Food Supplements Europe (FSE) has recently published a report that identifies supplementation as a cost-effective approach to reducing the strain on health system caused by caring for patients suffering from chronic diseases.
The report entitled “How food supplements can help contribute to public health in Europe”, which was published on FSE’s website, calls for including supplementation in general health policy to improve the health care system efficiency. With scientific evidence in place, the publication makes a strong case for health supplements being able to help deal with financial consequences of chronic disease care.
Authors of the study note that significant population groups are failing to achieve optimal nutrient intakes and are at risk of deficiency, which may result in development of serious health conditions. A review of 21 European countries found that none of the examined populations met even 40% of the recommendations for macro and micro-nutrients, showing just how far off the target we currently are.
Conflicting studies continue to underestimate the use of supplements in a healthcare settings, along with budgetary concerns and approval issues in some of the countries. Just in the UK, in 2017 NHS revoked its recommendation for supplementation of Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and some of the antioxidants, along with some herbal remedies and homeopathy. The plans intended to save the service £200m a year.
However, FSE, an industry group that represents the European Food Supplement sector, argue that the use of supplements in a medical or health setting would drive down health costs and improve population wellbeing.
The report cites current health spending in Western Europe at €1.4tn annually in 2015 with predictions of a rise by 4% to nearly €1.8tn a year by 2020. With the added burden of ageing population, the authors of the report warn that these levels of spending would become unsustainable.
Analyses commissioned by FSE revealed significant potential savings in healthcare costs – up to €64.5bn over 5 years – by providing targeted daily supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils), phytosterols or calcium & Vitamin D3.
The full report can be accessed here.