June 26, 2013
New Database Offers Pharmacists Easy Access to
Bethesda, MD—Here’s an easy way for pharmacists to answer customer questions about dietary supplements. And it doesn’t involve pulling a bottle from a shelf and trying to read the tiny print on the label.
The National Institutes of Health is now offering a new online tool, available at www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov, to allow health care providers to see ingredients listed on the labels of about 17,000 dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Label Database is free of charge.
One advantage of the database is that it can be easily searched and organized.
“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.”
Pharmacists also might recommend that customers use the My Dietary Supplements (MyDS) application from the Office of Dietary Supplements. It is available at https://myds.nih.gov. That way they can keep track of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products they take, with reliable, science-based information readily available.
A product labeled as a dietary supplement is required by law to carry a Supplement Facts panel that lists contents and other added ingredients such as fillers, binders, and flavorings. The Dietary Supplement Label Database includes this information and more, such as directions for use, health-related claims, and any cautions.
Among the Dietary Supplement Label Database features are:
• 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.
Even though the database will not initially have data on all supplements sold in the United States, information will be added on a regular basis.
“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.
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