The amount of Australians using added vitamins, minerals and supplements to boost their health is significantly increasing, which could indicate we're becoming more aware of the importance of looking after our health with the right nutrients.
According to research from Roy Morgan, the number of Australians aged 14 and over taking vitamins, minerals or supplements in an average six months increased from 36 per cent of the population (6,614,000 people) to 42 per cent (8,001,000 people) in the year to January 2014.
This is a significantly larger proportion and increase than our neighbours in New Zealand, whose vitamin use increased from 26 per cent to 28 per cent in the same period.
Most likely to purchase vitamins, minerals or supplements in both countries are females, with 63 per cent of Australian buyers and 55 per cent in New Zealand female. Around a quarter of buyers hailed from the 50 to 64 age bracket, perhaps indicating increased need for or awareness of vitamins with older age. Three in ten buyers were aged 35 to 49 in both countries.
The leap in popularity of vitamins and other supplements was accompanied by a decrease in use of natural or herbal medicines and products since 2010, with 10 per cent less Australians indicating their use over the past four years.
Vitamins are readily available for a variety of uses, including vitamin C, folate and omega-3 supplements. Aussie are most likely to buy their vitamins from a chemist, with 48 per cent making their purchase there, followed by supermarkets and then health food stores.
Although it's possible that taking vitamins, minerals and supplements in conjunction with a well-balanced diet could be beneficial in terms of increasing health, these additives to your diet cannot guarantee you will always experience good health.
However, 80 per cent of those Australians who indicated they took minerals, supplements or vitamins, reported "feeling well and in good health".
Despite this, the State Government of Victoria's Better Health Channel warns against considering vitamins as a "miracle cure". Taking supplements can be an extremely helpful addition to the diet, and can be helpful for people with conditions such as coeliac disease or cystic fibrosis, as well as pregnant women and vegans. However, it is recommended Australians consult a trusted health professional for advice before going ahead.
If you do choose to join the large proportion of Australians using vitamins, remember to do your health another favour at the same time by investing in health insurance. If you want advice on health insurance, contact the team at HICA – we'll help you out!