Dietary supplementation in cancer patients: a personal view of current status and future perspectives

The use of dietary supplements has increased over time in western countries [1,2]. The analysis of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative database, has shown that in 1971–1974, age-adjusted prevalence of dietary supplement use was 28 and 38% among males and females, respectively; in 1976–1980, adult supplement prevalence rates increased to 32% among males and 43% among females [1]. At the last analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, which referred to the period 2003–2006, it was documented that 49% of the US population (44% of males and 53% of females) used dietary supplementation [1]. Multi-vitamin/-mineral supplementation was the most frequently reported dietary supplement (33%). The majority of people were reported to take only one dietary supplement, on a daily basis. Overall, similar figures were reported in Europe [2]. Dietary supplementation is also highly used by cancer patients, with the aim of improving nutritional status and quality of life [3–5].

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