Your Health: 11-20-12 Taking supplements - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: 11-20-12 Taking supplements

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A new survey estimates that one in seven people in the United States regularly takes supplements, that aren't vitamins or minerals; but, only 30 percent of them have had a doctor or nurse recommend supplements.

These supplements include fish oil, echinacea or ginseng, to name a few.

The survey by Harvard School of Public Health researchers found about one-third of supplement users have not alerted their doctor, even though they may take the drug for a potentially serious health issue, such as high blood pressure, arthritis or depression.

Researchers say, doctors need to be aware that people are using supplements as one form of treatment.

The most common reasons for taking supplements were to feel better, to improve energy and to boost the immune system.

Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents reported taking supplements to treat digestive issues, 26 percent to relieve pain, 21 percent to lower cholesterol, 16 percent for blood pressure, and 12 percent to improve mood or depression.

Fish oil tablets were the most frequently taken supplements.

About one in four respondents said they had taken fish oil or related omega-3 supplements in the past two years.

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