Sunday, May 02, 2021

Honey Most Commonly Used Dietary Supplement Used in Saudi Arabia During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia:
A Cross-Sectional Online Survey

Objectives: The utilization rate of herbal and dietary supplements among the Saudi population is reported to be high. However, the utilization rate and types of herbal and dietary supplements during the COVID-19 pandemic are largely unknown.

Methods: This was an online questionnaire-based cross-sectional study that used convenience sampling and social media platforms (Telegram®, Twitter®, and WhatsApp®) to disseminate a 12-item questionnaire across the Saudi general public aged 18 years and above. The questionnaire inquired about the sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, gender, education, geographical location), presence of chronic health conditions and the use of prescription medications, awareness of the viral nature of COVID-19 infection and its common symptoms, and the commonly utilized herbal and/or dietary supplements.

Results: Sixty-four percent of the 1473 participants reported using herbal and/or dietary supplements for the purpose of boosting their immune system to prevent COVID-19 infection. In addition, 88.2% of the respondents were misinformed about the manifestation of COVID-19 symptoms. Most of the participants were Saudi (91.9%), aged 49 years and younger (83%), female (52%), and healthy (81%). Honey (46%), lemon (45%), ginger (36%), vitamin C (32%), black seed (26%), garlic (26%), and turmeric (19%) were the most commonly used herbal and/or dietary supplements by the participants. Saudi nationals (OR = 1.67, 95% CI: 1.08 to 2.6, p = 0.02), older adults (OR = 1.30, 95% CI:1.10 to 1.55, p = 0.002), and those taking prescription medications had higher odds of using dietary and/or herbal supplements (OR = 3.31, 95% CI: 2.61 to 4.18, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: The utilization rate of herbal and dietary supplements among the Saudi public during the COVID-19 pandemic is high. Future studies should examine the impact of different public awareness campaigns aimed at improving the public knowledge of the risk and benefits associated with the use of different commonly utilized herbal and dietary products identified in this study.

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