health

Dietary supplement database has details on thousands of products

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 1, 2013

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A new database will enable doctors to identify more easily the ingredients in the dietary supplements their patients use. Knowing such information could help prevent drug-supplement interactions in patients and pinpoint the potential cause of negative reactions when they occur, medical experts say.

The Dietary Supplement Label Database was launched June 17 by the National Institutes of Health. It can be used for free and contains labels for about 17,000 supplements. The site regularly will be updated to incorporate most of the more than 55,000 dietary supplement products that are for sale in the U.S.

In addition to listing the products’ ingredients, the database includes information on how each substance should be used and health-related claims and cautions (link).

Almost half of adults 20 and older report using a dietary supplement within the past 30 days, said a study of nearly 12,000 people in the March 11 JAMA Internal Medicine (link). Multivitamins and minerals were the most common type reported (31.9% of participants used them), followed by calcium (11.6%), and omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil (9.8%).

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