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Using the Dietary Supplement Label Database to Identify Potentially Harmful Dietary Supplement Ingredients

Scott, Jonathan M., PhD; Lindsey, Andrea T., MS; Costello, Rebecca B., PhD; Deuster, Patricia A., PhD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000295
Clinical Nutrition

More than half of young adults, athletes, and Military Service members self-report using at least 1 dietary supplement (DS) 1 or more times per week. Dietary supplement may be consumed because users beige that they improve health, provide more energy, increase muscle strength, and/or enhance performance. The US Food and Drug Administration has raised concerns regarding adulteration, safety, and adverse events associated with DSs marketed for brain health and body building. Some DS products may compromise health as well as lead to a serious adverse event. The National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD), available at https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/, can be freely accessed and used by researchers, providers, and consumers alike to screen for potentially harmful DSs. It was developed to serve the research community and as a resource for healthcare providers and the public. Herein, we provide 2 examples of how the database can be used to identify DS ingredients of concern in products marketed for brain health and body building. The search for DSs marketed for brain health returned 49 unique DSs, and the search for DSs marketed for body building returned 18 unique DSs. Search results were cross-referenced with the Operation Supplement Safety High-Risk Supplement List, the US Food and Drug Administration Tainted Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements list, the Natural Medicines database, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheets. Three ingredients found in DSs marketed for brain health and 2 ingredients in DSs marketed for body building were identified as “of concern.” Educational tools, including the Dietary Supplement Label Database, can help consumers and providers make informed decisions regarding DSs.

Jonathan M. Scott, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University.

Andrea T. Lindsey, MS, is the director of Operation Supplement Safety, a program of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP).

Rebecca B. Costello, PhD, is an adjunct assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University and a scientific consultant for the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.

Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, is a professor at the Uniformed Services University and director of the CHAMP.

Author Contributions: J.M.S., A.T.L., R.B.C., and P.A.D. designed the research; J.M.S. and A.T.L. conducted the research; J.M.S., A.T.L., R.B.C., and P.A.D. wrote the article; and all authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

This work was supported by a grant from the Center Alliance for Nutrition and Dietary Supplement Research, NB91FD.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Uniformed Services University, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Health and Human Services.

Correspondence: Jonathan Scott, PhD, RD, CSSD, LD, Department of Military and Emergency Medicine, Consortium for Health and Military Performance, Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814 (jonathan.scott@usuhs.edu)

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