Image for Supplement Use May Be Common Among Korean Children
Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
July 2012

Supplement Use May Be Common Among Korean Children

Many Korean children take dietary supplements and may more likely do so depending on age, household income status, and meal and snack consumption frequency, a study reports.

A total of 6,313 Koreans between the ages of two and 18 participated in the analysis. Based on answers to questionnaires, the researchers looked at the link between dietary supplement use and a number of factors to determine if they affected the subjects' nutritional intake.

The results showed that 34 percent of the children studied regularly took dietary supplements. Those who were younger, came from higher income households, had chronic diseases, ate regular meals and frequent snacks, and were of normal body weight were more likely to take supplements. Two commonly used supplements were omega-3 and ginseng.

The researchers concluded that dietary supplement use is relatively common among young Koreans and is associated with a number of factors, including age, income and body weight. More studies are needed to further confirm these associations.

Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant and nut oils. Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while some nuts (such as English walnuts) and vegetable oils (such as canola, soybean, flaxseed, linseed, and olive oils) contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

The word "ginseng" is derived from ren-shen, the Chinese word for the plant, which means "essence of the earth in the form of a man" or "man-root," referring to the root's human-like shape.

Panax ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for more than 2,000 years. Its diverse uses include increasing appetite and strength, enhancing memory and physical performance, reducing fatigue and stress, and improving overall quality of life. Shengmai (also called shenmai) is a combination of Panax ginseng, Schisandra fruit, and Ophiopogon japonicus that has also been used in TCM to treat conditions such as coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

For more information about omega-3 or ginseng, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Yoon JY, Park HA, Kang JH, et al. Prevalence of dietary supplement use in Korean children and adolescents: insights from Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2009. J Korean Med Sci. 2012 May;27(5):512-7. Epub 2012 Apr 25. View Abstract
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.