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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 329-332

A survey of multivitamin supplement knowledge, attitude, and use in the urban community of Bikaner, Rajasthan

1 Department of Pharmacology, Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, Pacific Medical College and Hospital, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Web Publication18-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Savita Saini
Plot No-C/21, Gyansarovar Colony, Kota, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: Nil., Conflict of Interest: There are no conflicts of interest.

DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.165743

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Background and Objective: Over the last two decades, there has been a trend for people to supplement their nutritional intake with dietary supplements including multivitamins, which are also commonly prescribed as a concomitant medication. We conducted a community-based survey in an urban population to assess consumers' knowledge, practices, and attitudes regarding multivitamin supplements. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted from November 2013 to April 2014 among 500 participants residing in urban areas of Bikaner (Rajasthan). The data were collected in a predesigned questionnaire after obtaining written informed consent from each participant. Results: The survey results showed that the taking of multivitamin supplements is quite prevalent (64.2%) in the community of urban areas of Bikaner. Physicians were found to be the most common source of information regarding multivitamins; however, consumers do get the information from the internet, newspaper, and relatives also. Multiple reasons were quoted for the practice of multivitamins such as maintenance of general health, compensation for the deficiencies, etc. The majority of the respondents were unaware of the correct indications for use of vitamin supplements and had little knowledge of harmful effects. Conclusion: This survey in an urban population highlights that the multivitamin supplements are commonly taken on a daily basis. Most consumers are unaware of any possible side-effects or drug-supplement interactions. There is a continuing need to adopt certain educational interventions for physicians to update and disseminate knowledge of vitamin supplements to their patients and also to increase awareness regarding their correct usage.

Keywords: Multivitamin supplements, over-the-counter medication, urban area

How to cite this article:
Saini S, Hasan N. A survey of multivitamin supplement knowledge, attitude, and use in the urban community of Bikaner, Rajasthan. CHRISMED J Health Res 2015;2:329-32

How to cite this URL:
Saini S, Hasan N. A survey of multivitamin supplement knowledge, attitude, and use in the urban community of Bikaner, Rajasthan. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Oct 22];2:329-32. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2015/2/4/329/165743

  Introduction Top

Dietary supplements, including multivitamins are often taken by healthy people to compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle, for supplementing nutrition or in an attempt to enhance health and performance. Multivitamin supplements are also commonly prescribed by physicians as a concomitant medication for mild to severe chronic illness.[1]

In the past few decades, the use of dietary supplements, including multivitamins has increased substantially. Increasing health awareness, education, and easy availability of multivitamin supplements as over the counter agents are important reasons for their widespread use.[2]

Since the establishment of National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 1998, there has been increased information availability concerning the appropriate use and place in therapy of dietary supplements; however not all information has been positive. In a randomized controlled trial conducted in USA by Sesso et al. it was found that daily multivitamin supplement use did not reduce cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction or stroke in men.[3] The hidden and growing phenomenon of vitamin supplement polypharmacy poses a significant public health problem and may place some population at greater risk of clinical complications arising from adverse drug reactions or interactions.[4]

There is paucity of studies in India on this issue; therefore, we conducted this survey to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and use of multivitamin supplements in the community of urban areas of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India.

  Materials and Methods Top

A descriptive cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted from November 2013 to April 2014 among the people living in urban areas of Bikaner, Rajasthan. The study was approved by the institutional ethics committee.

Inclusion criteria

  • Men/women between the age 18 and 65 years
  • People voluntarily giving consent.

Exclusion criteria

  • Persons working in the health sector at any level.

To calculate the sample size, the participants were recruited randomly on the basis that they passed the inclusion criteria.

A total of 500 subjects from different groups like a government employee, students, and employee of the private sector were enrolled randomly, and the purpose of the survey was explained to them.

After obtaining the written informed consent, the information was collected in a self-designed questionnaire containing two sections. Thefirst section included the questions regarding the sociodemographic information. The second section consisted of questions-related to awareness of vitamin supplements, sources of information, reasons, and frequency of vitamin supplement usage.

Statistical analysis

At the end of the survey, data were compiled in Microsoft excel program (Indostat software) and expressed as counts and percentages.

