More consumers are turning to pharmacists for information about and recommendations of dietary supplements, according to research from the “Life…Supplemented" Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study. Pharmacists also indicated they are incorporating dietary supplements into their own lives to increase overall health and wellness.
Nine in 10 (93 percent) of pharmacists said they recommend supplements to their customers, while 87 percent believed supplements can play an important role in improving or maintaining the health of their customers. Eighty-four percent of pharmacists said they believe it is a good idea for customers to take supplements, citing joint health (65 percent), bone health (61 percent) and flu/colds (51 percent) as the top three reasons they have recommended supplements to their customers. Two-thirds of pharmacists also noted when they did speak to customers about supplements, customers initiated the conversation. With regard to which supplements pharmacists were most often asked about, the top three mentioned by respondents were omega-3/fish oil (mentioned by 73 percent), calcium (73 percent) and glucosamine/chondroitin (70 percent).
Nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) of pharmacists said they use dietary supplements citing, “overall health and wellness" (44 percent) and “filling in nutrient gaps" (40 percent) as the top two reasons they take dietary supplements. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed indicated that they take a multivitamin; other popular supplements taken by pharmacists include omega-3/fish oil (35 percent), calcium (35 percent), vitamin C (32 percent), B vitamins (25 percent), vitamin D (23 percent) and fiber (19 percent).
“Pharmacists are able to help consumers choose the types of supplements that are right for their individual wellness plan," said Douglas MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and a consultant to the “Life…supplemented" consumer wellness initiative. “A pharmacist’s training specifically qualifies him or her to take a comprehensive look at an individual’s current prescribed medications and determine if any potential drug-dietary supplement interactions or drug-induced nutrient depletions may need to be addressed."
Results from the 2009 “Life…supplemented" HCP Impact Study were released in December 2009 and comprise three separate surveys–300 nurse practitioners, 300 pharmacists and 300 registered dietitians. Margins of sampling error at a 95 percent confidence level are +/- 5.7 percentage points for each of the groups of healthcare professionals surveyed. A nominal honorarium was given to each health care professional completing the survey. Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the survey online.
The study is part of the “Life… supplemented" consumer wellness campaign, which is dedicated to driving awareness about the mainstream use of dietary supplements as an integral part of a proactive personal wellness regimen that combines healthy diet, supplements and exercise. The study evaluates the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by health care professionals and whether their attitudes toward supplements affect their clinical behavior and recommendations to patients. The “Life…supplemented" campaign is managed by the CRN Foundation, an educational affiliate of the CRN, a trade association for the dietary supplement industry.