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Title: Usage of plant food supplements across six european countries: Findings from the PlantLIBRA consumer survey
Authors: Garcia-Alvarez, Alicia
Egan, Bernadette
De Klein, Simone
Dima, Lorena
Maggi, Franco M.
Isoniemi, Merja
Ribas-Barba, Lourdes
Raats, Monique M.
Meissner, Eva Melanie
Badea, Mihaela
Bruno, Flavia
Salmenhaara, Maija
Milà-Villarroel, Raimon
Knaze, Viktoria
Hodgkins, Charo
Marculescu, Angela
Uusitalo, Liisa
Restani, Patrizia
Serra-Majem, Lluís 
UNESCO Clasification: 3206 Ciencias de la nutrición
3309 Tecnología de los alimentos
611406 Comportamiento del consumidor
Keywords: National-Health
Alternative Medicine
Herbal Supplements, et al
Issue Date: 2014
Journal: PLoS ONE 
Abstract: Background: The popularity of botanical products is on the rise in Europe, with consumers using them to complement their diets or to maintain health, and products are taken in many different forms (e. g. teas, juices, herbal medicinal products, plant food supplements (PFS)). However there is a scarcity of data on the usage of such products at European level.Objective: To provide an overview of the characteristics and usage patterns of PFS consumers in six European countries.Design: Data on PFS usage were collected in a cross-sectional, retrospective survey of PFS consumers using a bespoke frequency of PFS usage questionnaire.Subjects/setting: A total sample of 2359 adult PFS consumers from Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.Data analyses: Descriptive analyses were conducted, with all data stratified by gender, age, and country. Absolute frequencies, percentages and 95% confidence intervals are reported.Results: Overall, an estimated 18.8% of screened survey respondents used at least one PFS. Characteristics of PFS consumers included being older, well-educated, never having smoked and self-reporting health status as "good or very good". Across countries, 491 different botanicals were identified in the PFS products used, with Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo), Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose) and Cynara scolymus (Artichoke) being most frequently reported; the most popular dose forms were capsules and pills/tablets. Most consumers used one product and half of all users took single-botanical products. Some results varied across countries.Conclusions: The PlantLIBRA consumer survey is unique in reporting on usage patterns of PFS consumers in six European countries. The survey highlights the complexity of measuring the intake of such products, particularly at pan-European level. Incorporating measures of the intake of botanicals in national dietary surveys would provide much-needed data for comprehensive risk and benefit assessments at the European level.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092265
Source: Plos One [ISSN 1932-6203], v. 9 (3), e92265, (Marzo 2014)
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