Observance of February as Heart Month can be a reminder of the cost-saving potential of evidence-backed dietary supplements to help reduce the health impacts—and the health care costs—of coronary artery disease. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Foundation’s recent Health Care Cost Savings report, Supplement to Savings (“S2S”), identified up to $17.74 billion in annual net savings if specific dietary supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin K2 and soluble fiber) are used by the at-risk target populations most susceptible to coronary artery disease (CAD). The study, commissioned by the CRN Foundation and conducted by Frost & Sullivan, provides analysis on the risk reduction effects supplementation can have on specific chronic illnesses or diseases, including CAD. The Foundation announced the overall findings including insights on the analysis in August 2022.
The report’s chapters on CAD focus on the following four supplement ingredient categories and their ability to address particular contributors to CAD:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids–Omega-3 fatty acids containing DHA and/or EPA are one of the most well-researched dietary supplement ingredients available, including a large body of evidence supporting their contributions to cardiovascular health. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted the use of qualified health claims for the omega-3s EPA and DHA for coronary heart disease since 2004 and for hypertension since 2019. Annual average cost savings from the widespread daily use of preventive amounts of omega-3 EPA+DHA could be $4.47 billion per year between 2022 and 2030.
Magnesium–In 2022, FDA announced a qualified health claim for products containing magnesium for reduction of blood pressure, a key contributor to CAD, based on scientific research showing a link between magnesium use and blood pressure reduction, particularly during the past 10 years. Regular use of magnesium by specific at-risk populations could avoid an average of 102,382 events a year between 2022 and 2030, with an average healthcare cost savings of $2.32 billion per year.
Vitamin K2–Clinical studies have shown how vitamin K2 serves to improve both cardiovascular and bone health; it is documented to have a role in minimizing coronary artery calcium accumulation, a risk factor for CAD, along with increasing calcium content in bone. The expanded targeted use of vitamin K-2 by specific populations could reduce CAD-attributed events by 15.7 percent and generate an estimated cost savings to the U.S. health are system of $9.48 billion a year between 2022 and 2030.
Soluble Fiber–FDA has authorized health claims for soluble fibers from certain foods, including psyllium husk and beta-glucan from oat and barley, and their ability to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. These ingredients are also available as dietary supplement to achieve the recommended intake levels. The S2S study found an average cost savings of $1.47 billion a year in health care costs from the increased utilization of soluble fiber for its heart healthy effects.
The insights from the CRN Foundation’s report provide direct financial implications for potential long-term cost savings to individual Americans through the role these supplements play in reducing cardiovascular disease risk.
“The Supplements to Savings findings demonstrate that particular ingredients, taken at preventative daily intake levels and supported by a strong track record of research that documents their effects, can not only provide heart health benefits to the target population, but also can have significant positive financial implications to our country’s health care system,” said CRN President and CEO Steve Mister.
“We hope this report will help us re-think how we approach health care,” Mister continued. “Today, most of our health care resources are spent after people are already afflicted with an ailment. This analysis demonstrates the impact of some conditions, including CAD, may be reduced with appropriate supplement regimens. We hope the broader medical community will take notice and evaluate how supplements can enhance nutrition and improve the overall health of their patients.”
For more information, visit www.crnusa.org.