The majority of physicians and nurses in the US recommend supplements to their patients but also use them personally, finds a new study.
Commissioned by the supplement trade group Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and published in the peer-reviewed Nutrition Journal, the study surveyed 900 physicians and 277 nurses.
“Health professionals including physicians and nurses are just as interested in healthy lifestyles as members of the general public and are just as likely to benefit from rational supplementation,” wrote the authors, Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., past president of CRN, Andrew Shao, Ph.D., CRN vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, and Nicolas Boyon, senior vice president, Ipsos Public Affairs, who conducted the Study on behalf of CRN.
Multivitamins most popular
The online survey, conducted in October 2007, found that 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses used dietary supplements. In addition, 79 percent of physicians and 82 percent of nurses said that they recommend them to their patients.
Overall, the survey found that multivitamins were the most commonly used supplement. Other popular vitamins and minerals were vitamin C, a B vitamin complex, vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium.
Out of the non-vitamin and mineral products, physicians were most likely to use green tea, followed by fish oil, glucosamine, soy, flax seed and chondroitin. Nurses were most likely to use green tea, fish oil, echinacea, glucosamine and flax seed.
Some 40 percent of physicians and 48 percent of nurses said they took supplements for “overall health and wellness”.
Over two-thirds of survey respondents said they had multiple motivations for using supplements, including bone health, flu or colds, heart health, immune health, joint health, energy and musculoskeletal pain.
When it came to recommending supplements to their patients, the most common reason was again overall health and wellness, followed by bone health, joint health, flu or colds, heart health, immune health, musculoskeletal pain, and energy.
“This latest survey adds to the growing body of published data suggesting that healthcare professionals are among the highest users of supplements,” said CRN.
Another study published in 2000 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 64 percent of female physicians used vitamin or mineral supplements at least occasionally, and 47 percent used a vitamin or mineral supplement at least five days a week.
Physicians and nurses use and recommend dietary supplements: report of a survey
Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:29
Authors: Annette Dickinson, Nicolas Boyon, Andrew Shao