In the United States, health care costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation, which means that some families are often forced to choose between food or medicine. (Ref. 1)
But what if choosing the right supplement could help support your health and save you health costs?
According to many experts, that’s a real possibility, and one at which we should be taking a much harder look.
For the past decade, the Lewin Group has maintained through research that the right supplements – those that may help support heart health, bone health and metabolic syndrome, among others – could help save the health care industry billions of dollars. (Ref. 2)
They’re not alone.
In 2013, a handful of groups representing the dietary supplement industry descended on Capitol Hill to showcase how supplements could help support escalating health care costs.
“Chronic diseases are one of the greatest contributors to health care costs in this country,” said Steve Mister, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition. “If we can identify and motivate those at risk to effectively use dietary supplements, we can control rising societal health care costs, but also give sick individuals a chance to reduce the risk of costly events and, most importantly, to improve their quality of life.” (Ref. 3)
The trouble is, doctors aren’t handing out the same advice.
Doctors aren’t in the know
According to Dr. Pauline Chen, who wrote a piece appearing in the New York Times, doctors know precious little about nutrition and diet, although it is growing increasingly clear that there’s a big link between the nutrients we consume and chronic diseases.
“Nutrition is really a core component of modern medical practice,” said Kelly M. Adams, a registered dietitian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who said the majority of doctors aren’t getting enough instruction in med school. “Physicians have enough barriers trying to provide their patients with nutritional counseling. Inadequate nutritional education does not need to be one of them.” (Ref. 4)
Here’s why nutrition is so important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of total health care expenses are spent on caring for people with preventable diseases. (Ref. 3)
Preventable. That means different lifestyle choices – including nutrition – could have saved a small fortune, bringing down escalating health care costs for everyone, and saving lives.
Nutrition, supplements and your health
“You are what you eat” has been an adage for centuries, but we’re still taking not it seriously, which means we’re missing out on an opportunity to slash our own health care costs while potentially preventing heart disease, hip fractures from osteoporosis and macular degeneration, all of which seriously impact quality of life.
More recent figures from the Lewin Group – which previously focused on two supplements, Omega-3 fatty acids and a mix of lutein and zeaxanthin - suggest that spending just pennies a day on key supplements could lead to $24 billion in savings.
Supplements are important, according to functional health expert Dr. Mark Hyman, because so much of the Western diet is made up of processed foods that offer little or no nutrients, leaving many of us with nutritional deficits.
Even those foods that do fall into healthier categories such as fruits and veggies are “hybridized, genetically modified, shipped long distances, and grown in nutrient-depleted soils,” he wrote in a Huffington Post blog, leaving as many as 92 percent of Americans deficient in at least one of the recommended nutrients required to prevent vitamin-related disease. (Ref. 5)
In looking at Medicare patients, the 2011 Lewin study found that calcium and vitamin D could help support bone health, saving about $16 billion over five years, an Omega-3 supplement has the potential to support heart health too the extent that $3.2 billion could be saved in heart-related hospitalizations and lutein and zeaxanthin supplements could support the eye health of 190,000 people, resulting in $3.6 billion in dependent care over five years.
The Lewin Group research also looked at folic acid, and found that women of child-bearing age who had optimum levels of folic acid were less likely to give birth to babies with birth defects, saving $1.4 billion over five years. (Ref. 5)
Fewer fractures and birth defects, better heart health and living an independent lifestyle longer because of better eye health makes taking high-quality supplements (natural, not synthetic, because the fake ones offer little or no real benefits and are at the heart of any controversy) a no-brainer.
According to Hyman, there are four important supplements that should be added to most diets, including:
• A high-quality multivitamin with minerals and antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin.
• A good calcium supplement.
• Vitamin D3, a common nutrient deficiency.
• Omega-3 fatty acids with EPA and DHA.
To meet your needs, Total Balance offers 74 potent essential nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, Vitamin D and a calcium that unlike most on the market is not derived from limestone, so the body can use it effectively. (Click here to learn more).
Our Omega-3 line offers high-quality fish oils harvested from the clean waters off the coast of New Zealand. (Check us out here).