The Truth About Supplements

Truth About Supplements

February 2018

South Nassau Truth In Medicine Poll: Many Report Taking Supplements in Attempt to Prevent Cold, Flu but 39 Percent of Those Still Avoid Flu Shot

  • Vitamin C Overwhelming Choice to Ward Off Infection
  • Nearly One-Third do not Inform Their Doctors of Supplement Use

Almost half of metro area New Yorkers surveyed in a new poll report taking unregulated dietary supplements such as vitamins, essential oils and probiotics- some in attempt to ward off colds and the flu - but 39 percent of those who take supplements for that purpose have not had a flu shot, according to South Nassau’s latest Truth in Medicine Poll.

The flu shot is considered the single best preventive method against the flu, a sometimes-deadly disease. “Benefit from cold supplements have never been truly proven to help boost your immunity against colds, whereas flu vaccine is proven to prevent the flu,” said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, South Nassau’s Department of Medicine Chair and Hospital Epidemiologist, who also is a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Other key findings from the poll include:

  • Some 44 percent of respondents who take supplements reported spending more than $25 per month on these supplements
  • More than 70 percent of those who take supplements to fight cold and flu act on their own – often on the recommendation from a friend or family member, rather than a doctor.
  • Nearly a third do not inform their doctors about their supplement use.
  • Some 15 percent said that advertising prompted them to take a supplement to ward off colds and flu.

The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, is a quarterly survey of 600 Long Island and New York City residents that aims to gather data about public attitudes on key public health topics and help spur public education to improve public health.

South Nassau 'Truth in Medicine' Poll: Many Report Taking Supplements in Attempt to Prevent Cold, Flu but 39 Percent of Those Still Avoid Flu Shot

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