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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 website of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), part of the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We hope this website will help address your need for information on dietary supplements—whether you are a consumer, scientist, health professional, or part of the dietary supplement industry. 

The ODS website focuses on meeting the needs of consumers for several reasons. Surveys tell us that the majority of Americans take at least one dietary supplement each day. In fact, Americans spent more than $30 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 Health Information you'll find fact sheets on the individual nutrients found in dietary supplements (such as vitamin B12, D, calcium, and zinc), one on multivitamins/minerals, and a fact sheet focusing on dietary supplements for weight loss. Many of the factsheets are available in three versions: the scientifically detailed and fully referenced health professional fact sheets and the consumer fact sheets written for consumers and busy health professionals—available in both English and Spanish. You’ll also find links to other publications that have been developed by NIH and other government agencies to help consumers make informed decisions concerning dietary supplements.

Today there are at least 75,000 dietary supplement products available containing vitamins and minerals, herbs and botanicals, and other ingredients such as glucosamine, fish oils, and probiotics. Yet for many dietary supplements, there are questions about 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.

We hope that the scientifically based information you find on this website 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