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Nutrition Journal: “Dietitians Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements: Report of a Survey” | Antipaper's Digital Tsunami
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Nutrition Journal: “Dietitians Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements: Report of a Survey”

May 6, 2013
by The Technology Doctor

Do what I DO, not what I say! 🙂
Red highlights are mine.


Dietitians Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements:
Report of a Survey

Annette Dickinson1*, Leslie Bonci2, Nicolas Boyon3 and Julio C Franco3

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:14 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-14

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/11/1/14

Received: 28 October 2011
Accepted: 14 March 2012
Published: 14 March 2012



Dietary supplement use is common in the United States, with more than half of the population using such products. Nutrition authorities consistently advocate a “food first” approach to achieving nutritional adequacy but some, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), also recognize that dietary supplements have a role to play in improving nutrient intake to support health and wellness. Surveys show that many health professionals use dietary supplements themselves and also recommend dietary supplements to their patients or clients.


As one component of a series of surveys of healthcare professionals (the “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Studies), 300 registered dietitians were surveyed in 2009 regarding their personal use of dietary supplements and whether they recommend dietary supplements to their clients. Respondents were registered dietitians whose business involved seeing clients in a private practice or at a clinic.


Seventy-four percent of the dietitians surveyed said they were regular users of dietary supplements, while 22% said they used dietary supplements occasionally or seasonally. The primary reasons for using dietary supplements were for bone health (58%), overall health and wellness (53%), and to fill nutrient gaps (42%). When asked if they “ever recommend dietary supplements to clients,” 97% of the respondents said they did. The primary reasons were for bone health (70%), to fill nutrient gaps (67%), and overall health and wellness (49%). Eighty-seven percent of the dietitians agreed with the statement, “There are gaps in clients’ diets that could effectively be addressed with dietary supplements.” The dietitians surveyed said they followed healthy habits including eating a balanced diet (96%), managing stress (92%), visiting their own healthcare professional regularly (86%), exercising regularly (83%), maintaining a healthy weight (80%), and getting a good night’s sleep (72%). Nearly all respondents (95%) expressed an interest in continuing education about dietary supplements on a variety of topics.


Many dietitians, like other health professionals, use dietary supplements regularly as part of their own approach to a healthy diet and lifestyle. They also recommend dietary supplements to their clients or patients, to promote health.


National nutrition surveys show that many Americans fall short in consumption of several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamins A and D, vitamins C and E, and vitamin B-6 [4,5]. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) urges improvement in overall dietary habits as the primary tool for improving nutrient intake, but the organization’s position paper on nutrient supplementation also recognizes that dietary supplements may have a role to play in helping people achieve nutritional goals [6]. The Dietary Reference Intakes established by the Institute of Medicine suggest supplemental intakes of some nutrients for some population groups, such as folic acid for women of childbearing age and vitamin B-12 for people over the age of 50, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans also incorporate these recommendations [7,8]. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recognizes that some people may need supplemental intakes of calcium and vitamin D to reach levels considered to be necessary to build and maintain optimum bone mass during growth and early adulthood and to reduce bone loss during aging [9]. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have designed a modified Food Guide Pyramid with a sidebar recommending a “daily multivitamin plus extra vitamin D (for most people)” [10]. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are consumed at very low levels by most Americans, and increases in intake could improve cardiovascular health and also provide other benefits [11]. Fiber intakes in the U.S. are also low, and fiber supplements as well as consuming more foods high in fiber could be beneficial for a large fraction of the population [12].

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