Why Americans are Turning to Supplementation and Holistic Health

Posted: March 4, 2024 | By: Shanon Peckham

Thinking of trying a new nutritional supplement this year? You’re not the only one who’s been thinking more about holistic health recently. A 2023 CRN consumer survey found that as many as 74% of U.S. adults have added dietary supplements into their lives in one way or another.14 Wow!

From sleep aids and meal replacement shakes, to herbal remedies and multivitamin-mineral blends, there are so many ways supplementation can improve your quality of life. When paired with a healthy diet, exercise, mental health care, and physician advice where needed, complementary health practices and supplementation can help many people find the relief and better health they have been searching for, on their own terms.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the main, potential reasons people are increasingly exploring holistic health practices, and how you can get the most out of your supplements.

medical bill statement

Rising Healthcare and Drug Costs

If you’ve had to shop around for insurance or pay back a hospital bill lately, you already know how quickly medical costs can add up. According to recent data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, healthcare expenditures added up to an average of $13,493 per person ($4.5 trillion overall) in 2022.1 As a nation, we’re spending more than we ever have on medical care, and the number seems to climb higher and higher every year8 – including how much we spend out of pocket.2,3 KFF reported Americans are spending 47% more on insurance premiums than they were 10 years ago,4 and prescription drug costs were up 46% from 2022 to 2023 alone.5

Not only are your medications costing more, but they can also be hard to get consistently due to widespread shortages. In 2023, over 300 drug shortages impacted the U.S.;6 as of February 2024, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists reported over 250 active drug shortages on their website.7 While these disruptions are exasperating at best for the majority of us, many simply can’t afford to skip their next round of medication or treatments. In the case of chemotherapy drugs, which were significantly impacted by drug shortages in 2023, patients had to postpone or cancel treatments, potentially putting their lives at risk.6

Supplementation and Complementary Health on the Rise

With the healthcare system becoming trickier and more expensive to navigate in recent years, it’s no surprise Americans are turning to alternative and holistic health therapies. A study released by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in January 2024 reported a 17.5% increase in Americans’ use of complementary health approaches from 2002 to 2022.9 Their list of popular holistic health alternatives included yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and naturopathy (which encompasses supplementation and nutrition10), among others. When you think about it, it makes sense financially. If a sleep study, physical therapy, or an unexpected trip to the ER from a nutritional deficiency is going to set you back thousands of dollars out of pocket, a $40 supplement you can buy without a prescription to treat the underlying cause starts to look like a better investment, doesn’t it?

Though budget plays a significant part in peoples’ decision to lean more on complementary health practices and supplementation, it’s important to note that it’s not the only reason. Many have had bad experiences with physicians or pharmaceuticals and don’t trust that their needs will be met properly. Others simply seek chemical-free, non-addictive, or herbal solutions to chronic pain and other issues. Some also choose alternatives because of their lifestyle, diet, beliefs, or cultural traditions.11

Supplements are also a convenient way for people to ensure they’re getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients – especially when they can’t get it from food alone. For example, selenium and essential fatty acids (omega 3s) cannot be synthesized by the body and must be taken in with nutrient-rich foods. As our crop soil becomes more and more depleted of vital nutrients and beneficial microorganisms with every passing year (thanks to farming methods like tillage and the use of pesticides),12,13 supplementation is becoming increasingly necessary for maintaining optimal health. This is why Youngevity Founder Dr. Joel Wallach started the 90 For Life program: to help ensure everyone has access to the 90 essential nutrients the body needs to thrive!

How Supplementation Works

Nutritional supplements offer a more natural, budget-friendly way to bolster your health and fill in the gaps in your diet. They’re also different from many pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications in that they can have a protective, preventative effect on overall health. As Dr. Wallach discovered through his years of research, nutritional deficiencies contribute to a wide variety of chronic health issues, diseases, unpleasant symptoms, and even early death.15 Rather than just treating the effects of a condition or disease (with exceptions), supplements help you to address the underlying cause of your symptoms (often, an unknown deficiency). You can tackle issues like anemia, osteoporosis, indigestion, joint pain, hair loss, and so much more with the right supplements, rather than potentially addictive pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures.

To get the most bang for your buck and maximize your health benefits, we recommend selecting high-quality blends with more than one key nutrient. Often, ingredients synergize together to support better absorption of the product, so be sure to always read the labels carefully – this will also help you avoid unwanted ingredients, fillers, and ensure the dose will work for your needs. For better accountability and documentation, keep a journal or download an app to track your progress and symptoms. Lastly, we recommend speaking to a physician if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have any other potential health concerns before you begin taking supplements for the first time.


Not sure where to start? Take our free Health Quiz for a quick, personalized shopping list!


1 National health and expenditure data, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

2 How has U.S. spending on healthcare changed over time?, Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker

3 Health Care Expenditures, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

4 2023 Employer Health Benefits Survey, KFF, 2023

5 Changes in the List Prices of Prescription Drugs, 2017-2023, ASPE

6 Severity and Impact of Current Drug Shortages June/July 2023, ASHP

7 Drug Shortages List, Current Drug Shortage Bulletins, ASHP

8 What are the recent and forecasted trends in prescription drug spending?, Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker

9 NIH analysis reveals a significant rise in use of complementary health approaches, especially for pain management, 2024

10 Naturopathy, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health

11 Why patients use alternative medicine: results of a national study, 1998

12 Pesticides and Soil Invertebrates: A Hazard Assessment, 2021

13 Rates of Historical Anthropogenic Soil Erosion in the Midwestern United States, 2022

14 Three-quarters of Americans Take Dietary Supplements; Most Users Agree They are Essential to Maintaining Health, CRN Consumer Survey Finds, 2023

15 About Us, Youngevity.com

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