Use of Supplements in Puerto Rican Older Adults Residing in an Elderly Project

Enid J. Olivera, Cristina Palacios


Objective: There has been a notable increase in the use of nutritional supplements in elders. Studies indicate that there may be a health risk in this population associated with the possible interactions of supplements with medications. Objective: Explore the profile of use of nutritional supplements in the elderly and the possible health risks from the concurrent use of certain supplements and medications. Methods: This was an exploratory cross-sectional study in a convenient sample of 130 subjects aged 60 years and older. The data was collected using a previously validated questionnaire. Chi2 was used to associate the use of supplements by demographics and health information and Spearman correlation to establish the relationship between the number of nutritional supplements, medications used and health conditions reported. Results: About 63% of the subjects were women. Women used more supplements compared to men (p < 0.05). Most common supplements used were multivitamins and calcium. Non vitamin non mineral (NVNM) supplements use was low and the most used were garlic, chondroitin, glucosamine, and ginger. The conditions most related to the use of supplements were hypertension and arthritis. There was a significant correlation between the number of nutritional supplements with number of medications (R=0.27; p < 0.01) and number of health conditions (R=0.31; p < 0.01). There were 8 possible health risks associated with the use of NVNM together with anticoagulants and antidiabetics. Conclusion: Supplement use was higher in women and in participants with hypertension and arthritis, with some potential risks to health between the use of certain NVNM and medications.


Dietary supplements; Elderly; Health Risks

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