New research has revealed the growing trend of people taking important health and well-being advice from unreliable sources.

Almost 4 in 10 people would choose to go online to seek advice on their own health and wellbeing and around 1 in 20 Brits have admitted they would turn to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter for advice on health issues.

While there are many reliable sites offering health and nutritional information, it can be easy to take the wrong advice.

The research, commissioned by Viridian Nutrition, also revealed that more than 1 in 3 people surveyed said they would go to their doctor for medical advice, only 1 in 4 claimed they would take advice from their local specialist health food store.

Jeff Martin is Managing Director of As Nature Intended, and he said health food stores are good sources of reliable health information, ‘People coming into health food stores and asking for health advice is a cornerstone of what we’re about. If people came in and saw me earlier they would have got a resolution to whatever problem they had a lot quicker’.

A further survey from the Health Food Manufacturer’s Association also revealed that, of the 10,000 adults questioned, 40% said they don’t think they have access to enough information on vitamin supplements.

Medications (PD)The research also revealed that around 55% of the UKs population now take food supplements (a 9% rise over the past two years) and that almost 1 in 4 people get the majority of their information about vitamin supplements from the box or packaging they come in.

We also spoke to Nutritionist and Lecturer Ben Brown, ‘In terms of the reliability of health information there are a number of different potential consequences. One of the more obvious ones is misdiagnosis – you may have something that seems like a garden variety headache but it could be more serious and the same is true for diet and nutrition information.

‘You could be following something that’s potentially misguided and unhealthy in the long term. If you’re looking for general diet and lifestyle advice and in particular advice on natural products, it’s much better to get off the internet and get into your local independent health food store and speak to someone there’.

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