In the Midst of Confusion Lies Opportunity: Fostering Quality Science In Dietary Supplement Research
Rebecca B. Costello, PhD, CNS, and Paul Coates, PhD
Office of Dietary Supplements, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland [CostellB@od.nih.gov]
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) was established at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by Congress through the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. The mission of the ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results and educating the public, all in an effort to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population. In pursuit of this mission, ODS takes into account an array of dietary supplement ingredients and products. This includes vitamin and mineral supplements and botanicals, as well as non-nutrient supplements. Toward that end, ODS has taken a number of steps. In collaboration with other Institutes and Centers at NIH, ODS has established a network of Dietary Supplement Research Centers around the country that provide the focus for multidiscipinary research efforts; it supports research activities and scientific conferences, it supports evidence-based reviews of supplements, and it maintains a public database of scientific literature on dietary supplements. The lack of credible information from well-controlled studies of many dietary supplements raises issues of caution and concern. The ODS is committed to providing and disseminating accurate and reliable scientific information on dietary supplements.