Amidst this huge supplements boost in the U.S., clinical experience and scientific literature are key when making recommendations
According to a recent study, nearly half of Americans have begun adding more supplements as a part of their wellness regime, part of an overall huge supplements boost in the U.S. that is not expected to level off post-COVID. So what does or can this mean for you and your practice?
It’s a good time to education your patients about supplements and refer them to ones that may help them and their particular diagnoses.
Jean Carlos Cruz, DC, the clinical director of Capitol Rehab of Annandale and Momentum Rehab clinics, answered questions about supplements and what DCs can do to help patients understand and take the correct ones.
The interview that follows has been edited for length and clarity.
According to a recent study, among a huge supplements boost in the U.S., 43% of patients began taking supplements and vitamins primarily for raising immunity. What does this mean for chiropractors and their businesses?
For chiropractors this is an excellent opportunity to educate patients about the different types of vitamins and supplements on the market and which ones are the most suitable for their patients. This can also help increase the income of their clinics
Having quality products in the clinic is essential to avoid patients buying poor quality products on the internet or in stores.
If chiropractors don’t deal in supplements, should they be?
Before selling supplements in your clinic, it is important to do market research on which are the most reputable companies. As I mentioned before, it is essential to offer our patients the best quality of products in our clinics. For DCs who are interested in educating themselves on the subject, there are several companies in the United States that provide education on the products they sell and the uses of each. Many of these companies provide literature that contains research sources on each product they sell and the scientific basis for why we should recommend them to our patients.
Again, adding these types of products to the clinic is a good way to add new income to our clinics.
What supplements/vitamins help raise immunity?
Over the last year, supplements that help boost the immune system have been a hot topic. Science says that some vitamins, minerals, or herbs have been shown to help boost the immune system. Among the most researched are vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C, and elderberry.
It is very important that DCs evaluate each patient individually, considering their medical history, to determine if any of these supplements is indicated for their patients. In some cases, ordering blood tests may be necessary to identify if the patient is deficient in a vitamin and to determine the appropriate dose.
In the same way, in some cases where the patient suffers from particular health conditions, it is important to consult with other specialists if the use of certain supplements is appropriate for the patient. Recommending vitamins and supplements is not selling the same supplement and the same dose for all patients, since the physiological needs of each person are different. That is why there are different doses of the same supplement.
If patients ask how these supplements/vitamins work to raise immunity, what should DCs focus on?
If the chiropractor decides to sell this type of product in the clinic, it is essential that he/she can answer this question. It is not common for patients to ask this question, but there are always some patients who want to know how the supplement they are using is going to help them improve their health. Many times, supplements help the immune system at the cellular level, therefore the doctor must be ready to answer this question in a simple way. If the DC fails to explain how the supplement will help the patient, it is unlikely that the patient will try it.
In order to educate yourself on how supplements work in the human body, you can search various scientific journals. There are several articles published on how vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and elderberry help improve the immune system. Also, when reputable companies are used to supply our offices with quality products, the companies have representatives who can provide literature to educate our patients.
What are the biggest mistakes people can make when it comes to adding supplements to their diets for these particular conditions?
It is extremely important that the chiropractor evaluate the patient’s medical history before recommending any supplement to the patient. Some of the supplements may interfere with some medications.
Some vitamins in high doses can be toxic to humans, so it is necessary to have enough clinical knowledge about the vitamins and supplements recommended to our patients. Amidst this huge supplements boost in the U.S., clinical experience and scientific literature are key when making vitamin and supplement recommendations.
In some cases, as mentioned previously, it may be necessary to contact other specialists to rule out that certain supplements may cause harm to our patients. Not all supplements are the same, sometimes supplements contain additional / inactive ingredients that can react with some medications.
My recommendation is that DCs offer products that are high quality, pharmaceutical grade, and if you have any questions contact the patient’s primary provider.