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Dietary supplement use in the elderly
may be costly, of little or no use
As sold in the United States, dietary
supplements encompass a wide range of products, which include vitamins,
minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals, and other substances. The
frequency of use of dietary supplements among the elderly is high compared
with the general population.
According to results from the Third National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey conducted between 1988-–1994, 56% of middle aged and
older adults consumed at least one supplement on a daily basis, as compared
with 40% in the general population. In 2001, the Nutrition Business Journal
estimated the total sales of dietary supplements at $17.8 billion dollars.
On September 10, 2001, the U.S. General Accounting Office presented a
report, entitled Health Products for Seniors: 'Anti-Aging' Products Pose
Potential for Physical and Economic Harm, evaluating the use of alternative
anti-aging products in the elderly. The report arose from concern that
seniors were spending their money on products that were ineffective or,
worse yet, harmful.
SOURCE: National Institute on Health: Dietary
Supplement Use in the Elderly