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Study Charts Popularity of Dietary Supplements; Fish Oil Benefits Revealed

taking omega-3 supplements could improve muscle function

Last month, a wide-ranging study into the popularity of dietary supplements came through the newswire. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it examined data compiled over a 13-year period, from 1999 to 2012, and revealed that 52% of Americans took some form of dietary supplement. Meanwhile, a separate study showed that fish oil benefits include improved muscle function in older women.

Vitamins Down, Probiotics Up

The JAMA research shed light on the mixed fortunes of certain supplements during the study period. The popularity of multivitamins, for instance, appeared to wane through the 2000s, falling from 37% in 1999 to 31% in 2012. Demand for antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E also fell, though the use of probiotics and coenzyme Q10 increased. One reason for the diminished uptake of vitamins could be the proliferation of antioxidants in the market in recent years.

Data was collected from around 38,000 American adults aged 20 or older, with participants drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an annual health interview conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among other notable trends, an upsurge in Vitamin D was recorded, rising from 5.1% to 19% over the 13-year timespan, and omega-3 fatty acids skyrocketed too, shooting from 1.9% to 13%. Unsurprisingly, the analysis identified a correlation between supplement use and ageing.

Although the results are illustrative, few conclusions could be drawn about the motivations determining the results.

“It’s hard to say what are the driving factors behind these trends in supplement use,” said lead author Elizabeth D. Kantor, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

New Fish Oil Benefits Come to Light

Figures in the supplement industry are doubtless still digesting the findings, but while they do, another study has highlighted the benefits of fish oil supplements – specifically for older women. Carried out by the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study showed that taking omega-3 supplements could improve muscle function and thereby prevent unnecessary falls.

Over an 18-week period, older women who consumed 3g of fish oil experienced greater increases in muscle function, when combined with resistance training, than counterparts taking a safflower oil placebo.

In fact, the disparity was significant: while an average strength increase of 16% was recorded in women from the placebo group, the figure was 34% for those taking fish oil.

“With the percentage of people aged over 65 predicted to rise from 17% of the total population in 2010 to 23% in 2035, it is crucial to develop effective treatments for the age-related loss of muscle function,” said Dr Stuart Gray, from the University of Glasgow.

The report, it would seem, goes some way towards justifying the increased popularity of fish oil supplements.

Which Supplements Should I Take?

Given the yo-yoing nature of the JAMA study, you might experience some difficulty the next time you walk down the supplement aisle. What’s the best multivitamin? Who manufactures the best fish oil? Does the product boldly proclaiming to be ‘the best probiotic supplement on the market’ really live up to its exalted billing? The world of dietary supplements can be a minefield.

If you believe in the perspicacity of groupthink, you might even think the trends are a good indication of what you should be taking.

The Best All-in-One Supplement

Of course, if you’re too indecisive to pick and choose – or you simply want to gain the maximum benefit from a multitude of products – you could opt for an all-in-one supplement such as Trilogy. Manufactured by Vibrant Health, Trilogy includes three of the most recommended supplements by health practitioners: a multivitamin, omega-3 fish oil and probiotic. 30 daily ‘power packs’ are contained in each box, giving you a month’s supply to take care of pretty much all your supplement needs. The vitamins and minerals present in Trilogy help develop and maintain a range of bodily processes, including heart function, blood pressure, immunity and digestive health, and there are special formulations for both men and women. Is Trilogy among the best all-in-one supplements out there? Put it this way, you’d be hard pressed to argue against.

Needless to say, one should remember that the cornerstones of health remain a balanced and nutritious diet, as well as plenty of exercise. With that being said, the best dietary supplements – like Trilogy, which earlier this year garnered a Taste for Life Essentials Award – make the journey to wellness that much smoother.

To learn more about all-in-one supplements, or separate fish oils, probiotics and multivitamins, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Contact: Roddy MacDonald
Tel: +44 (0)1764 662111