Why should we consume supplements?

Posted by Mike Miryala on

Insufficient, Incomplete Diet

 

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released its 2020 Scientific Report, which will inform the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new report identifies a variety of nutritional deficiencies in the current average American diet, as well as deficiencies among special populations like pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants under the age of two, and adults aged 65 and older. For instance, Haiuyen Nguyen, Senior Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), says the report highlights how deficient in vitamin D the average American diet is.

“CRN submitted comments recommending that the Dietary Guidelines highlight special nutrient concerns that exist at every life stage and provide strategies to address those concerns, including appropriate use of dietary supplements,” Nguyen notes. “CRN also recommended that the Dietary Guidelines advise pregnant and lactating women to follow guidance from a healthcare practitioner” when using supplements to meet nutritional needs not met by food. The 2020 report highlights a number of opportunities for supplement brands to serve pregnant and lactating women. Nguyen says that 95% of pregnant women fail to meet the recommended daily intake of iron without supplements, for instance, and therefore iron is a nutrient of public health concern for women of childbearing age.

For large numbers of Americans, it seems that diet alone may not be a sufficient source of important nutrients. Here are some of the nutrients that Americans aren’t getting enough of, and some of the biggest opportunities for dietary supplements to potentially fill the gap. The 2020 Scientific Report issued by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee notes that Americans of various demographics are experiencing several nutritional deficiencies, and that “nutrition-related chronic health conditions are common across every life stage” among Americans.

The report notes that 41% of children under age 19, and 71% of adults over age 19, are overweight or obese. Eight-one percent of Americans consume less than the recommended daily intake of fruit, 90% of Americans consume less than the RDI of vegetables, and 88% of Americans consume less than the recommended daily intake of dairy.

Meanwhile, the top five contributors to caloric intake among the general population are burgers, desserts, pasta, sugary drinks, and savory snacks. While dietary changes can help many Americans meet the recommended daily intake of essential nutrients, the report also highlights several nutritional deficiencies that diet alone cannot solve. Choline, iron, and vitamin D deficiencies are prevalent among pregnant and lactating women, and the general population is experiencing shortfalls in calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Nguyen says that supplements can help all Americans meet essential nutritional needs when food sources alone are insufficient. Thus, helping Americans to correct these deficiencies should become a special priority for supplement brands.

 

The above article contains excerpts from the "Dietary Death" article by Mike Straus.