Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112:5:657-663

Abstract: More than half of US adults use dietary supplements. Some reports suggest that supplement users have higher vitamin intakes from foods than nonusers, but this observation has not been examined using nationally representative survey data. The purpose of this analysis was to examine vitamin intakes from foods by supplement use and how dietary supplements contribute to meeting or exceeding the Dietary Reference Intakes for selected vitamins using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey among adults (aged ≥19 years) in 2003-2006 (n=8,860). Among male users, mean intakes of folate and vitamins A, E, and K from food sources were significantly higher than among nonusers. Among women, mean intakes of folate and vitamins A, C, D, and E from foods were higher among users than nonusers. Total intakes (food and supplements) were higher for every vitamin we examined among users than the dietary vitamin intakes of nonusers. Supplement use helped lower the prevalence of intakes below the Estimated Average Requirement for every vitamin we examined, but for folic acid and vitamins A, B-6, and C, supplement use increased the likelihood of intakes above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level. Supplement use was associated with higher mean intakes of some vitamins from foods among users than nonusers, but it was not associated with the prevalence of intakes less than the Estimated Average Requirement from foods. Those who do not use vitamin supplements had significantly higher prevalence of inadequate vitamin intakes; however, the use of supplements can contribute to excess intake for some vitamins.

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This work was supported by the IAFNS Committee on Fortification.