Americans have upped their supplement game since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many individuals who didn't previously have a supplement regimen may now have a consistent vitamin and mineral routine. And one supplement, in particular, is especially hot right now among consumers, a new survey suggests.
Today, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) released the survey, "Consumer Perspectives on Vitamins, Minerals, and Food and Beverage Fortification," which examines American perceptions about taking supplements. Among the 1,023 people ages 18 and over interviewed from March 4 to March 8, 2021, 66% of respondents expressed interest in taking vitamin D. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now)
Individuals ages 65 and older were even more likely to say that they were looking for vitamin D, with 89% expressing interest compared to 53% of those below the age of 45. About 50% of female-identifying participants said they frequently searched for vitamin B12, which is greater than the 34% of male-identifying respondents who said the same.
Irrespective of age or gender, 62% of respondents said they sought out vitamin C, followed by vitamin B12 at 43%, calcium (41%), iron (33%), vitamin A (33%), and vitamin E (32%). Still, vitamins C and D took the cake, with respondents saying they were interested in the vitamins for both general health and wellness and immune health.
"Of those who prioritize immune health, half say that their focus on it has become much more important now than before the COVID-19 pandemic,"Ali Webster, PhD, RD, Director of Research and Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council, told Eat This, Not That!.
"I was somewhat surprised to see vitamins D and C jump to the top of the list of sought-after vitamins and minerals above more traditional options like calcium and iron," she added. "However, given the heightened emphasis we saw on immune health spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense that people would focus on nutrients that they associate with this health benefit."
Of course, Webster encourages getting the majority of your vitamins and minerals through foods and beverages first. However, there are several instances where individuals may not be able to get all of these nutrients from diet alone. Supplements may be incredibly beneficial, in particular, to those who follow a restrictive diet or have dietary restrictions caused by food allergies.
"For example, vitamin B12 is found most often in animal-source foods, so vegans and those limiting their intake of meat, dairy, and eggs may wish to take a vitamin B12 supplement," she said. "Vitamin D is another nutrient to consider supplementing in some populations, such as those who live in northern climates, elderly people, and those who don't get a lot of exposure to sunlight."
If you're considering whether to add dietary supplements to your morning routine, be sure to run the idea by your health care provider first. You'll want to avoid consuming supplements in excess, as well as any potential interference with other medications.
For more, be sure to check out This Supplement May Help Protect You Against Obesity, New Study Says. And to get the latest supplement news delivered right to your email inbox every day, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!