According to a new study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, the use of specific dietary supplements may have a significant effect on reducing health care costs through avoided hospitalizations related to coronary heart disease (CHD). Researchers explored a cost-benefit analysis of adults over 55 with CHD who take either omega-3 fatty acids or B vitamins daily. The results showed a reduction of a costly medical event occurring for those individuals.
In 2012, hospitalizations for all U.S. adults over the age of 55 with CHD cost over $64 billion. The amount spent on the treatment of CHD — as opposed to prevention — is taxing on individuals as well as on society as a whole, and is only expected to get worse. There are many dietary supplements that have demonstrated positive benefits on heart health through a vast amount of clinical studies, and their potential to help decrease the total health care expenditures is paramount.
The cost-savings model presented in this article was first presented in a report, "Smart Prevention - Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements," in which researchers conducted a review of scientific research that looked separately at omega-3 supplements and B vitamins and their relationships with risks of a CHD-attributed event. The team then projected the rates of these medical events across U.S. adults over the age of 55 with CHD and applied a cost benefit analysis. Their findings were as follows:
- If every high-risk person were to take a fish oil supplement daily, there would be an average of $2.1 billion in avoided healthcare expenditures per year, which equates to $16.5 billion in avoided expenditures between the years 2013 – 2020.
- If every high-risk person were to take B vitamins daily, there would be an average of $1.5 billion in avoided healthcare expenditures per year, which equates to $12.1 billion in avoided expenditures between the years 2013 – 2020.
What we see is a much less expensive approach that can be used by physicians and patients, as well as employers and policymakers as a way to help reduce health care costs. This should come as no surprise. We all know that many Americans have a less-than-perfect diet and the majority are not getting enough important vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Add to this the facts that patients with chronic conditions require more nutrients to support optimal function and also that many patients are on medications that can cause nutrient deficiencies as well.
People take daily supplements to cover their bases and to help reduce their risks of chronic diseases. Nutrients occur in various forms, and not all are created equal. In fact, the particular forms of the nutrients are just as important as the nutrients themselves. When it comes to B vitamins, it is best to obtain them in their coenzyme, phosphorylated forms, which is the bioidentical form found in nature. In regards to fish oil products, these should be in the triglyceride form — the same way they naturally occur in fish — and not the ethyl-ester form. When consumed in this natural triglyceride form, fish oils are most easily digested and assimilated in the body.
Source: Science to Finance- A tool for Deriving Economic Implications from the Results of Dietary Supplement Clinical Studies. Christopher J. Shanahan, Robert de Lorimier (doi: 10.3109/19390211.2014.952866)