Supplement Use Among Younger Adult Generations Contributes to Boost in Overall Usage in 2016—More than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements

Washington, D.C., October 27, 2016—Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults—more than 170 million—take dietary supplements, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).  The 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that the five most popular supplements are the multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and vitamin B/B complex. 

Contributing to the boost in overall usage is general population growth, as well as the increase in usage among adults between the ages 18–34. MostPopular-2016.pngThis year’s results indicate that, as in years past, the oldest population surveyed (adults aged 55+) maintains the highest percentage of supplement use at 74 percent. Different from previous years, the 2016 survey points to similar supplement consumption patterns among younger and middle aged adult populations, with 70 percent of adults aged 18–34 and 70 percent of those aged 35–54 reporting dietary supplement use. In comparison, only 65 percent of adults aged 18–34 reported taking dietary supplements in 2015, while 68 percent of adults aged 35–54 said the same.

“It is exciting to see the growth in supplement usage among younger adults especially after our 2015 survey indicated that increased usage should be anticipated among those aged 18 to 34 over the next five years,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “Every industry is talking about the millennials and the impact this generation will have. Our data shows the impact is already being made on the dietary supplement industry as young adults are increasingly incorporating dietary supplements into their health regimens.”

The increase in supplement usage among younger adults can also potentially be correlated with the shift seen in the most common reasons users take dietary supplements. Historically, the top two reasons for taking supplements among supplement users were for “overall health/wellness benefits” and “to fill nutrient gaps in my diet.” This year, however, energy (30 percent) has risen to become the number two reason for taking supplements among supplement users, behind only “for overall health and wellness benefits” (42 percent), which remains top of mind. “To fill nutrient gaps in my diet” now ranks third when it comes to reasons why supplement users take supplements, at 28 percent.


Another important finding, which is consistent with the findings from CRN’s previous surveys, is the high level of confidence Americans have in dietary supplements. According to the 2016 survey, 85 percent of U.S. adults have overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Among supplement users it’s even higher, with 96 percent indicating confidence. “We’re always pleased to see data showing Americans are confident in our industry’s products. We were all the more satisfied to see that not only do a majority of Americans have confidence in dietary supplements, but also that a majority of Americans have trust in our industry,” said Ms. Blatman.


A new question aimed at measuring consumer trust in the dietary supplement industry was added to the survey this year. The question, “To what extent do you perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy,” revealed that nearly three quarters of Americans (73 percent) perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy. Added Ms. Blatman, “This question will serve as a benchmark question for us moving forward.”

 In its seventeenth consecutive year, the 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements serves as the leading resource for statistics on usage of and confidence in dietary supplements. The survey was conducted Aug. 24–30 by Ipsos Public Affairs and was funded by CRN. The survey was conducted online in English and included a national sample of 2,007 adults aged 18 and older living in the United States, including 1,430 among those who are considered supplement users. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000. The precision of Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents, and plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for supplement users (see Ipsos’ online polling methodology for more info).

Attention Media: For the next 12 months, CRN will continue to release additional data and insights from the 2016 survey. Media are welcome to reach out to CRN in the meantime to request specific statistics. 

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @crn_supplements and @wannabewell and on Facebook.

Ipsos Public Affairs is part of Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens. Ipsos offers a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and on-line research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies.