to lower premiums and absenteeism to consider dietary supplement regimens as part of workplace wellness programs or employee benefits,” said CRN’s Mister. “Chronic diseases negatively impact our lives far beyond the direct medical costs and if there are things we can do to help lessen medical events and associated costs of those diseases, we should be doing them.”

According to Chris Shanahan, global program manager at Frost & Sullivan, the findings of this new report represent “a game changer” for anyone concerned about rising health care costs. Could that include you?

For health and liberty,

Will Block


* http://www.crnusa.org/CRNfoundation/HCCS/CRNF-PR13-HCCSReport092313.html

http://www.cdc.gov/


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