Patient interest driving increase in supplement use, naturopathic doctor says

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Naturopathic doctors can play a key role in supporting the use of supplements through their holistic views on health, said Dr. Michelle Simon, PhD, ND, president of Institute of Natural Medicine.

In speaking with NutraIngredients-USA as the recent Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, Dr. Simon said her organization promotes the use of supplements in supporting a patient’s overall health.

“We look at how vitamins and supplements interplay with your physiology,” Dr. Simon said. “We know that in America a lot of the prime diseases are lifestyle-related and we are spending a lot of money on that.

“We also know that nutrient deficiencies are very rampant in America.  We want to make sure the food is as robust and nutrient dense as it can be and in some cases that can be hard to find and that’s where supplements can play a role,” she said.

The Institute of Natural Medicine is a non-profit organization that advocates for the role of naturopathic doctors educated at accredited four-year institutions. The INM’s state role is to transform health care in the U.S. by increasing public awareness of naturopathic medicine and bringing proven natural medicine to patients in need.

Since its founding in 1992, the INM has served naturopathic practitioners and the industry by among other things launching the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges as an independent organization and instituting Naturopathic Medicine Collaborative (NMC) a collaborative approach to funding profession wide priorities such as improved residency experience/access.

Dr. Simon said that naturopathic doctors get most of their information about supplements from continuing education seminars where healthcare practitioners interact with brands that concentrate on that channel.  But she said that the growth of supplementation the further integration of these products into healthcare practices is being driving by the consumers themselves.

“There is a greater interest in managing conditions with non-pharmacological approaches,” Dr. Simon said. “Sometimes [drugs] are necessary, and we support that, but it is not always the first step.”

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