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Docs & Nurses Take, Recommend Supplements

Source: Supplement Industry News, December 2007

Council for Responsible Nutrition – The Science Behind the Supplements

The landmark “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study found that more than three quarters of US physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients. The study also shows that an almost equal number-72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses-personally use vitamin, mineral, herbal, and other supplements either regularly, occasionally or seasonally, which is a higher percentage than the 68 percent of adults who report they take nutritional or dietary supplements.

With mainstream use of dietary supplements in the US-over 150 million Americans take them each year-the 2007 “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study on dietary supplements was designed to evaluate the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by physicians and nurses and to determine if those factors impact whether they recommend supplements for their patients. The study was sponsered by the “Life…supplemented” consumer wellness campaign, which is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

“This survey, which is a first for our industry, shows that healthcare professionals believe that dietary supplements are part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN. “Not only are they taking supplements for their own benefit, but they’re also recommending them to their patients. The approval of our products from reputable, respectable healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, should be encouraging to consumers who already incorporate supplements into their wellness routine, and a wake-up call to those who haven’t yet started to do so.”

Of the 72 percent of physicians who use supplements, 85 percent also recommend them to their patients; and of the 28 percent of physicians who do not use supplements, three out of five (62 percent) still recommend them.

In addition, the study shows that almost three quarters of physicians (72 percent) and more than three quarters of nurses (88 percent) say it is a good idea for patients to take a multivitamin.

The study found that almost half of physicians and nurses who take supplements most often do so for “overall health/wellness benefits,” while 41 percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses who recommend supplements most often do so for the same reasons. Primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses recommend supplements as often for “general well-being/prevention” as they do for special conditions, while other specialists recommend supplements more often for special conditions.