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    Nutraceuticals: New Opportunities for Pharmacists

    Helping you (and your patients) navigate the increasingly complex world of dietary supplements.


    With the explosive growth of nutraceuticals and their growing popularity among consumers, pharmacists have an opportunity to add to their skills and further cement their position in the healthcare industry as healthcare providers. But they must be a quick study. There are more than 29,000 different nutritional supplements on the market today, according to the FDA.

    The U.S. market for nutraceuticals, which was $64.8 billion in 2015, is anticipated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2016 to 2024 and reach a value of $102.6 billion, according to Transparency Market Research (TMR). These researchers also anticipate that competition will significantly grow as more competitors make their way into the field.

    Nutraceuticals include dietary supplements, functional foods (probiotics and fatty acid-based foods), botanicals/herbals, What's a nutraceutical?vitamins/minerals, amino acids, proteins, and peptides that are derived from natural bioactive compounds. They add health benefits to the basic nutritional value found in foods and are primarily used to promote health and wellness or prevent and treat disease. 

    While “nutraceuticals” and “dietary supplements” are often used interchangeably, the latter serves as the broader category. Dietary supplements have been marketed to address a large variety of ailments, from insomnia and poor digestion to low energy, joint pain, and immune health.

    Market Drivers

    Seventy-six percent of more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed take dietary supplements—up five percentage points over 2016, according to the “2017 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements” put out by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).  The survey found that:

    • Vitamins/minerals are the most highly consumed supplement category—as found in earlier surveys—with 75% of survey respondents saying they have taken these in the past 12 months.
    • Specialty supplements (taken by 38% of respondents) are the second most popular category.
    • Other popular supplements are herbals/botanicals (taken by 29% of respondents), sports nutrition supplements (22%), and weight management supplements (15%).

    Demand for liquid nutraceuticals is higher among consumers than other forms of nutraceuticals—with a 6.10% CAGR by 2024, according to TMR. The company also says functional foods are popular because they tie into health benefits of natural products.

    Related article: Dietary supplements—an FDA primer

    Adults aged 55 and older report the highest percentage of supplement use at 74%, according to CRN’s 2016 consumer survey. But 70% of adults aged 18 to 34 say they take dietary supplements.

    Up next: Time to step up


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