Journal Publishes CRN Data Finding that an “Overwhelming Percentage” of Dietitians Recommend Supplements

April 12, 2012

The data indicated that an overwhelming percentage of dietitians, 97 percent, recommend dietary supplements to their clients.

Peer-reviewed online journal Nutrition Journal has published data from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC) finding that an overwhelming percentage of dietitians-97%-recommend dietary supplements to their clients. The data was culled from CRN’s 2009“Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study.

“Dietitians are uniquely qualified to evaluate the adequacy of nutrient intake and to make rational choices about dietary supplement use for themselves and for their clients or patients, when appropriate,” stated the study’s authors.

CRN’s study found that 74% of dietitians themselves use dietary supplements regularly as part of a healthy regimen, while 22% reported using supplements occasionally or seasonally. Usage of a multivitamin was high amongst dietitians, with 84% of those surveyed indicating they had used a multivitamin within the past year. In terms of specialty supplement usage, the most-used types of supplements were omega-3 or fish oil supplements (47%), probiotics (24%), fiber (22%), and green tea supplements (18%). Dieticians also reported using several individual vitamins and minerals, including calcium (63%), vitamins D (43%), C (29%), and B (23%).

When asked why they choose to use dietary supplements, the top three reasons cited by dietitians who reported taking them were bone health (58%), overall health and wellness benefits (53%), and to fill nutrient gaps in the diet (42%).

Interestingly, the top three reasons that dietitians were most likely to recommend dietary supplements to clients were also bone health (72%), filling nutrient gaps (69%), and overall health and wellness (50%). Other top reasons for recommending supplements included lowering cholesterol (48%), heart health (47%), dietary pattern/vegetarian/vegan (45%), and digestive and gastrointestinal health (41%).

This study is the latest to explore the use of dietary supplements by healthcare professionals. Like previous studies, it adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests healthcare professionals commonly use dietary supplements, said CRN.

Last year, Nutrition Journalpublished findingsfrom a separate 2008 study from “Life…supplemented” that found that for physician specialists―specifically dermatologists, cardiologists, and orthopedists―personal usage of and patient recommendations for dietary supplements is quite common.

In 2009, Nutrition Journalpublished findingsfrom a separate 2007 “Life…supplemented” study that found that physicians and nurses are as likely as members of the general public to use dietary supplements and that most physicians and nurses recommend supplements to their patients.

The published article reporting on the study findings was co-authored by Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., consultant to and past president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition; Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., CSSD, LDN, director of sports nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and consultant to the “Life…supplemented” consumer wellness education program; Nicolas Boyon, senior vice president, Ipsos Public Affairs, and Julio Franco, senior research manager, Ipsos Public Affairs.  Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study on behalf of CRN.