Digestive Issues Widespread & Stress Levels Mounting among Irish Adults, LloydsPharmacy Health Check Reveals

Key LloydsPharmacy Ireland Research Findings

  • Pharmacists remain one of the most influential sources of advice for Irish adults on supplement and vitamin purchases.
  • 75% of adults plan to take vitamins or supplements in 2024, primarily to boost immunity (54%), enhance energy levels (47%), and support joint, bone and muscle health (45%).
  • Sleep is prioritised over exercise by 70% of adults, with older adults placing an even stronger emphasis on sleep.
  • Digestive issues are prevalent amongst Irish adults, with 81% reporting occasional or regular occurrences.
  • 30% of adults report high stress levels, rising to 45% among 25-34-year-olds. Those 65+ are least stressed.
  • Only 58% of adults engage in activities that promote bone health, with younger adults (18-24) most likely to prioritise such activities (66%). Older adults (55-65) are more likely to partake occasionally, while people in Leinster have the lowest participation rate (34%).
  • Overall health satisfaction varies by age and socioeconomic status, with those aged 35-44 the most satisfied with their health.

LloydsPharmacy today released key Health Insights for 2024, based on a recent study conducted by Empathy Research. The study revealed a range of trends and preferences among Irish adults regarding their health and wellness habits, including a strong preference for seeking guidance from healthcare professionals and personal recommendations rather than online sources when making decisions about supplements and vitamins. This research comes as LloydsPharmacy begins their Buy One Get One-Half Price offers on a range of vitamins and supplements available in over 80 LloydsPharmacy stores nationwide, online from lloydspharmacy.ie or through their app.

GPs & Pharmacists Remain Top Influencers in Supplement and Vitamin Purchase Decisions

The study found healthcare professionals, particularly general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists, continue to hold significant influence over Irish adults' supplement and vitamin purchase decisions, while the impact of social media influencers remains relatively small.

Nearly half of all adults (47%) are influenced by their GP when it comes to buying vitamins and supplements, followed closely by pharmacists (46%). Social media influencers, on the other hand, hold less sway, with only 10% citing them as a significant influence.

Majority of Adults Plan to Incorporate Dietary Supplements in 2024

75% of adults across the nation intend to regularly take vitamins or supplements in 2024. This trend is particularly evident among women, with 82% expressing their intention, compared to 69% of men. However this trend is dependent on age with those aged 65 and above, showed the least enthusiasm for supplements, with only 53% planning to take them.

The primary driving force behind this surge in supplementation is a desire to boost immunity (57%) by enhancing energy levels and overall performance (37%) and supporting joint, bone, and muscle health (35%) are other top reasons cited.

Only 36% of all adults claim to take Vitamin D every day. Due to Ireland's limited sunlight during the autumn and winter months, studies have revealed that many adults experience a deficiency in vitamin D. Vitamin D is recommended as it is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health.

This growing interest in dietary supplements highlights a rising awareness among individuals about the importance of maintaining optimal health and well-being. As the population ages and longevity increases, the need to support overall health and combat age-related ailments becomes more pressing.

Sleep Wins Out Over Exercise in Health Priorities

The research uncovered a striking preference for prioritising sleep over exercise, with a resounding 70% of adults opting for the restorative power of sleep. This sentiment was particularly strong among women (77%) compared to men (64%).

Intriguingly, older adults (80% of 65+) demonstrated an even stronger inclination towards sleep prioritisation, seemingly recognising its immense value in maintaining overall well-being as we age. In contrast, younger adults (18-34) seemed less inclined to prioritise sleep, with only 60% choosing it over exercise.

This data suggests a growing awareness among individuals of the profound impact of sleep on both physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a large number of health issues, including impaired cognitive function, increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease, and heightened stress levels.

The findings also highlight the gender difference when it comes to sleep prioritisation, with women placing a higher value on this essential health practice.

