Dietary supplement use in adolescents

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Purpose of reviewAs prevalence rates of dietary supplement use are observed to be increasing in adolescents and the population in general, questions need to be asked about the efficacy, motivations, and consequences of such usage. Focusing mainly on individuals between the ages of 12 to 19 (adolescents) this review will highlight current prevalence rates, types of supplements being consumed, reasons for consumption, and concerns regarding physiological, psychological, knowledge transfer, and regulatory aspects of supplement use.Recent findingsStudies have indicated the prevalence of dietary supplement usage by adolescents range from approximately 10% to as high as 74%. Some of the highest rates of usage appear in chronically ill adolescents. Multivitamin and mineral preparations are the most common supplements being consumed; however, many studies indicate that adolescents are using other substances like creatine, herbals, or protein supplements. Some of the most appealing supplements among this age group are those that enhance athletic performance or physical appearance. Recent literature suggests three key moderating factors for supplement use in adolescents: health status, gender, and level of physical activity involvement.SummaryAs the dietary supplement industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry, there is growing pressure, and a subsequent need for research to establish the efficacy and safety of these products particularly for adolescent users. The psychological and educational components of such use cannot be ignored as they play an equally important role in the health and safety of adolescents.

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