The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic changes in our day-to-day lives.

With more people focused on improving their health and fitness, vitamin and supplement use has risen dramatically. In fact, the nutritional supplement industry observed its highest growth in over 2 decades, with a 12.1% increase in 2020.

This trajectory is expected to continue into 2021, with many people looking to support their health through supplements. That said, you may wonder which supplement trends are topping the list.

Here are the top 7 vitamin and supplement trends in 2021.

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2020 was filled with stressful, life-changing events that led to an increase in mental health issues and stress across all age groups (1, 2, 3, 4).

As a result, many people are turning to supplements to support their mental health. In fact, a report by Coherent Market Insights anticipates a growth rate of 8.5% in the brain and mental health supplement market over the next 6 years.

Expect to see ingredients like magnesium, B-complex vitamins, L-theanine, melatonin, valerian, chamomile, and cannabidiol (CBD) become more popular, as they’re linked to better sleep and lower levels of stress and anxiety (5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

Furthermore, plant-based adaptogens have soared in popularity, as they may support the body’s stress response. In particular, ashwagandha and rhodiola are popular Ayurvedic herbs that may lower anxiety, cortisol levels, and mild depressive symptoms (10, 11, 12).

Although these ingredients may benefit your mental health, you should always consult a healthcare provider before taking new supplements — especially if you’re already on medications to treat depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.

Expect beauty and skin care supplements to grow significantly this year. Whether it be a scoop of collagen in a smoothie or a pinch of turmeric on a salad, treating skin issues from the inside out will be a growing priority.

In fact, according to Google Ads, search inquiries for collagen increased 33% from March 2020 to December 2020, suggesting there’s an increased interest in beauty as a subsection of the supplement industry.

Top beauty-boosting ingredients include collagen peptides, vitamin C, omega-3s, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and antioxidant-rich green tea and vegetable blends.

In particular, a diet rich in collagen peptides, vitamin C, and omega-3s is linked to better skin health and fewer signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines (13, 14).

Despite their popularity, don’t expect these supplements to compensate for poor skin care and lifestyle practices. Wearing sunscreen daily, getting quality sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritious diet are key to healthy skin (15, 16, 17).

The COVID-19 pandemic taught us all to prioritize our health. As such, there’s been a 50% reported increase in consumers seeking out immune-supporting supplements.

Expect to see supplements that contain ingredients like zinc, selenium, B complex vitamins, and vitamins C and D, as well as alternative health remedies like elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, turmeric, and ginger.

Furthermore, some industry experts believe that medicinal mushroom extracts will become a part of this trend. In particular, chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine to strengthen the immune system (18, 19).

Notably, the medicinal mushroom industry is projected to be worth $261.8 million by 2026.

It’s important to note that despite their potential role in supporting immune health, no nutritional supplements have been shown to prevent or cure illnesses, such as COVID-19 (20, 21, 22, 23).

Vitamin D continues to lead the charge as the top nutrient for overall health. It plays a key role in immunity, mental well-being, bone and skin health, and protecting against chronic disease (24, 25, 26).

In particular, this vitamin made headlines in 2020, as various studies associated low vitamin D levels with an increased risk of COVID-19 complications. However, further research is needed (27, 28, 29).

While your skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun, concerns about ultraviolet (UV) rays and regional limitations to sunlight have led many consumers to supplement with vitamin D.

Notably, the vitamin D market is expected to increase 7.2% by 2025.

Consumers are looking for convenient, more enjoyable experiences with supplements, which will involve shifting away from traditional pills. In particular, flavored gummy vitamins for people of all ages will continue to grow in popularity.

What’s more, consumers can expect companies to provide various options to consume other supplement products. For example, collagen peptides are beginning to be offered as powders, flavored drinks, capsules, and gummies.

As supplements are now considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle, companies will be expected to create products that fit seamlessly into your daily routine.

Health-savvy consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about their own health needs. At the same time, they’re growing tired of misleading or false health claims, which has led to a rise in distrust of the supplement and pharmaceutical industries.

With 59% of people reporting that they’ll gladly pay more for a brand they trust, companies will be expected to be transparent and honest about their products, disclosing not only their ingredients but also their efficacy, safety, and absorption.

Companies may also be held accountable for ensuring their health claims are backed by science, as the growing distrust of the industry has stemmed from companies making claims that have little to no scientific backing.

This ongoing expectation of trust and transparency will likely lead consumers to turn to health professionals and online forums to weigh in on product quality and call the shots on acceptable practices by the supplement industry.

With individuals becoming the experts on which vitamins their bodies need, they’re also making sure their family members are meeting their nutritional needs — including their pets.

Among the fastest growing categories for the pet industry is supplements and pet food products to ease anxiety, aid skin issues, and improve gut health.

In fact, Future Market Insights predicts that the pet dietary supplements market will reach a valuation of $3.78 billion by the end of 2021.

In 2021, you should expect to see several changes in the vitamin and supplement industry.

After the life-changing pandemic, we’ll see more supplement companies focusing on nutrition for both the mind and body, as well as being more transparent about the ingredients they’re using.

While these trends are exciting, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider before trying new supplements.

As a dietitian, I look forward to seeing positive changes in the supplement industry toward a more well-rounded, evidence-based approach.