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Message from the Director

Photo of ODS Director Paul M. Coates

Paul M. Coates, Ph.D.

Dr. Coates has served as the Director of ODS since 1999.

Welcome to the Web site of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), part of the Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We hope this Web site will address your need for information on dietary supplements—whether you are a consumer, scientist, health professional, or part of the dietary supplement industry. In particular, we hope we've made the Web site easy for you to find what you need—reliable information on dietary supplements.

The ODS Web site focuses on the needs of consumers for several reasons. Recent surveys tell us that the majority of Americans take at least one dietary supplement each day. In fact, Americans spent a total of about $25 billion on dietary supplements each year for the past several years. And, of course, the Internet is a very common source of health information for most of us these days.

In the Health Information section of the ODS Web site you'll find fact sheets that focus on the individual nutrients found in dietary supplements (such as vitamin B12, C, D, E, calcium, and zinc) especially written for the consumer and the busy health professional. In addition, several publications in the Making Decisions section which have been developed to help consumers to do just that—make informed decisions concerning dietary supplements.

Today there are at least 50,000 dietary supplement products available containing vitamins and minerals, herbs and botanicals, and other ingredients such as glucosamine, fish oils, and probiotics. Yet for many of these dietary supplements, there are questions about their effectiveness and safety. ODS works in collaboration with other NIH institutes, centers, and other research institutions to answer such questions. I invite you to visit the Research & Funding section to learn about our research and other programs and activities.

On the ODS Web site you will find accurate, up-to-date, and scientifically based information that we hope will help you make your best decisions in your research, your practice, your business, or when making personal health decisions on dietary supplement use.

Best regards,

Paul M. Coates, Ph.D.
Director
Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health