Digestive Woes affect over 80% of Adults

A vast majority of adults, 81%, experience digestive issues at least some of the time, with over 25% reporting such issues regularly. This pervasiveness is particularly concerning among younger adults (25-44) and women.

The digestive system plays a central role in the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients, providing the essential fuel for our bodies to function properly. When this intricate system malfunctions, it can lead to a range of uncomfortable and potentially serious health issues.

The high prevalence of digestive issues among adults is a cause for concern, especially in the younger population. The survey findings indicate that just under 50% of 18–24-year-olds experience digestive issues regularly. This may indicate that digestive problems may be developing earlier in life and becoming more common among younger generations.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of gut health and the role it plays in maintaining overall health. Research has shown that a healthy gut microbiome, the community of bacteria that reside in the digestive system, may influence a wide range of factors, including mood, immunity, and metabolism.

Stress Levels Heightened Among Younger Adults and Females

Thirty percent of all adults rated their stress levels quite high in their daily lives, rising to 45% among 25-34-year-olds. Females were more stressed than males. Those living in Leinster reported higher stress levels compared to other parts of the country. Those aged 65+ were the least stressed overall.

Bone Health Promotion Varies by Age and Location

Fifty-eight percent of all adults reported participating in activities that promote bone health, with 66% among those aged 18-24. Those aged 55-65 were most likely to intermittently partake in such activities, while those living in the Rest of Leinster (outside of Dublin) 34% were least likely to participate in such activities.

Speaking on the research findings, LloydsPharmacy Superintendent Pharmacist Denis O'Driscoll said: ‘Our LloydsPharmacy research into the consumer health and wellness priorities of Irish adults in 2024 provides invaluable perspectives. By understanding these trends, our pharmacists and colleagues can effectively serve our customers and provide tailored support for their health needs.

There has been a shift in Irish people's attitudes towards their health in recent years. People are more aware of the importance of prevention of illness through supplementation and vaccination, and they're more willing to take proactive steps to manage their health. This is reflected in the increasing number of people seeking advice from pharmacists about healthy lifestyle choices, self-care, and preventive measures.

If you have any questions or concerns about your health, don't hesitate to reach out to your local LloydsPharmacy. Our pharmacists are highly trained and experienced professionals who are here to provide you with personalised advice and support. We can help you with everything from managing chronic conditions to making healthy lifestyle choices.’

The LloydsPharmacy Health Insight for 2024 highlights the importance of seeking guidance from Pharmacists and considering personal recommendations when making decisions about supplements and vitamins. It also underscores the need for continued efforts to promote healthy lifestyle habits, such as prioritising sleep and exercise.

A wide range of vitamins and supplements are now available as part of buy one get one-half price in-store and online from lloydspharmacy.ie until 31st January 2024. To find your local store & opening hours, please visit our Store Locator or download the LloydsPharmacy Ireland App.

About LloydsPharmacy

Ireland's leading pharmacy chain, LloydsPharmacy, is committed to providing patients and their families with the best expert support and advice for all their health and well-being needs.

With over 80 pharmacies nationwide, we are dedicated to enhancing patient care through innovative digital solutions. LloydsPharmacy’s commitment to digitalisation is evident in our appointment booking system, allowing patients to conveniently schedule Pharmacist consultations from the comfort of their homes.

Additionally, the LloydsPharmacy DigiScript Service empowers patients to order their prescriptions online, streamlining their healthcare experience. This unwavering dedication to technological advancements, alongside an unwavering focus on providing exceptional customer service, is at the heart of LloydsPharmacy's success.

For more information please contact:

Niamh O’Brien: 087 931 8420 / niamh.obrien@fleishmaneurope.com

Sophie Horan: 087 960 5837 / sophie.horan@fleishmaneurope.com

Research was conducted by Empathy Research on behalf of LloydsPharmacy from 8th – 15TH December 2023 and 1,050 adults in Ireland were surveyed.