Calcium and Vitamin D Dietary Supplements for Smart Prevention
By Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition
We’ve always known that calcium and vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for health, especially for women with osteoporosis, but a new economic report that just came out demonstrates how supplementing with calcium and vitamin D may also be beneficial for your patients’ wallets – and our economy as a whole.
The report, “Smart Prevention – Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” conducted by the economic firm, Frost & Sullivan through a grant from the CRN Foundation, examined how the usage of specific dietary supplements by a targeted population could reduce the number of costly medical events associated with specific chronic diseases. One of the chronic diseases assessed was osteoporosis in U.S. women 55 and older.
According to CDC, an estimated 8.2 million U.S. women over the age of 55 have developed osteoporosis and more than 1.2 million fracture events were estimated to have occurred last year. Fractures related to osteoporosis do not come without a cost. The annual direct health care costs associated with the treatment of fractures was over $14 billion in 2012. Another fact we’re facing is that the number of women over 55 with osteoporosis is expected to rise 13 percent between 2013 and 2020.
This report determined that between 2013 and 2020, 1.2 million medical events can be avoided among U.S. women over 55 with osteoporosis through the use of calcium and vitamin D dietary supplements at preventive intake levels. It then quantified the savings that come from the avoided events after the cost of supplementation is factored in, and found a cumulative $12.2 billion in savings can be realized during this same time period. However, the report estimates that a fraction of U.S. women over 55 with osteoporosis are already using calcium and vitamin D, therefore savings are already being had. That said, there is still $8.6 billion in savings yet to be realized through increased usage of calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Right now, our society spends the majority of its dollars on treating chronic disease, not preventing it. Calcium and vitamin D supplements already make sense for prevention, and this new report gives one more reason for women 55 and over to incorporate calcium and vitamin D into their healthy lifestyles. Women—and men—who don’t fall into this target population can also benefit from these supplements, so it’s important to open a dialogue with your patients about nutrient shortfalls and how supplementation can play a role.
To download the report, infographics or for additional information, visit: supplementforsmartprevention.org.