HealthDay News — According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the use of alternative supplements, such as vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics, are becoming more popular among Americans than the traditional multivitamins.

The current findings are based on 37,958 US adults who took part in a nationally representative government health survey between 1999 and 2012. Researchers found that between 1999 and 2012, Americans’ overall use of supplements remained stable. 

Slightly more than half of adults (52%) said they took vitamins, minerals or some other type of dietary supplement.

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By 2012, the researchers found that 31% of survey respondents said they’d used multivitamins in the past month — down from 37% in 1999 to 2000. On the other hand, more people were taking certain vitamins or minerals in isolation, particularly vitamin D. In 2011 to 2012, 19.0% of Americans used the vitamin versus only 5.1% in 1999 to 2000.

Some other supplements rose in popularity, too. They included coenzyme Q10, green tea extracts and omega-3 fatty acids — mostly in the form of fish oil pills. In 1999 to 2000, 1.3% of Americans used omega-3 fatty acids. That had risen to 12.0% by 2012.

“Among adults in the United States, overall use of dietary supplements remained stable from 1999 to 2012, use of multivitamins and multiminerals decreased, while trends in use of individual supplements varied and were heterogeneous by population subgroups,” the authors write.


Kantor ED, Rehm CD, Du M, White E, Giovannucci EL. Trends in Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults From 1999-2012. JAMA. 2016;316(14):1464-1474. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14403.

Cohen PA. The Supplement Paradox Negligible Benefits, Robust Consumption. JAMA. 2016; 316(14):1453-1454. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14252.