Attitude of future healthcare professionals towards food supplements
Introduction: The use of dietary supplements has been observed for many years. Unfortunately, the status of food supplements and main differences between these and drugs remain unknown to most consumers. Objective: The purpose of the study was to analyze the opinions of future healthcare professionals on dietary supplements, their behavior concerning food supplementation, as well as their knowledge on the safety of these products. Methods: The survey was conducted among 354 future healthcare professionals, using a questionnaire composed of 21 items exploring demographic characteristics, knowledge of supplements, reasons for the use of dietary supplement, and recall of the use. Results: All respondents knew that the purpose of using these products is supplementation. A vast majority of respondents (83.9%) thought that a diet with no supplementation is possible or probably possible. 49.4% of respondents (n=175) declared taking food supplements. The most commonly used ones (68.6%) were products recommended during illness and used to improve the condition of skin, hair, and nails. Moreover, dietary supplements mentioned by students included those containing herbal ingredients, such as: Equisetum arvense, Allium sativum, Panax ginseng, and Ginkgo biloba. Most of respondents buy dietary supplements at pharmacies (89.14%). Conclusions: Use of dietary supplements is widespread among students. Future healthcare professionals have a better knowledge on food supplementation than population of Poland in general, however, they still need good education in this matter.