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Original Article

IJMDC. 2024; 8(2): 523-530

Dietary supplement use among medical students at the University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Suliman Alatawi, Nouf Obaidullah Alanazi, Bayan Mujahid Kaby, Ashwaq Nafea O. Alanazi, Nawal Mohammed Alanazi, Hamdah Hnef Alanazi, Nouf Ali S Alatawi, Rafeef Fahad Aljuhani, Shatha Bakheet N. Alotaibi, Rahf Mohammed Alqarni, Walaa Fahad Aljuhani.


To estimate the prevalence and assess the awareness and attitude regarding dietary supplement usage among medical students and interns of Tabuk University and to explore the associations between dietary supplement usage and the participants’ gender, age, and academic year.
This cross-sectional study was conducted among male and female medical students and interns aged 18 years and above at the University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, from June to the end of July, 2021. Data were obtained from the study participants through an online, self-administered questionnaire.
The prevalence of dietary supplement usage among the participants was 50%. There were no significant associations between nutritional supplement use and the gender, age, or academic level of the study group (all p-values > 0.05.). Common reasons for using dietary supplements were promoting general health (30.9%) and nutritional deficiencies (29.3%). The described adverse effects of dietary supplements comprised sleeplessness, heart palpitations, seizure, and shortness of breath (12.5%, 10.3%, 4.4%, and 2.1%, respectively), and a more significant number (70.7%) reported other harmful effects. Higher percentage of the participants thought that using dietary supplements is good for their health (80.7%) and necessary for food metabolism (78.7%).
There was a relatively high prevalence of dietary supplement use among medical students and interns at the University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. The medical students and interns had a positive attitude towards using dietary supplements. However, the self-reported knowledge about the dosage, side effects, and interactions with concomitantly used drugs was limited.

Key words: Dietary supplement, medical student, prevalence, knowledge, attitude.

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