  Results Top

Of the 500 study participants, 210 were males (42%) and 290 were females (58%). The demographics of the respondents are presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographics of survey participants (n=500)

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The findings of this study showed that the majority (64.2%) of the participants were users of multivitamin supplements. Physicians were found to be the most common source of information regarding multivitamins (54.8%), however, participants do get the information from the newspaper, internet and relatives also [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Sources of information regarding multivitamins

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Multiple reasons were quoted for the practice of multivitamins, and the maintenance of general health was found to be the most frequently cited reason [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Reasons for the practice of multivitamin supplements

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The survey findings are presented in [Table 2] regarding the knowledge, attitudes, and use of multivitamins.
Table 2: Multivitamin supplement knowledge, attitudes and use among study participants (n=500)

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  Discussion Top

The results of our survey depicted that the practice of multivitamin supplements is quite prevalent (64.2%) in the community of urban areas of Bikaner. Our findings are quite comparable with those of a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.[5],[6] Likewise, a study conducted by Reinert et al. reported that about 40% of the population were consumers of vitamin or mineral supplements.[7]

Similar to previous studies, in this survey also multiple reasons were mentioned by the participants for using vitamin supplements.[8],[9],[10] In the current survey, most of the respondents received knowledge about the multivitamin supplements from their physician (54.8%). However, participants do get the information from the internet, newspaper, and relatives also. This finding is in accordance with the research by Leah et al.[11]

Nutrient composition of multivitamins is extremely variable which can lead to excessive use and hence possible adverse effects. A research conducted by Chugh and Lhama in India found that the majority of the supplements available in the market contained nutrient amounts higher than the recommended dietary intakes.[12],[13]

In the present survey, more than half of the participants (62%) reported the consumption of vitamin supplements on a daily basis. Similar results were reported by Mary et al. where 44.6% of the participants took one supplement daily. Vitamin supplements are presumed to be safe and are freely available without a prescription to all.[14],[15] Around ½ (55.8%) of the respondents in our survey reported to be unaware of the harmful effects of vitamin supplements. Ignorance of the consumers regarding potential adverse effects reflects their false belief that these medications are safe.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kaushansky K, Kipps TJ. Hematopoietic agents: Growth factors, minerals and vitamins. In: Brunton LL, editor. Gooodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 12th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, Medical Publishing Division; 2011. p. 1067-99.  Back to cited text no. 1
Mileva-Peceva R, Zafirova-Ivanovska B, Milev M, Bogdanovska A, Pawlak R. Socio-demographic predictors and reasons for vitamin and/or mineral food supplement use in a group of outpatients in Skopje. Prilozi 2011;32:127-39.  Back to cited text no. 2
Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, Smith JP, MacFadyen J, Schvartz M, et al. Multivitamins in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: The Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2012;308:1751-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kennedy J, Wang CC, Wu CH. Patient Disclosure about herb and supplement use among adults in the US. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2008;5:451-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Lentino CV, Dwyer JT, Engel JS, Thomas PR, et al. Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003-2006. J Nutr 2011;141:261-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Gahche J, Bailey R, Burt V, Hughes J, Yetley E, Dwyer J, et al. Dietary supplement use among U.S. adults has increased since NHANES III (1988-1994). NCHS Data Brief 2011;61:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Reinert A, Rohrmann S, Becker N, Linseisen J. Lifestyle and diet in people using dietary supplements: A German cohort study. Eur J Nutr 2007;46:165-73.  Back to cited text no. 7
Dickinson A, Shao A, Boyon N, Franco JC. Use of dietary supplements by cardiologists, dermatologists and orthopedists: Report of a survey. Nutr J 2011;10:20.  Back to cited text no. 8
Neuhouser ML. Dietary supplement use by American women: Challenges in assessing patterns of use, motives and costs. J Nutr 2003;133:1992S-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Eldridge AL, Sheenan ET. Food supplement use and related beliefs: Survey of community college students. J Nutr Educ 1994;26:259-65.  Back to cited text no. 10
Ferrucci LM, McCorkle R, Smith T, Stein KD, Cartmel B. Factors related to the use of dietary supplements by cancer survivors. J Altern Complement Med 2009;15:673-80.  Back to cited text no. 11
Park SY, Murphy SP, Martin CL, Kolonel LN. Nutrient intake from multivitamin/mineral supplements is similar among users from five ethnic groups: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. J Am Diet Assoc 2008;108:529-33.  Back to cited text no. 12
Chugh PK, Lhamo Y. An assessment of vitamin supplements in the Indian market. Indian J Pharm Sci 2012;74:469-73.  Back to cited text no. 13
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Picciano MF, McGuire MK. Use of dietary supplements by pregnant and lactating women in North America. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:663S-7.  Back to cited text no. 14
Cassileth BR, Heitzer M, Wesa K. The public health impact of herbs and nutritional supplements. Pharm Biol 2009;47:761-67.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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