Poster Topical Area: Diet and Cancer

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 199

P07-013 - Dietary Supplement Use among Adult Cancer Survivors in the United States

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objectives Cancer survivors reported higher frequencies of dietary supplement use than the general population. It has yet to be determined whether cancer survivors use supplements at higher doses and whether supplement use contributes to a lower prevalence of nutrient intakes < Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) and/or a higher prevalence of nutrient intake ≥ Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) in a representative sample of cancer survivors in the US.

Methods We evaluated the frequency and dosage of supplement use in the past 30 d, the percentage of nutrient intake < EAR or ≥ UL, and reasons of supplement use among 3,764 adult cancer survivors and compared those to 7,330 individuals without a history of cancer who were matched to cancer survivors by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and survey cycle, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2014.

Results Compared to non-cancer individuals, adult cancer survivors reported a higher frequency of any supplement use, multivitamin/mineral supplement use, and individual supplement use for 16 vitamins and 17 minerals. Cancer survivors also reported a higher daily supplement dose for 6 vitamins (vitamin D, vitamin A, retinol, folate, niacin, and calcium) and 6 minerals (calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and nickel) (all P values < 0.05). Supplement use contributed to a lower percentage of intake < EAR for vitamin D (70.4 vs. 73.8%, p=0.001) and vitamin K (65.5 vs. 67.8%, p=0.0487), but also to a higher percentage of intake ≥ UL for folate (25.8 vs. 22.6%, p=0.002), calcium (10.2 vs. 8.49%, p=0.04), niacin (10.0 vs. 8.38%, p=0.02), and vitamin D (2.15 vs. 1.03%, p=0.005) in cancer survivors than non-cancer individuals. Among cancer survivors who used supplements, 48.5% reported using on their own, 25% being advised by doctors, and 26.5% for both. The top five reasons for taking supplements among cancer survivors were to improve overall health, to maintain health, to support bone health, to supplement the diet, and for heart health.

Conclusions Cancer survivors reported a higher frequency and greater doses of dietary supplement use than the general population. While supplement use in this population contributes to reducing intakes < EAR for some nutrients, it can also increase the prevalence of intakes ≥ UL for others.



Funding Source: NIH/NIMHD 1R01MD011501
Table 1. Characteristics of Adult Cancer Survivors and Non-Cancer Individuals, NHANES 1999-2014

Table 2. Percentage of Intake < EAR or Intake ≥ UL among Cancer Survivors and Individuals without Cancer, NHANES 1999-2014

Figure 1. Mean Supplement Dose of Vitamins and Minerals among Cancer Survivors and Individuals without Cancer in the United States, NHANES 1999-2014

Figure 2. Percentage of Cancer Survivors Taking Dietary Supplements on Own or Advised by Doctor, NHANES 1999-2014

Figure 3. Top 15 Reasons for Taking Dietary Supplements among Cancer Survivors in the United States, NHANES 1999-2014

CoAuthors: Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D. – Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Gail Rogers, M.A. – Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Fan Chen – Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Mengyuan Ruan – Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Fang Fang Zhang, M.D. Ph.D. – Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Mengxi Du

Graduate Research Assistant
Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Boston, Massachusetts