NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — One-in-5 consumers are asking their pharmacists questions about vitamins and supplements, according to a survey of pharmacists that was released Tuesday by Pharmavite.
The survey found that pharmacists estimated they answer questions regarding prescription medications for about half of their customers (51%). By comparison, they estimated they answer questions about OTC products for just 1-in-3 customers (35%) — and when it comes to answering questions about vitamins and supplements, they estimated they do so for 23% of their customers (23%).
Most pharmacists (93%) agreed that taking vitamins and supplements is important for maintaining overall good health. And 85% reported product quality is a very important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to recommend a specific brand of vitamin, topping the list of important factors. The majority of pharmacists also identified product purity (77%) and product potency (65%) as being very important to earn their recommendations.
Two-in-3 (67%) told customers to look for the USP seal or other third-party certification when selecting vitamins and supplements, with half also recommending customers look at the form (56%) and size (46%) of the vitamin or supplement.
Specifically for heart health, 9-in-10 pharmacists recommend fish oil. About two-thirds also reported they were likely to recommend flaxseed oil for heart health and about half (47%) said the same of garlic. For vitamin D, the benefits for which have been featured in several news segments over the past year, 77% of pharmacists also recommend vitamin D to support heart health and 79% recommended it to promote a healthy immune system.