Peer-Reviewed Nutrition Journal Reports that U.S. Physicians and Nurses Widely Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements, Based on Ipsos Study

Study Shows Over 7 in 10 Physicians Use Supplements; Nearly 8 in 10 Recommend Supplements to Their Patients

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New York, NY — Physicians and nurses in the United States are as likely as members of the general public to use dietary supplements and most of them recommend supplements to their patients, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal, a peer-reviewed, online journal that focuses on the field of human nutrition. The findings reported in a July 2009 Nutrition Journal article are based on data from the “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in October 2007 among 900 physicians and 277 nurses.

The Nutrition Journal article is authored by Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., consultant and past president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition; Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition; and Nicolas Boyon, senior vice president, Ipsos Public Affairs, who conducted the HCP Impact Study.

The HCP Impact Study found that 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses used dietary supplements and that 79 percent of physicians and 82 percent of nurses said that they recommend dietary supplements to their patients.

The survey found that the dietary supplement product most commonly used by healthcare professionals is the multivitamin, with or without minerals. Vitamins and other minerals most commonly used by both physicians and nurses after multivitamins include vitamin C, a B vitamin complex, vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium. However, physicians and nurses seem to differ slightly on the non-vitamin and mineral products they use most often—physicians reported higher usages of green tea, fish oil, glucosamine, soy, flax seed and chondroitin (in that order) while nurses tended to use green tea, fish oil, echinacea, glucosamine and flax seed.

Overall health and wellness is the biggest motivator for taking dietary supplements, cited by 40 percent of physicians and 48 percent of nurses who take any. However, more than two-thirds cited multiple motivations, including bone health, flu or colds, heart health, immune health, joint health, energy and musculoskeletal pain. Most physicians and nurses cited similar reasons for recommending dietary supplements to their patients, with the most common reason being for overall health and wellness (41 percent of physicians who recommend supplements and 62 percent of nurses who do), followed by bone health, joint health, flu or colds, heart health, immune health, musculoskeletal pain, and energy. Over three-quarters (75 percent of physicians and 79 percent of nurses) also indicated that they would be interested in Continuing Medical Education regarding dietary supplements.

The Nutrition Journal article concludes that physicians and nurses are as likely as members of the general public to use dietary supplements, as shown by comparing the results of this survey with data from national health and nutrition surveys. Also, most physicians and nurses recommend supplements to their patients, whether or not the clinicians use dietary supplements themselves.

The URL of the Nutrition Journal article is

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
(646) 364-7583

About Ipsos Public Affairs

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Peer-Reviewed Nutrition Journal Reports that U.S. Physicians and Nurses Widely Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements, Based on Ipsos Study

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Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, US
Head of Health Services Research

Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 212 293 6544