Dietary supplements recommended, used by pharmacists

WASHINGTON — Pharmacists have become a go-to source for information about dietary supplements and also offer recommendations to patients, according to a study conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

According to the CRN’s "Life…supplemented Healthcare Professionals Impact Study," 93% of pharmacists recommend supplements to their customers, while 87% believe that supplements can play an important role in improving or maintaining the health of their customers.

Pharmacists surveyed said that they recommend dietary supplements to patients based on such conditions as joint health (65%), bone health (61%) and flu and colds (51%). When it came to which supplements pharmacists most often were asked about, the top three mentioned by respondents were omega-3/fish oil (mentioned by 73%), calcium (73%) and glucosamine/chondroitin (70%).

What's more, nearly 9-in-10 pharmacists (86%) incorporated dietary supplements into their lives. Among them, 44% cited “overall health and wellness” and 40% cited “filling in nutrient gaps” as the top two reasons they personally take dietary supplements.

“Pharmacists are able to help consumers choose the types of supplements that are right for their individual wellness plan,” said Douglas MacKay, CRN VP scientific and regulatory affairs 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. To maximize benefits and safety, it is important to talk to a pharmacist or other qualified healthcare practitioner about all the things you are taking for your health.”