New study outlines benefits of nutritional supplement use in college students

January 24, 2014

Habits acquired during young adulthood are crucial in fostering lifelong health. Unfortunately, some college students fall into nutrient-deficient diets that leave them at risk for developing chronic disease later in life. Researchers at the University of Connecticut sought to test the role of dietary supplement use in addressing nutritional deficiencies among this population. Their findings are presented in "Assessment of Nutrient Adequacy with Supplement Use in a Sample of Healthy College Students," currently available in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the official publication of the American College of Nutrition, and a publication from Routledge.

60 students with healthy lipid profiles and BMIs (Body Mass Index) were recruited for the study, 44 of whom were eligible for nutritional evaluation after excluding for misreporting. Subjects submitted detailed food records at the end of every day for 30 consecutive days. 39% of participants were supplement users, defined as adding one or more vitamin, mineral, herb/botanical, amino acid, concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or any combination thereof to his or her diet.

All nutrient intakes except for vitamin A were significantly higher in supplement users than non-users. In addition, supplement users had significantly higher average dietary intakes of protein, folate, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. Overall, both male and female college student supplement users were shown to avoid many of the common among their larger population. Future research involving a large scale study on nutrient adequacy, supplementation, and lifestyle factors associated with college students is suggested.

Explore further: Dietary supplement use among older persons

More information: "Assessment of Nutrient Adequacy with Supplement Use in a Sample of Healthy College Students." Catherine Davis Ouellette, Meng Yang, Ying Wang, Caroline Yu, Maria Luz Fernandez, Nancy R. Rodriguez, Ock K. Chun. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Vol. 31, Iss. 5, 2012. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2012.10720424

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