Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences

Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9600


A Survey of Dietary Supplement Knowledge, Attitudes, and Use in a Rural Population

Christopher Owens, Tiffanie Toone and Michelle Steed-Ivie

Dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbal products, are often used to treat self-diagnosed conditions and/or to promote health. We conducted a community-based survey in a rural population to assess consumers’ knowledge, practices, and attitudes regarding the use of dietary supplements. A total of 526 adults (≥ 18 years) completed the survey. Information collected included product(s) used, frequency and use in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications, and perceptions of efficacy and safety. Most respondents (71.5%) indicated a preference for dietary supplements over conventional pharmaceuticals to maintain health. Most (71.1%) reported daily or almost daily use of conventional pharmaceuticals use as well. Most respondents (>86%) indicated they were comfortable discussing the use of supplements with their physician or pharmacist; there was weaker agreement regarding perceived potential for drug-supplement interactions or adverse effects, indicating that these issues may be under-recognized. These results indicate that dietary supplements are often used in combination with pharmaceuticals and there is continuing need for clinicians to assess patients’ use of these products and to provide direction for their appropriate place in therapy.