30% users consume multivitamins without doc's advice in city: study

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2014 21:28 IST

A large number of people in the city are using multivitamins without the doctor's prescription, a recent study published in the International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research reveals.

According to the survey which was conducted on 120 people by the pharmacology department of Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, found that around 68.33% of people were using multivitamin supplements.

Around 30% of the users were consuming them without the doctor's prescription.

The study found that 69.5% participants consumed multivitamin supplements on the advice of doctors, 18.2% prescribed themselves while 12.1% relied on the advice of family or friends.

Among the users, 70.96% considered such supplements to be helpful, the study found. The users attributed several reasons behind this.

Among them were maintenance of general health (55%), doing away with weakness or fatigue (20%), improving appetite (15%) etc.

"Majority of the participants were unaware of the correct indications for the multivitamin supplements. About awareness of their natural ingredients of these vitamins, 76% showed ignorance," the study observed.

The study also observed that this is more of a problem in a country like India where there is wide availability of supplements without the physician's prescription, which can clearly lead to excessive use of vitamins and hence possible adverse effects on health.

The study suggested that multivitamin use is quite prevalent and the majority of the participants are not aware of any possible harm or drug interactions.

"In the light of this, there is a need to adopt certain educational interventions to minimise self-directed supplement use and increase awareness regarding their correct usage," the study observed.

Possible side-effects of multivitamins:

* Nutrient composition of various multivitamins varies which can lead to excessive use in some cases
* Majority of supplements available in the market contain nutrients higher than the recommended dietary intake
* Alpha tocopherol can increase risk of hemorrhagic stroke
* Vitamin E supplements can increase the risk of prostate cancer among healthy people
* Even high doses of vitamin C can result in gastric trouble

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