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The National Office of Dietary Supplements - Free Information

Updated on June 24, 2014
The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health, works to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research r
The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health, works to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research r

Government Support

Dietary supplements are an interesting group of nutritional products that can be confusing in nature and sometimes the foundation of business scams. The National Institutes of Health provide an Office of Dietary Supplements for regulating their use in America and suggesting best practices associated with them. the office provides an online group of related search-able databases and information about current and past research, funding, and even training programs.

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the NIH was founded in 1995 under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (see Public Law 103-417, DSHEA). Thus in 2010, the Office is less than 20 years old and points to an increasing trend in America towards embracing alternative and adjunct methods of enhancing health and wellness in the country. Nutrition, and with it, dietary supplements, are part of this trend that is growing in acceptance and scientific validity,

The ODS Strategic Plan for 2010-2014 is available at their website, just as employment outlook forecasts are available a decade at a time form the Department of Labor. The ODS plan is for increasing and strengthening the body of knowledge about dietary supplements as whole.

An old russian botanical museum in 1917.
An old russian botanical museum in 1917.

National Nutrition Summit

Healthy People 2000 was the first national health initiative plan of the US Surgeon General's Office, with research beginning in the 1990s. Since updated to Healthy People 2020, the plan includes dietary and nutritional goals for all of America. related to that, Michelle Obama's Let's Move program, reflected in the Health Schools Act of Pennsylvania, adds additional momemtum and adjunct material to the health portion of the plan.

Long term nutritional studies were begun by NIH in 1969 with the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. The first related national surveys were conducted in 1971, which led to the Women's, Infant and Children (WIC) Program forming in 1974. The first set of US national dietary guidelines appeared in 1980. A decade later, the Nutrition Labeling, and Education Act passed in 1990, followed by the first Food Pyramid guide in 1992.

In May 2000, the National Nutrition Summit occurred. The second item on the agenda was Nutrition and Lifestyle Approaches to Solving the Nation's Epidemic of Overweight.Some findings are:

"Nearly 55%t of the US adult population was overweight or obese (Body Mass Index: BMI >25) in 1988–1994, compared with 46 percent in 1976–1980. Overweight is observed in children over 6 years of age, in both males and females, and in all subpopulations...Research aimed at understanding basic mechanisms in the development of obesity, developing the most effective interventions, and translating this knowledge into action (including schools, worksites, and communities) will be a necessary component."

Effective use of dietary supplements may help to control body weight overall and aide when food intake in reduced during weight-loss programs. The ODH provides some healpfull pages on its website for using supplements:

  • Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database - Data gathering begun n 2004
  • Adult Multivitamin/Mineral (MVM) Calculator
  • Additional priorities - Antacids, calcium supplements, other single and multi-mineral supplements, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and caffeine products.
  • Dietary Supplement Label Database- Work began in 2001, including records of US dietary supplement usage science 1988. The final database will provide the exact composition of dietary supplements derived from analytical chemical data.
  • CARDS (Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements) - Database on the ODS site that may be searched online.
  • Other

Knoxville TN Botanical Garden (public domain).
Knoxville TN Botanical Garden (public domain).

ODS Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets

Dietary supplement fact sheets are available at the related National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine on a wide range of dietary supplements. This information ranges from data gathered about such diverse supplements as calcium, bitter orange, bovine cartilage, lavender, soy, valerian, zinc, collodal silver, and aloe vera. Several dozen fact sheets are provided, free to download and share. In addition, the NCCAM provides a free document entitled How to Using Supplements Wisely.

As defined unter the 1994 legislation mentioned above, a dietary supplement is product ent other than tobacco that

  1. Is to supplement the diet;
  2. Contains at least 1 dietary ingredient, i.e., vitamins, minerals, herbs, other botanicals, amino acids, and others; or their constituent parts;
  3. Is to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid;
  4. Is labeled on the front panel as "dietary supplement."

In the addition to the above requirements, dietary supplements are not permitted to include advertising or claims that they can diagnose, treat, help, or cure any medical condition or diease.

Botanical models built by George & Paul Marchand; Buffalo NY Museum of Science (public domain).
Botanical models built by George & Paul Marchand; Buffalo NY Museum of Science (public domain).
Beijing Botanical Garden.
Beijing Botanical Garden.

ODS Education and Training Programs

Top school around the country are offering programs to study the usefulness and effects of dietary supplements and other nutritional elements. Some of these schools are:

  • Harvard University-- Omega-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, and glutamine
  • ODS Botanical Research Centers- Iowa State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Purdue University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Arizona, Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LSU, Wake Forest and Brigham and Women's Center for Botanical Lipids, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Research Center for Botanical Immunomodulators.
  • University of Missouri- Phytochemicals relative to prostate cancer.
  • Collaboration of NIH centers- dietary supplements in the metabolic regulation of body weight; dietary supplements in proliferative retinopathy and ocular inflammation; flavonoids, glucose tolerance and vitamin C, supplemental vitamin C in cancer treatment; dietary supplements and diabetes, pregnancy, and sickle cell anemia, and other conditions and processes.

Other training programs, grant funding, practica, seminars, and other learning opportunities are available through the ODS.

Manuals and Guides

Tropical section of a huge Tomsk State University greenhouse in the Russian Empire, 1890s (public domain).
Tropical section of a huge Tomsk State University greenhouse in the Russian Empire, 1890s (public domain).


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    • profile image

      Royal Jelly 7 years ago

      never knew that there was a government office focused on regulating the use of supplements thanks for the in-depth info very helpful hub, I would look into their ODS Strategic Plan thanks again

    • pakpub profile image

      pakpub 7 years ago from Ohio

      Very informative hub.

    • profile image

      caretakerray 7 years ago

      Patty Inglish, MS:

      Great hub. Very well researched. While I do perfer to get my nutrition from the foods I eat, supplements are very useful. thanx for the info :)


    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      Very useful information, thanks

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for all the comments, posts, and ratings!

      This ODS office can be useful to us imo. I think the fact sheets make a good start in investigating botanical supplements, especially. Check your local towns for workshops in herbalism and botanicals; Southern Ohio has quite a few, and sometimes Whole Foods or other natural foods grocery chains have them in their community meeting rooms. Some community centers offer enrishment clases that include these workshops too. The ideas are spreading and helping reduce healthcare costs I think.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      Patty - Plenty of research work shown here, plus some very nice photos you located and presented. Good work that suplemented useful thought and keyboarding.

      Gus :-)))

    • samboiam profile image

      samboiam 7 years ago from Texas

      Very informative and well written. Greaat job.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Great information. Good hub.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      Patty - There is a wealth of information in this hub. You have done some tremendous research.

      I never knew about ODS, the online search-able database and / or the dietary supplement fact sheets that are available at the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.

      There hub is packed with so much valuable information and so very well written.

      Great Job, Rated Up and bookmarked.