According to findings published in the Nutrition Journal, 74% of the 300 dietitians surveyed said they regularly used dietary supplements, with bone health topping the reasons (58%), followed by overall health and wellness (53%), and to fill nutrient gaps (42%).
In addition, 97% of respondents answered affirmatively to the question, ‘have you ever recommend dietary supplements to clients’, with bone health, filling nutrient gaps, and overall health and wellness again the main reasons cited.
“Our survey is not representative of all dietitians, as it focuses only on a particular segment of dietitians, namely those who see clients in their office or clinic on a regular basis,” wrote the authors, led by Annette Dickinson from Dickinson Consulting, LLC.
“Dietitians can help their clients evaluate nutritional needs and select rational dietary supplements. Recognizing that there are quality issues with some products, dietitians could direct clients toward companies with a reputation for quality or toward products bearing a quality seal.”
The survey is one part of the "Life...supplemented" HCP Impact Studies, which forms part of the multi-million dollar education “Life…supplemented” campaign managed by the CRN Foundation.
The Foundation announced this week that 26 companies in the dietary supplement industry have pledged support for “Life…supplemented” for the fifth consecutive year.
“Our industry needs a program like this—a forward-thinking communications platform that educates consumers about dietary supplements as one component of healthy living,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN, who oversees the campaign.
“That we are moving into the program’s fifth year is a testament to the success of this effort and to our funders, who recognize the need to define our industry and our industry’s products. We look forward to more successes as a result of their ongoing support.”
Of the 300 dietitians questioned for the most recent survey, 96% of dietitians sad they regularly or occasionally used dietary supplements.
The most popular supplement used was a multivitamin, followed by calcium, omega-3/fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, probiotics, B vitamins, and fiber supplements.
“The prevalence of regular dietary supplement use among dietitians (74%) is comparable to that reported in some surveys of the general public and of health professionals,” wrote Dickinson and her co-authors.
Such practice was also preached to clients, with 87% of the dietitians agreeing with the statement, ‘There are gaps in clients' diets that could effectively be addressed with dietary supplements’.
Beyond bone health, filling nutrient gaps, and overall health and wellness, the other main reasons why dietitians recommended supplements included cholesterol reduction, heart health, digestive health, immune health, and joint health.
Source: Nutrition Journal
2012, 11:14 doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-14
“Dietitians use and recommend dietary supplements: report of a survey”
Authors: A. Dickinson, L. Bonci, N. Boyon, J.C. Franco