Supplements are safe, say growing number of US consumers

Scientific studies knocking the safety of dietary supplements are having no impact on consumer confidence in such products, new research indicates.

Eighty-one per cent of American adults quizzed by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Washington DC-based Council for Responsible Nutrition said they were confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements, compared with 80% last year.

Confidence levels in dietary supplements have been on a gradual rise, with 79% of American adults indicating a favourable level of confidence in dietary supplements in 2006.?

"The self-regulatory programs that this industry is engaging in, along with emerging science that supports the value of supplements, are vital to the industry's reputation, and to consumer confidence," said Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO.? "We're gratified to see that consumer confidence in our industry's products continues to remain strong."

Results from the 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements also showed that a slightly lower percentage of adults labelled themselves as ?supplement users', with 64% classifying themselves as such. In 2007 and 2006, 68% and 66% of Americans identified themselves as supplement users, respectively.?

However, the survey also demonstrated a rise in the percentage of consumers who take a variety of supplements regularly — 48% in 2008 versus 42% in 2007 and 34% in 2006.

"We're encouraged both that consumers who take supplements are demonstrating an interest in a wider variety of products and are more committed to a supplement regimen," said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN.? "The multivitamin remains the cornerstone product for our industry with 82% of supplement users taking a multivitamin, but consumers are clearly looking at the benefits of other products too, like fish oil supplements and calcium."

The 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements was conducted online between 20 and 25 August, and included a national sample of 2,013 adults aged 18 and older.

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