NIH Releases Dietary Supplement Database with Personal Tracker and Smartphone Application

From Medscape Medical News:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new database and personal tracker for computer and smartphone use with "science-based, reliable information" on 17,000 dietary supplements, including vitamins, herbal products, and probiotics.

The My Dietary Supplements (MyDS) app can be found on the NIH Web site. The app offers product information and allows users to track supplement use. The database can also be searched on the NIH ODS Web site. It includes information from product labels and allows searches on specific products, manufacturers, and ingredients.

In addition to ingredients, the NIH database includes other information from the labels; namely, directions, health claims, and cautions. The label data will also be coupled with material from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the ongoing health data collection project.

About half of all Americans take some form of supplement, according to the ODS. Popular supplements include vitamins D and E, minerals such as calcium and iron, herbs including echinacea and garlic, and specialty products such as glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.

In a statement announcing the effort, Steven Phillips, MD, from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which was a partner in the project, said the database will be updated to include new products and "incorporate most of the more than 55,000 dietary supplement products in the U.S. marketplace."

The agency notes that supplements can come in "tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as liquids and energy bars."

The NIH announcement notes that by law, dietary supplements must carry a supplement facts label with a list of ingredients. The US Food and Drug Administration requires and monitors the ingredient labels, but supplement manufacturers do not have to provide the agency with the evidence of safety or efficacy. The benefits of some supplements are well established. Other supplements "need more study to determine their value," according to the ODS.

OOOHHH! This is great, Renie! I guess that one day I'll actually have to get and learn to use an iphone! I still have the old flip top phone for dummies!

But having this info available to me on the net is huge too! Surely there is also internet access!

Go NIH, thanks, Renie!

Wow, this is great!!!! I have to bookmark this!!

Kimberly :)

Awesome post. Real handy! Thanks, Renie. big hugs to you!

Smartphone and computer tracker is the same link, I edited the info to try and make that clearer.

This is a step in the right direction, Renie. I wonder if it applies to Canada as well as the US?

Thanks Renie for finding and posting this for us to read. I suppose the app for this is found on the NIH site.

Thanks, Renie! I have just downloaded it onto my smartphone and can't wait to explore it!

Another app which might be of interest is Pocket Rx (for iphone). It lists prescription drugs, interactions, etc.

I was able to alert my doctor & pharmacist about interactions between gabapentin & calcium. If it weren't for this app, I wouldn't have been able to show them the results. My pharmacist was so intrigued that she researched it and discovered that calcium citrate was OK but calcium carbonite (carbonate?) was not.

Thanks again!