Nearly three in four doctors and nurses (72 percent) take supplements, according to the Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, which surveyed about 1,200 primary care physicians, obstetrician/gynecologists, physician specialists, and nurses and nurse practitioners. Among health care professionals who use supplements, 87 percent take a multi-vitamin, 78 percent take vitamin C, 63 percent take B vitamins, 59 percent take vitamin D, 58 percent take vitamin E and 58 percent take calcium. The survey also found nearly four in five doctors (79 percent) recommend supplements to their patients. The five top reasons doctors recommend supplements are: overall health and well-being, bones, joints, heart and cholesterol.
Doctors know the brain needs vitamins and minerals to work well and in one study, wanted to see if a daily supplement improved mental ability in children. Over 12 weeks, 81 healthy kids, aged 8 to 14, without food allergies, took a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement or a placebo. On the first and last days of the study, one hour before the daily dose and one and three hours afterward, researchers measured the speed and accuracy of attention and tested memory and mood. They found that attention improved in the multi-vitamin / mineral group three hours after the first dose on the first day. Study authors remarked, “The most surprising facet of the improvement in attention task performance seen here is that it became evident by three hours post-dose on the first day.” Researchers noted that this is the first study to test if supplements have an immediate effect on behavior.
Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; 2008, Vol. 100, No. 5, 1086-96.