Continuing Medical Education on Nutritional Supplements: Breaking Through Ignorance and Indifference

Authors: Victor S. Sierpina, MD


In the United States, the supplement business grew at a 5% rate to $22.4 billion in 2006.1 Public use of dietary supplements and herbs is indisputably a huge factor in contemporary medical practice. Perhaps the most concerning statement in the article in this issue by Ashar et al,2 “Medical Residents’ Knowledge of Dietary Supplements,” was “that practicing physicians lack knowledge in these areas and rarely investigate supplements that they may not be familiar with.”

This content is limited to qualifying members.

Existing members, please login first.

If you have an existing account please login now to access this article or view your purchase options.

Purchase only this article ($15)

Create a free account, then purchase this article to download or access it online for 24 hours.

Purchase an SMJ online subscription ($75)

Create a free account, then purchase a subscription to get complete access to all articles for a full year.

Purchase a membership plan (fees vary)

Premium members can access all articles plus recieve many more benefits. View all membership plans and benefit packages.


1. 2007 Nutrition industry overview. Nutr Bus J 2007;7/8:1–13.
2. Ashar BH, Rice TN, Sisson SD. Medical residents’ knowledge of dietary supplements. South Med J 2008;996–1000.
3. Hall J, Bulik R, Sierpina V. Community preceptors’ attitudes toward and practices of complementary and alternative medicine: a Texas survey. Tex Med 2003;99:50–53.
4. Lebensohn P, Benn R, Sierpina V, et al. Integrative medicine in residency: results of a needs assessment from 8 family medicine residency programs (abstract accepted). International Society of Complementary Medicine Research Sydney, Australia, March-April, 2008.
5. Kemper KJ, Dirkse D, Eadie D, et al. What do clinicians want? Interest in integrative health services at a North Carolina academic medical center. BMC Complement Altern Med 2007;7:5.
6. Kemper KJ, Gardiner P, Woods C. Changes in use of herbs and dietary supplements (HDS) among clinicians enrolled in an online curriculum. BMC Complement Altern Med 2007;7:21.
7. Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. Philadelphia, Saunders, 2007.
8. Sierpina V. Integrative Healthcare: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Whole Person. Philadelphia, FA Davis, 2001.
9. Thies F, Garry JM, Yaqoob P, et al. Association of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with stability of atherosclerotic plaques: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2003;361:477–485.
10. Harper. Beyond the Mediterranean diet: the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of CAD. Prev Cardiol 2003;6:134–146.
11. Rakel DP, Rindfleisch A. Inflammation: nutritional, botanical, and mind-body influences. South Med J 2005;98:303–310.