Here’s a look at the use of dietary supplements by physicians in 3 specialties in the US: cardiology, dermatology, and orthopedics.

First, the details.

  • The study was conducted online by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a trade association of the dietary supplement industry.
  • Respondents were 900 physicians, including 300 each from 3 specialties of cardiology, dermatology, and orthopedics.

And, the results.

  • At least occasional use:
    • 57% of cardiologists, 75% of dermatologists and 73% of orthopedists use dietary supplements at least occasionally.
    • Most commonly, a multivitamin
    • But over 25% in each specialty use omega-3 fatty acids and over 20% use botanical supplements.
  • Regular dietary supplement use:
    • 37% of cardiologists, 59% of dermatologists, and 50% of orthopedists
  • Recommendations to patients:
    • 72% of cardiologists, 66% of dermatologists, and 91% of orthopedists recommend dietary supplements to their patients.
    • The primary reasons:
      • Heart health or lowering cholesterol for cardiologists
      • Benefits for skin, hair and nails for dermatologists
      • Bone and joint health for orthopedists

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Reported dietary supplement use was relatively common in this sample of physicians, and when they recommended dietary supplements to patients, they tended to do so for reasons related to their specialty.”

It’s safe to conclude that dietary supplements have a prominant role in their recommendations for patients.

3/5/11 20:29 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.