Doctors reveal supplement recommendation priorities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Nutrition

Bone, joint and heart health are some of the top reasons for doctors to recommend supplements to their patients, according to a new study.

The Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study, released by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), surveyed around 1,200 orthopedic specialists, cardiologists and dermatologists.

The findings reveal that the majority of doctors recommend supplements both for overall health and for areas associated with their specialties. Most doctors also believe supplement usage is mainstream, and more popular today than five years ago.

Use and recommendations

Some 73 percent of orthopedic specialists, 57 percent of cardiologists and 75 percent of dermatologists report using supplements themselves.

When it comes to recommending them to patients, 94 percent of orthopedic specialists who take supplements also encourage patients to do so. This figure drops slightly for cardiologists (86 percent) and dermatologists (79 percent).

Out of those doctors who do not take supplements themselves, 82 percent of orthopedic specialists, 54 percent and dermatologists and 28 percent of dermatologists recommend them to patients.

Health areas

The top reasons for orthopedic specialists to recommend supplements are bone health (75 percent), joint health (73 percent), musculoskeletal pain (53 percent), overall health and wellness benefits (25 percent) and lower cholesterol (13 percent).

Top reasons for cardiologists are lower cholesterol (58 percent), heart health (55 percent), maintain healthy cholesterol (36 percent), overall health and wellness benefits (30 percent) and bone health (22 percent).

Top reasons for dermatologists include skin, hair and nails (81 percent), overall health and wellness benefits (30 percent), bone health (25 percent), anti-aging (20 percent), immune health and heart health (12 percent each).


Around 63 percent of orthopedic specialists said consumers’ use of supplements is mainstream, with 86 percent believing usage today is higher than five years ago.

These figures are 53 percent and 74 percent respectively for cardiologists, and 60 percent and 83 percent for dermatologists.

The new study – part of CRN’s Life…supplemented​ campaign – follows last year’s HCP Impact Study, which showed 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses personally use dietary supplements. It had also found that around three-quarters of physicians and nurses recommend dietary supplements to their patients.

“We learned from the 2007 HCP Impact Study that physicians and nurses are taking supplements as part of a proactive wellness regimen that also includes healthy diet and regular exercise,”​ said Judy Blatman, senior vice president of communications at CRN.

“With the second year of this study, we were able to dive into specific specialties and find similar trends, further demonstrating the important role for doctors in incorporating dietary supplements as an integral part of wellness.”

CRN’s Life…supplemented​ consumer campaign aims to increase awareness amongst consumers about how dietary supplements form an important part of personal wellness, taken in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.

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