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Complement Ther Med. 2019 Apr;43:196-200. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Pediatric natural health products recommended by chiropractic and naturopathic doctors in Canada.

Author information

CARE Program, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Canada.
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, Canada.
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Toronto, Canada.
Département de Chiropratique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Canada.
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, New Westminster, Canada.
CARE Program, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Canada. Electronic address:



To assess chiropractic (DC) and naturopathic doctors' (ND) pediatric care natural health product (NHP) recommendations.


Surveys were developed in collaboration with DC and ND educators, and delivered as an on-line national survey. NHP dose, form of delivery, and indications across pediatric age ranges (from newborn to 16 years) for each practitioner's top five NHPs were assessed. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, and non-parametric tests.


Of the 421 respondents seeing one or more pediatric patients per week, 172 (41%, 107 DCs, 65 NDs) provided 440 NHP recommendations, categorized as: vitamins and minerals (89 practitioners, 127 recommendations), probiotics (110 practitioners, 110 recommendations), essential fatty acids (EFAs: 72 practitioners, 72 recommendations), homeopathics (56 practitioners, 66 recommendations), botanicals (29 practitioners, 31 recommendations), and other NHPs (33 practitioners, 34 recommendations). Indications for the NHP recommendations were tabulated for NHPs with 10 or more recommendations in any age category: 596 total indications for probiotics, 318 indications for essential fatty acids, 138 indications for vitamin D, and 71 indications for multi-vitamins.


This is the first study documenting the pediatric NHP recommendations of two popular complementary medicine professions. Common NHPs at standard doses are the most frequently recommended products, with use and doses adjusted according to age. High-quality evidence regarding the efficacy, safety, and dosing for NHP use in children is scarce; development of evidence-informed pediatric guidelines is recommended, particularly for the most commonly used and recommended NHPs.


Chiropractic; Complementary medicine; Integrative medicine; Natural health products; Naturopathy; Pediatrics; Survey


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