Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 286–290 | Cite as

Vitamin-Mineral Supplementation and Use of Herbal Preparations Among Community-Living Older Adults

  • Jacquelyn McKenzie
  • Heather H. KellerEmail author


Basic information on seniors’ use of supplements is lacking. In this study, a convenience sample of community-living older adults (n=128) was recruited from 10 sites to determine the prevalence, frequency, duration and type of supplement use. Use information, demographics and medical/nutritional history were collected with an interview-administered questionnaire. Supplement use included both vitaminmineral and/or herbal preparations. Average age of participants was 76 years and 73% were female. Users comprised 79.9% of the sample. Vitamin E was the most common vitaminmineral and herbal teas were the most popular herbal preparations. The predominant reason for use was to “improve one’s health”. Initial results suggest that older adults are learning about, using and purchasing these supplements from a variety of sources. With this common use and the concerns over interactions with prescription medications, further work is required to determine if these findings are consistent in a more diverse, randomly selected older Canadian population.


On manque d’information sur l’utilisation des suppléments nutritifs par les personnes âgées. L’étude, fondée sur un échantillon de commodité composé d’adultes âgés vivant dans la communauté (n=128), recrutés à 10 endroits, cherchait à déterminer la prévalence, la fréquence, la nature et la durée d’utilisation des suppléments. Les statistiques d’utilisation, les données démographiques et les antécédents médicaux/nutrition-nels ont été recueillis à l’aide d’un questionnaire d’entrevue. Nous avons considéré comme des suppléments les vitamines/minéraux et les produits à base d’herbes médicinales. Les participants avaient en moyenne 76 ans, et 73 % étaient des femmes. Les utilisateurs représentaient 79,9 % de l’échantillon. La vitamine E était le produit le plus communément utilisé dans la catégorie des vitamines/minéraux, et les tisanes dans la catégorie des produits à base d’herbes médicinales. On utilise principalement les suppléments pour « améliorer sa santé ». Les premiers résultats portent à croire que les adultes âgés font appel à plusieurs sources pour s’informer au sujet des suppléments, les utiliser et en acheter. Étant donné l’usage courant des suppléments et les craintes quant à leurs interactions avec les médicaments sur ordonnance, il faudrait pousser les travaux pour déterminer si les constatations seraient les mêmes dans un groupe plus diversifié de Canadiens âgés sélectionnés au hasard.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Relations and Applied NutritionUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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