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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

NIH Launches Dietary Supplement Label Database for Web and Smartphone App

Searchable online collection contains product information and ingredients from over 17,000 labels of dietary supplements sold in U.S.

June 18, 2013 – People interested in more information about the dietary supplements they take – or those they are considering – will now have a reliable, trusted online website to check the ingredients listed on the labels of about 17,000 dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Label Database is free of charge and hosted by the National Institutes of Health.

The Dietary Supplement Label Database provides product information in one place that can be searched and organized as desired. "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, Ph.D., 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."

For consumers, the My Dietary Supplements (MyDS) app from ODS is already available, at The app is an easy way to keep track of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products you take, and has science-based, reliable information on dietary supplements.

Herbal supplements are widely used by the senior citizens, even those with low incomes, according to researchers reporting on research about dietary supplement used in 2006.

“As people get older and have a number of ailments, medication doesn't always help and people resort to trying out herbal supplements. There is the notion that anything herbal is natural and cannot be harmful,” said Nadine Sahyoun, Ph.D., an expert in elder nutrition at the University of Maryland, and a researcher in the 2006 program.


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Read more on Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements


Dietary supplements, taken regularly by about half of U.S. adults, can add significant amounts of nutrients and other ingredients to the diet. Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and more. They come in many different forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as liquids and energy bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and E; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and specialty products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.

By law, any product labeled as a dietary supplement must carry a Supplement Facts panel that list its contents and other added ingredients (such as fillers, binders, and flavorings). The Dietary Supplement Label Database includes this information and much more — such as directions for use, health-related claims, and any cautions — from the label.

The Dietary Supplement Label Database offers these features:

   ● Quick Search: Search for any ingredient or specific text on a label.

   ● Search for Dietary Ingredients: An alphabetical list of ingredients is also provided.

   ● Search for Specific Products: An alphabetical list of products is also provided.

   ● Browse Contact Information: Search by supplement manufacturer or distributor.

   ● Advanced Search: Provides options for expanding a search by using a combination of search options including dietary ingredient, product/brand name, health-related claims, and label statements.

Hundreds of new dietary supplements are added to the marketplace each year, while some are removed. Product formulations are frequently adjusted, as is information on labels. “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, M.D., director of the National Library of Medicine’s Division of Specialized Information Services.

The Dietary Supplement Label Database is the result of collaboration between ODS and NLM, with input from federal stakeholders who participate in a federal working group on dietary supplements.

These include representatives from most NIH institutes and centers, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, 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.

The Office of Dietary Supplements, ODS, seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world's largest library of the health sciences, and collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals, and the public. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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