Dietary supplements include a wide variety of substances such as vitamins, minerals, tonics, herbal extracts, amino acids required in milligram to microgram quantities which are added to complete a diet or to make up for a dietary deficiency.
Dietary supplements have gained popularity in recent times due to their wide demand as well branding and marketing.The aim is to study the economic effectiveness of dietary supplements and to check if the consumers are influenced by the advertisements and publicity of these supplements.
Designing of the survey: An online survey was designed with the help of Google docs® which was circulated online in
Mumbai via emails, social networking platforms like Facebook®, Blackberry messenger® and Whatsapp messenger®. The survey consisted of 21 simple questions which enquired the usage, effectiveness and the economic feasibility of dietary supplements. Some questions were made mandatory and multiple answer selection was allowed in some question.
Analysis of the survey
The survey (ongoing) consisted of 500 people of the age brackets under 21 years, 21-35, 36-50, 51-60 and above.60 The responses recorded were available in ready to use format from Google docs. Theoretical information and values: The details of recommended daily values(Daily Value: DV is developed by the USFDA to help consumers determine the level of various nutrients in standard serving of food in relation to approximate requirement for it) of various vitamins and minerals were obtained from the National Institute of Health science, United States. Sources, Potential interactions, complications of these dietary supplements were converted into tabular format for comparison and correlation. Some of the available branded products were also analysed theoretically for their prices and contents.
Evaluation of the survey
The bar graphs, pie charts obtained from the survey were then correlated to the objective of the study to draw out
reasonable inferences and conclusions.
Results and discussion: The following pie charts and bar graphs based on the survey conducted help to interpret the results that follow.
The figure below illustrates the various daily recommended values and possible potential interactions of other drugs with dietary supplements.
B)Awareness, Usage & Effectiveness
Consumers who were prescribed a planned dietary supplement regime by a health care professional (which they
followed diligently) reaped maximum benefits.29% of the target population highly benefitted from self-prescription and 24% found the supplements to be slightly helpful after self-prescription. It is essential to emphasise the necessity to avoid such self-prescription since almost every supplement has potential interactions with allopathic drugs which the common man is unaware of.
Most of the populace (44%) were highly benefited from regular consumption of dietary supplements. Since the impact of advertisements was negligible and using supplements contributes to their daily expenditure, it is essential to optimize the prices and use of the healthcare products with the help of pharmacoeconomics. Conscious efforts should be made to educate the consumers about the effects and adverse effects of supplements..