NIH website lists supplement ingredients

June 27, 2013

About half the adults in the United States regularly take dietary supplements to add nutrients or other ingredients to their diets. But how many know what’s actually in those supplements?

About half the adults in the United States regularly take dietary supplements to add nutrients or other ingredients to their diets. But how many know what’s actually in those supplements?

National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now providing researchers, healthcare professionals, and consumers some of those answers through a new website (www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov) that lists the label ingredients of about 17,000 dietary supplements.

"This database will be of great value to many diverse groups of people, including nutrition researchers, healthcare providers, consumers, and others," said Paul M. Coates, PhD, director of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). “For example, research scientists might use the Dietary Supplement Label Database to determine total nutrient intakes from food and supplements in populations they study."

ODS already provides a mobile app that helps consumers keep track of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products they take. The app also has science-based, reliable information on dietary supplements.

The website/database will allow consumers to conduct a quick search for any ingredient or specific text on a label; to search for dietary ingredients; to search for specific products; to search by supplement manufacturer; and to perform advanced searches using a combination of options.

“The Dietary Supplement Label Database will be updated regularly to incorporate most of the more than 55,000 dietary supplement products in the U.S. marketplace,” said Steven Phillips, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine’s Division of Specialized Information Services.

Phillips noted that hundreds of new dietary supplements are added to the marketplace each year, some are removed, and product formulations and label information are frequently adjusted.

The website/database is a collaboration between ODS and NLM. It receives input from a federal working group on dietary supplements that includes representatives from most NIH institutes and centers, FDA, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Administration for Community Living, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Trade Commission, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards of Technology, and Department of Agriculture.

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