Opinion polls show that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the use of supplements in the United States
According to a new survey by Harris Poll, nearly 30% of Americans are now taking more supplements compared to pre-pandemic habits.
This survey conducted on behalf of the Samueli Foundation found that 76% of Americans are now taking supplements.
The biggest reason for increasing the use of supplements is the hope to improve overall immunity and special protection against COVID-19 – although No research Prove that supplements can prevent coronavirus. Other common reasons cited are the desire to better control personal health, improve sleep and improve mental health.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a catalyst for increasing supplement use,” Say Dr. Wayne Jonas, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation Integrated Health Project.
“Supplements-used under the guidance of a healthcare professional-can benefit a person’s health. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the risks and safety issues associated with their use.”
One worrying finding of the survey is that 52% of Americans taking supplements mistakenly believe that most dietary supplements have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Nearly one-third of supplement users believe that if supplements are dangerous, they are not allowed to be sold to the public. Less than half of people taking supplements consult their healthcare provider before using it.
“Contrary to what many people believe, the FDA does not regulate supplements. In fact, many supplements are not identified as dangerous goods until people are negatively affected by them,” Jonas said. “Supplements are good for a person’s health, but they also have risks, so I encourage anyone who is taking or considering taking supplements to discuss with your healthcare provider first.”
In general, there is still a lack of consistent data regarding the safety and effectiveness of different supplements. E.g, A recent analysis Linking high-dose fish oil supplements to atrial fibrillation is a dangerous heart disease. This contradicts earlier research, which showed that supplements can improve cardiovascular health.
melatoninUsed as a sleep aid is another supplement that has rarely been studied, especially regarding possible long-term effects. It is also unclear what the safest dose or the best time to take for different age groups.
Since supplements are not strictly regulated in the United States, not all ingredients must be listed on the label, which makes it difficult for consumers to identify potentially harmful ingredients. some studies It has also been found that dietary supplements may be contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria and fungi.
According to the survey, another issue they use is the potential interaction between prescription drugs and supplements. Forty-six Americans taking prescription drugs said that they did not discuss their supplements with their doctors when they were given a drug leaflet.
The survey results show that it is not that they do not want to discuss with their healthcare provider. Most people surveyed stated that they are willing to discuss their supplement use with a doctor.
However, 41% of supplement recipients said that they just didn’t expect to start a conversation, and 35% said they thought their doctors didn’t care about their supplement use.
Another 32% said they think their healthcare provider does not know enough about supplements to advise them. Some supplement users also worry that their doctor will judge them based on the supplements they take.
“As more and more people start taking supplements, we need to make sure they have the information they need to make informed and healthy decisions,” Jonas said. “As a doctor, my duty is to help patients understand which supplements can play a safe and effective role in their overall health and well-being goals. The good news is that patients are willing to discuss this topic, but it depends on the supplier’s inquiry.”
The online survey conducted in June 2021 included responses from more than 2,000 American adults.