|Significant Advances in Dietary Supplement Research
Highlighted in 2006 Annual Bibliography
Studying the risks and benefits of dietary supplements has always
posed unique challenges to researchers. To potentially support
conclusive recommendations, these studies must enroll thousands
of people and follow them for years. Additionally, as dietary supplements
are regulated as foods, products can be sold without demonstrating
efficacy. These factors can result in exaggerated research findings
and conflicting health messages to consumers. To help advance the
field and better inform the public, the Office of Dietary Supplements
(ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published
the 2006 Annual Bibliography of Significant Advances in Dietary
Supplement Research, highlighting 25 of the most significant dietary
supplement research advances of the past year.
"When we initiated this project in 1999, our objective was to
give researchers credit for raising the bar on supplement research
and encourage others to follow their lead," said Paul M. Coates,
Ph.D., director of ODS. "However, even the highlighted studies
should be viewed as clues, not verdicts. Just because a study points
to a compound having an interesting effect doesn't mean we are
ready to make a broad public health recommendation." The Annual
Bibliography is part of ODS' commitment to improve the quality
of dietary supplement research and subsequent health messages.
The 2006 Annual Bibliography highlights emerging findings from
a diverse array of laboratory and human studies. These include
the potentially favorable effects of black cohosh in bone remodeling,
ginkgo and omega-3 fatty acids in cognitive health and slowing
the progression of Alzheimer's disease, resveratrol as an anti-inflammatory
compound, and vitamin D in reducing prostate cancer risk.
"If these preliminary findings are substantiated in more rigorous
studies, they could lay the foundation for some exciting health
milestones — but only time will tell," said Rebecca B. Costello,
Ph.D., editor of the Annual Bibliography.
Since its inception, ODS has used the Annual Bibliography to track
emerging areas of dietary supplement research, identify needs,
and make recommendations to the research community. The 2005 Annual
Bibliography noted that study materials were not described sufficiently
to enable other researchers to confirm the findings. "It is encouraging
to see that many leading journals are now requiring authors to
make their research more transparent by providing specifics about
their study design," said Leila Saldanha, Ph.D., R.D., co-editor
of the Annual Bibliography.
Now in its eighth issue, the Annual Bibliography included the
top 25 papers based on the rankings of recognized experts in the
fields of nutrition, botanical sciences, and public health. These
were selected from about 300 papers that appeared in more than
45 peer-reviewed scientific journals. Over 50 percent of the studies
that appear in the 2006 Annual Bibliography received funding from
Copies of the Annual Bibliography of Significant Advances in Dietary
Supplement Research 2006 may be downloaded from the ODS Web site
Copies may also be requested by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by writing
to the Office of Dietary Supplements at 6100 Executive Blvd., Rm.
3B01, MSC 7517, Bethesda, Md. 20892-7517, USA. This year's issue
was released September 29, 2007 at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo
of the American Dietetic Association (Philadelphia, Pa.) and American
College of Nutrition Annual Meeting (Orlando, Fl.).
The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible
for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers.
This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs
and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director
also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating
specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information
is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.
The mission of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (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
to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.
For additional information about ODS, visit http://ods.od.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.