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Research methodology

Frost & Sullivan conducted a systematic literature review of scientific studies that investigated a causal relationship between dietary supplement intake and the incidence of specific health conditions of interest. Case studies, observational epidemiologic studies, and clinical trials adhering to best practice scientific methodologies were included, independent of whether the findings were positive, negative, or null. Once the database of possible studies was created, each study was thoroughly reviewed and assessed to determine whether there was a quantifiable relationship between supplement intake and the incidence of a specific chronic disease event, either directly or indirectly through a specified and validated biomarker. From those studies, one of two approaches was used to calculate a relative risk reduction metric and the number of persons needed to treat to achieve one avoided medical event in order to determine the overall impact of the dietary supplement intervention on a disease event occurrence.

Armed with this information, Frost & Sullivan then turned to the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality for current costs of particular medical events associated with the disease endpoints, and determined the saved expenses from the reduction of a single medical event along with the expected annual cost of the medical intervention for that portion of the entire target population likely to experience such a medical event. The study generated the number of avoided medical events and the savings from reduced hospital utilization. It recognized that not all members of a targeted population would suffer a medical event, but that that the number needed to treat with supplements would greatly exceed those utilizing the healthcare system for treatment of the disease. Finally, acknowledging that some portion of the population is already using these dietary supplements, the researchers determined that portion of the cost savings that are already being realized with supplement usage, and that portion still to be realized with increased supplement utilization.

More information on the methodology can be found in the full report.