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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCCAM Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

Children and Dietary Supplements

Septiembre 2012
A doctor looks at a child patient while the mother observes.

Research has shown that many children use herbs and other dietary supplements. However, there are little data available on their safety and effectiveness in children. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) gathered information on use of complementary health practices among more than 9,000 children younger than 18. Nearly 12 percent of the children had used some form of a complementary health practice during the past 12 months. In addition to herbs and dietary supplements, children use a wide range of complementary health approaches, including spinal manipulation and yoga.

Further, a 2001 survey of 745 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 87 percent of pediatricians had been asked about complementary health practices by a patient or a parent in the 3 months prior to the survey. The pediatricians in the survey were asked most often about herbs and dietary supplements.

This issue provides information about scope of use of complementary health practices by children, safety, and how to discuss complementary health approaches with your patients.

Time to Talk Tips: 5 Things To Know About Dietary Supplements and Children

Read more about what the science says

Clinical Guidelines

Scientific Literature

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NCCAM Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS. NCCAM Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov. NCCAM is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

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