Prevalence of inappropriate dietary supplement use among pregnant women in Japan.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2013; 22(1):83-9.AP
We investigated the characteristics of dietary supplements and their use by 1,076 Japanese pregnant women, the majority of whom were in mid- to late pregnancy. The subjects completed a self-reported survey on their sociodemographic characteristics, supplement use, and attitudes towards diet. The overall prevalence of supplement use did not change before and after pregnancy (75%); however, daily use increased by approximately twofold with pregnancy (20.2% versus 37.2%). After the onset of pregnancy, supplements containing folic acid were taken for fetal health. Daily users were more likely to be older, have a greater awareness of the risk of neural tube defects (NTD), view supplement use as acceptable, have less diet anxiety, and have more advisers regarding diet. Respondents used supplements containing folic acid alone or with other ingredients. Folic acid intake is recommended to reduce the risk of NTD. However, supplement use began after pregnancy recognition, suggesting a lack of knowledge on the appropriate timing of folic acid use. Information about supplements was obtained mostly from newspapers, magazines, flyers, and stores. These results indicate that more accurate information regarding the optimal timing of folic acid intake and the safety of dietary supplements must be disseminated.