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J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Dec;106(12):1966-74.

Dietary supplements in a national survey: Prevalence of use and reports of adverse events.

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Epidemiology Team, Office of Scientific Analysis and Support, College Park, MD 20740, USA.



To examine information collected from the 2002 Health and Diet Survey regarding the use dietary supplements and self-reported health problems that the survey participants believed were related to dietary supplements.


The US Food and Drug Administration sponsors a Health and Diet Survey to track trends of consumer awareness, attitudes, and practices related to health and diet issues. By telephone, the 2002 Health and Diet Survey staff interviewed English-speaking noninstitutionalized adults aged 18 years or older in households in the 50 states and District of Columbia. Survey respondents were queried as to whether or not they had taken a dietary supplement during the past year and if they had experienced any health problem that they attributed to supplement use.


Seventy-three percent of US noninstitutionalized adults aged 18 years or older who spoke English and resided in households with telephones used a dietary supplement in the previous 12 months and 4% of them had experienced an adverse event that they believed might be related to dietary supplement use. Eighty-five percent of supplement users reported taking multivitamins/multiminerals and 13.3% of adverse events reported were attributed to multivitamins/multiminerals. A higher proportion of supplement users with adverse events than users without adverse events were concurrently taking supplements and prescription drugs or were taking supplements instead of prescription drug to treat or prevent a health condition.


This self-reported data describes the prevalence of supplement use and related adverse events. Multivitamins/multiminerals accounted for much of the supplements use and was attributed to a little more than 10% of the adverse events reported. Food and nutrition-professionals and other health care professionals should take special care to learn about their patients' use of these products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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