Tag Archives: CAM

NIH Launches Dietary Supplement Label Database


Excerpted by Michelle Eberle, Consumer Health Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries New England Region (NN/LM NER), from a press release at NIH

Searchable collection contains product information and ingredients from labels of dietary supplements sold in U.S.

Researchers, as well as health care providers and consumers, can now see the ingredients listed on the labels of about 17,000 dietary supplements by looking them up on a website. The Dietary Supplement Label Database, free of charge and hosted by the National Institutes of Health, is available at www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov.

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.”

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.

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.

For consumers, the My Dietary Supplements (MyDS) app from ODS is already available, at https://myds.nih.gov. 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.

National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month


June 2013

Natural Standard Celebrates Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Natural Standard celebrates by highlighting the potential health benefits of various fruits and vegetables.

Strawberry: Strawberry (Fragaria spp.) is predominantly known for its bright red, edible fruit covered in small seeds. The fruit is fragrant, and high in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Some studies indicate that eating strawberries may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Preliminary research also suggests that strawberry may be useful as an anti-inflammatory and may help enhance iron absorption.

Pomegranate: Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is grown around the world and has a long history of use as food and medicine. In the United States, pomegranate juice and seeds are used as food. One pomegranate delivers about 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement and is high in antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Spinach: Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a good source of iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, nitrates, oxalates, beta-carotene, and lutein. In addition to its food value, spinach has a number of therapeutic uses. Regular consumption of spinach may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision). Low-quality studies investigating the correlation of the intake of carotenoids and vitamins found in spinach noted a significant trend for risk reduction. While this is promising, additional research is necessary before a conclusion can be made.

Cherry: Cherries have been used as both food and medicine. African cherry (Prunus africana) has been used to treat enlarged prostate and other disorders. Cherries contain polyphenols, which may have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.

Carrot: Carrot (Daucus carota) is a well-known root vegetable. The thick tap root’s color can range from white to orange to red or purple. This change in color represents the nutrients in the carrot because some pigments, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, are also nutrients.

Blueberry: Blueberries have high antioxidant levels due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are the pigments many plants produce to attract the birds and insects necessary for pollination. Lowbush (wild) blueberries have higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds than highbush varieties.

For information on more fruits and vegetables, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.

To comment on this story, please visit Natural Standard’s blog.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com

Healthy Recipes Database Added to Natural Standard

Natural Standard has recently added a Healthy Recipes database to their collection of clinical decision support tools.

Intended for nutritionists, nurses, physicians and other health care practitioners, this database of healthy recipes for a variety of dishes and meals links ingredients to their respective Natural Standard monographs. This allows clinicians to check for drug interactions or safety and allergy information when recommending dietary changes.

The recipes can be found on the Tools pull down menu at Natural Standard.


Integrative Health Exhibit

An exhibit on Integrative Health is now on display at the Dana Medical Library.  “Integrative Health: Local Resources, Luminaries and Community Connections” spotlights the research and publications of UVM professors Helene Langevin, MD and Ge Wu, Ph.D.  The UVM College of Medicine is a member of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Health, joining 50 other academic centers to further understanding and knowledge in integrative health.

The exhibit defines integrative health and the overall goal of academic health centers to foster an exchange of constructive ideas, bridging Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Conventional Medicine.  The UVM College of Medicine collaborates with the Laura Mann Center to help educate all interested health care providers and medical students about the integration of alternative and allopathic medicine.  Also highlighted in the exhibit is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on CAM.

Visit the Library to view the exhibit and Dana’s resources on complementary and alternative medicine.

Side Effects of Herbs and Supplements

Two great resources identify the side effects of and potential interactions with herbs and supplements. Natural Standard, a comprehensive, evidence-based database of information on complementary and alternative medicine and Meyler’s Side Effects of Herbal Medicines, a textbook, are available online.

Natural Standard was founded by healthcare providers and researchers to provide evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies. Grades are used to reflect the level of available scientific data for or against the use of each therapy for a specific medical condition. Users can search by treatment, condition, or herb/supplement. Natural Standard provides a Foods, Herbs and Supplements database that includes interactions. It also offers interactions and depletions checkers.

Meyler’s Herbal Medicines is a textbook to which Dana has online access. Meyler’s covers herbal medicines and offers both adverse effects and interactions information.