Office of Dietary Supplements outlines five-year plan

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary supplements Nutrition

Funding new research, supporting new research tools and maximizing supplements knowledge will form the cornerstone of US Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) activity, the body has stated in a five-year mission statement.

While the 15-year-old agency’s core mission remains essentially the same – to educate the public by stimulating, evaluating and disseminating dietary supplements scientific research – it has registered four specific goals for the period until 2014.

These are:

  • Provide intellectual leadership by foster­ing research to analyze and evaluate the role of dietary supplements in promoting health and reducing the risk of disease.
  • Expand the general scientific knowl­edge base on dietary supplements by funding new research and training.
  • Support the development of research tools for the study of dietary supplements.

  • Make the most up-to-date scientific knowledge about dietary supplements publicly available.


“The vision of ODS is that consumers, health professionals, government officials, and other policy makers will have ready access to scientific information of the highest quality on the health effects of dietary supplements,”​ ODS said in its Strategic Plan.

“ODS will accomplish this by continually evaluating current science, identifying gaps in the knowledgebase, seeking relevant research strategies and tools to fill those gaps, and translating research into useful information.

“ODS will measure the results by the number of grants funded, research tools developed, information pieces written, initiatives and workshops developed by staff, and manuscripts published by staff.”

The ODS will engage in work to determine the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements and nutrients which may lead to recommendations regarding dietary reference intakes (DRIs) set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Projects were already underway for calcium and vitamin D and the agency was working with “federal partners” ​on “other important nutrients of public health concern, such as folate and omega-3 fatty acids, that are used in supplements.”

Soy is another nutrient being researched.

Developing relevant biomarkers – something industry has been calling for as a means to better understand and conduct nutrition science – is another are of work the ODS has highlighted, with two workshops planned.

The ODS said it would work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in expanding research and training in genetic, molecular, biochemical, cellular, metabolic, or physiological mechanisms underlying the actions of dietary supplements.

Other areas of research include:

  • Cognitive and behavioral factors underly­ing the use of dietary supplements.
  • Safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of dietary supplements, including bioavailability and drug interactions.
  • Probiotic and prebiotic research
  • Detecting contaminants
  • Botanical identification
  • Development of a web-based database of all dietary supplement labels in the US
  • Development of fact sheets on dietary supplement ingredients
  • Increase information to health care providers

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1 comment

ODS Strategic Plan

Posted by xxx,

FYI, it is the Office OF (not for) Dietary Supplements, and this was actually released way back in January of this year -- it is now April -- this is not recent news.

Dear reader,

Thanks for commenting and for pointing out the typo – it has been amended. You are right about the report being old, but we had not covered it on so thought it worthy of coverage. –Ed.

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