More and more consumers are turning to supplements for health related concerns. It’s understandable when we see medication commercials with laundry lists of side effects and law firm advertisements on television every evening. It’s interesting to see that more physicians and healthcare providers are also choosing supplements for health related concerns.
The Healthcare Professionals 2008 Impact Study HCP Impact Study collected data from physicians regarding both personal use and recommendation of supplements to patients new supplement. The HCP Impact Study was commissioned by the Council of Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the study was published in Nutrition Journal which is peer-reviewed. A great article entitled: “Physician supplement use matches general population levels: Survey” was recently published online. See the reference link below. The actual report as published in Nutrition Journal is also available below.
A reading of the article discusses the lack of formal training or continuing education on dietary supplements available to physicians. You should always inform your health care provider or physician when you initiate or take any dietary supplement. It is important for him to know the ingredients of the supplement and the amount of those ingredients. If you know of clinical documentation, studies, or journal articles it might be wise to provide these to your physician. Do not assume that he is familiar or knows about the particular supplement that you are taking. By providing these references your physician may be encouraged to review the literature and discern whether or not the documentation is relevant. Physicians are trained to understand and review the clinical significance of a clinical study. Providing this information will allow him to respond from an educated perspective.
I have spent thirty years in the pharmaceutical industry and like your physician had limited education on dietary supplements and as a result never had a lot of faith in dietary supplements. The major reason was that I did not believe that clinical data existed to substantiate the efficacy of these products. When you work for these multinational corporations you notice something strange in that generally the bulk of their revenue is generated here on the North American continent.
Then you ask yourself, well what are physicians recommending and consumers using outside of North America? Low and behold often its dietary supplements. So naturally I was curious and wanted to know where the efficacy of these dietary supplements was both established and documented. I was truly surprised that some dietary supplement ingredients do in fact have substantial clinical data and documentation of efficacy and safety. The data was and is even published in substantial medical journals that are respected throughout the medical community here in North America.