HealthDay News — Use of traditional multivitamins is decreasing among Americans, while supplements such as vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotics are becoming more popular, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The current findings are based on 37,958 US adults who took part in a nationally representative government health survey between 1999 and 2012. Researchers found that between 1999 and 2012, Americans’ overall use of supplements remained stable. Slightly more than half of adults (52%) said they took vitamins, minerals, or some other type of dietary supplement.

By 2012, the researchers found that 31% of survey respondents said they had used multivitamins in the past month—down from 37% in 1999 to 2000. On the other hand, more people were taking certain vitamins or minerals in isolation, particularly vitamin D. In 2011 to 2012, 19.0% of Americans used the vitamin, vs only 5.1% in 1999 to 2000. Some other supplements rose in popularity, too. They included coenzyme Q10, green tea extracts, and omega-3 fatty acids—mostly in the form of fish oil pills. In 1999 to 2000, 1.3% of Americans used omega-3 fatty acids. That had risen to 12.0% by 2012.

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“Among adults in the United States, overall use of dietary supplements remained stable from 1999 to 2012, use of multivitamins/multiminerals decreased, and trends in use of individual supplements varied and were heterogeneous by population subgroups,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Kantor ED, Rehm CD, Du M. Trends in dietary supplement use among US adults from 1999-2012. JAMA. 2016;316(14):1464-1474. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14403.