In 2004, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance commissioned a study to determine what benefits five important supplements could have for both patients and the health care system.
Specifically, the research company, The Lewin Group, set out to determine what the cost savings to the health care system would be if people were to add five well-researched supplements to their diet. These included calcium, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and saw palmetto.
The study was conducted two years ago, but its results are timeless. And, while the study examined the supplements’ effects on the American health care system, the benefits they can have on health are truly universal. Take a look at what the research revealed for just two of the supplements studied that were studied:
1) Calcium: If persons over the age of 65 would supplement their diet with 1,200 mg of calcium daily, the researchers estimated that approximately 730,000 hip fractures could be prevented over the five-year period from 2005 through 2009. This preventive measure would save the health care system a whopping $13.9 billion!
Hip fractures are not just costly, they’re also dangerous: These breaks cause the highest number of deaths than any other injury from a fall does, and successful hip fracture surgery requires a long stay in hospital or nursing homes in order for the patient to recover.
Considering all this, a calcium supplement seems like an easy way to help prevent the pain and suffering that a hip fracture can cause.
2) Omega-3 fatty acids: I don’t need to tell you that heart disease is a huge risk for men and women all around the world. In the United States, cardiovascular disease causes 38.5% of all deaths. That’s one disease accounting for more than a third of all deaths in the country! And, the disease is said to cost the American health care system about $368.4 billion annually. With statistics such as these, it is no wonder people are open to any ideas that can help them prevent heart disease.
The Lewin Group study reported that omega-3 fatty acids can help with hypertension (high blood pressure), preventing arterial blockages, and may help make irregular heartbeats less of a health risk.
The most intriguing point the researchers published is that “omega-3 fatty acids help reduce deaths from CVD [cardiovascular disease].” Health reports are seldom as black and white as that statement.
It likely goes without saying at this point that if you’re at risk of heart disease — as most of us are — you should speak to your physician about whether or not omega-3 supplementation would be in your best interest.
Of course, the fact that calcium and omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to health is nothing new to savvy health consumers, such as those who read Doctors Health e- Bulletin. However, The Lewin Group study really brings home the message of how much of a positive impact supplements can have on the public’s health. Imagine a health care system with an “extra” $368.4 billion in the budget! Figures like these are hard to ignore.