Billions in Healthcare Costs Saved with Natural Supplements, Says Study

supplements disease

Photo by Robbie Bracco

By Case Adams, Naturopath

A new report has found that taking certain dietary supplements for disease prevention will save billions of dollars of healthcare costs for treating chronic diseases in the U.S.

The new research, published by Frost & Sullivan and written by Christopher Shanahan and Robert Lorimer, focused upon only the following diseases:

  •     – Coronary heart disease
  •     – Diabetes-related to heart disease
  •      – Diseases of the eyes related to aging
  •      – Osteoporosis

The report examined the findings of numerous clinical studies that tested particular supplements for these diseases. The researchers then estimated the cost to treat those diseases and the potential savings in healthcare costs by taking the particular supplements.

Here is a summary of their findings:

The use of supplements that help prevent coronary artery disease, including phytosterols, dietary fiber, omega-3 supplements, folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 could save over $63 billion in healthcare costs over the next seven years (2013-2020) – before supplementation costs.

The savings of the same heart-oriented supplements in the control of diabetes is nearly $10 billion over the seven years – and $7.76 billion after the costs of the supplements are considered.

Vision supplements such as lutein and zeaxanthin could save the healthcare system – in cataract surgery and other procedures – over $3.8 billion a year – and $7.73 billion a year after the costs of the supplementation is considered.

Supplements for osteoporosis, such as vitamin D (sunshine), calcium and magnesium could save the U.S. healthcare system over $4.75 billion over the next seven years according to the research – after the cost of the supplementation is factored in.

Steve Mister, President of the Council for Responsible Nutrition responded to the research. “Chronic disease takes a huge toll on people’s quality of life, and the health care system spends a tremendous amount of money treating chronic disease, but has failed to focus on ways to reduce those costs through prevention,” said Mister.

This is simply the tip of the iceberg.

The study only focused upon a few conditions and a few nutritional supplements. A number of studies have showed that nutrients offered through the diet are often clinically more beneficial than those offered in supplement form – assuming enough healthy foods are eaten.

At the same time, it is recognized by most health experts that our modern diets generally lack many nutrients – as they are focused upon processed, over-cooked nutrient-robbed foods. Thus a supplement program that includes some basic nutrients is seen as a preventative measure.

It should also be added that this research does not cover the use of superfoods and herbs that can easily be included into the diet, including turmeric, cilantro  and many others – which add dense nutrients and plant compounds that research has determined staves off these and many other diseases.

And finally, the most obvious takeaway is that this study only focused upon four chronic ailments out of hundreds of others that cost hundreds of billions of dollars of healthcare costs. Thus we can easily conclude that this study reveals only the tip of the iceberg.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, about 75% of healthcare costs in the U.S. go towards treatment of chronic disease, while only 3% goes towards prevention.


Shanahan C, de Lorimier R. Smart Prevention – Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements. Frost & Sullivan. 2013. Sept 23.


Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.

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