According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than half of all U.S. adults are now taking supplements, making the recommendations of a pharmacist extremely valuable. A recent nationwide survey, conducted among U.S. retail pharmacists, found that more than 84 percent of pharmacists receive questions related to confusion about which vitamins to take for certain conditions.
Pharmacists tend to agree that energy is an essential but often overlooked component of good health. The survey revealed that pharmacists are two times more likely to recommend protein-based products compared to caffeine-based products for energy needs. To derive energy from food, nine in 10 pharmacists recommend a B complex vitamin which can help the body maximize nutrients. Taking a B complex vitamin is one easy way to get the daily dose of the many vitamins in the B family.
Given the important role pharmacists play in guiding Americans in their vitamin use, the survey asked pharmacists what they recommend when it comes to additional vitamins and OTC products.
Top OTC Pharmacists' Recommendations:
- To maintain energy, about three in four pharmacists recommend taking an Iron supplement (72 percent) and only 30 percent recommend ginseng.
- Nine in ten are likely to recommend fish oil when it comes to supporting heart health; about two thirds also say they are likely to recommend flaxseed oil for heart health, and half (47 percent) say the same of garlic.
- Nine in 10 recommend certain vitamins and supplements like vitamin D to fill nutrition gaps and the majority of pharmacists also recommended vitamin D for other health issues, including for supporting heart health (77 percent) and for a healthy immune system (79 percent).
- Only about two in five (42 percent) say they are likely to recommend Ginkgo biloba for mental alertness.
- More than four in five (82 percent) say they are likely to recommend cranberry for urinary and immune health.
The majority of pharmacists say product quality is a very important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to recommend a specific brand of vitamin. In fact, two in three pharmacists (67 percent) tell customers to look for the USP seal or other third party certification when selecting vitamins and supplements. Other important factors to consider include product purity (77 percent) and product potency (65 percent).
A 2011 survey conducted by the Pharmacy Times, ranked Nature Made as the number-one pharmacists recommended letter vitamin and fish oil brand.