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ODS Update - July 2005

Office of Dietary Supplements Update

National Institutes of Health,

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

ODS Scientist Honored for Public Service, Achievement in Nutrition Science

ODS is pleased to report that
Johanna T. Dwyer, DSc, RD, ODS'
Senior Nutrition Research Scientist,
has been awarded the 2005 Conrad
A. Elvehjem Award for Public Service
in Nutrition. This prestigious award
from the American Society for Nutritional
Sciences (ASNS) recognizes
Dr. Dwyer's distinguished service to
the public through the science of nutrition.
She comes to ODS on assignment
under the Intergovernmental
Personnel Act (IPA).

Dr. Dwyer's efforts as a nutrition researcher
and communicator span
over three decades.

Currently, she is a professor of
medicine and community health at
the Friedman School of Nutrition Science
and Policy at Tufts University
and its School of Medicine, director
of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center
at the New England Medical Center,
and is the editor of Nutrition Today,
a popular bimonthly journal.

In addition, Dr. Dwyer is an elected
member of the Institute of Medicine,
a member of the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration's Food Advisory
Committee (and chair of its Dietary
Supplements Subcommittee), and
was a former Assistant Administrator
for Human Nutrition at the U.S. Department
of Agriculture.

Her research interests include the
nutritional concerns of children, the
elderly, and vegetarians.

At ODS, Dr. Dwyer directs efforts to
develop a database of dietary-supplement
ingredients, to study
consumers on their use of supplements
and motivations for use, and
to increase and improve the collection
of this type of information by
federal agencies in national surveys.
We're pleased to have her with us!

Public Meeting Held on ODS Strategic Plan

ODS convened a public meeting on
May 20 to review its Strategic Plan in
light of additional and emerging
needs and potential new opportunities.
It was held at the Marriott Hotel
and Conference Center in Bethesda
MD from 9am to 3:30pm, where
about 60 people came to be part of
the discussions.

The Strategic Plan (for 2004—2009)
defines ODS's central mission: 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.

The strategic plan's five major
programmatic goals are to:

  • Expand the evaluation of the
    role of dietary supplements in
    disease prevention and in reduction
    of risk factors associated
    with disease;

  • Foster research that evaluates
    the role of dietary supplements
    in maintaining and improving optimal
    physical and mental health
    and performance;

  • Stimulate and support research
    to further understanding of the
    biochemical and cellular effects
    of dietary supplements on biological
    systems and their physiological
    impact across the life cycle;

  • Promote and support the development
    and improvement of
    methodologies appropriate to
    the scientific study of dietary
    supplement ingredients;

  • Expand and conduct outreach
    efforts that inform and educate
    the public, health care providers,
    and scientists about the benefits
    and risks of dietary supplements.

At the meeting, ODS staff gave a
brief overview of the office's activities
and listened as invited guests
and interested attendees made
oral statements. We heard suggestions
from academics, health-care
providers, and supplement industry
representatives and consultants for
enhancing the scope and depth of
ODS programs and recommendations
for new activities the office
might consider.

These ideas are now being evaluated
in light of ODS's strategic
goals, resources, and capabilities
and will help us make modifications
in the emphasis of our programs
and activities. We expect to
post a summary of this public
meeting on the ODS Web site in

ODS Active at 2005 Experimental Biology Meeting

ODS staff played an active role in the
Experimental Biology (EB) meeting,
held April 2—6 in San Diego, California.
This annual premier event for
the biomedical research community
is presented by the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental
Biology (FASEB).

ODS sponsored several sessions
and staff members presented or
moderated other sessions, including:

  • Pre-meeting workshop (April 1):
    Assessing the Health Effects of
    Bioactive Food Components
    (chaired by Drs. Leila Saldanha
    and Paul Coates)

  • Symposium: Individualized Nutrition
    as a Tool to Prevent and Treat
    Chronic Diseases (co-moderated
    by Dr. Johanna Dwyer)

  • Symposium: Dietary Reference
    Intakes: Evidence for Decisions
    About Nutrient Recommendations
    (presentation by Dr. Paul Coates,
    "Formal Systematic Reviews and
    Nutrients—Potential and Promise")

  • Poster session: A Review of Multivitamin/
    Multimineral Supplement
    Products Reported in the National
    Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey (NHANES) 1999—2000

In addition, many attendees visited
the ODS information booth in the
Exhibits Hall.

Other events of interest from a
dietary-supplement perspective

  • Conference on Carnitine (chaired
    by Peggy Borum)

  • Session: Molecular Actions of Botanicals
    and Dietary Supplements
    (chaired by Neil Shay)

  • Session: Optimizing Vitamin D
    Intake: Barriers to Establishing Effective
    Mechanisms of Food Fortification
    or Supplementation for
    Populations with Special Needs
    (chaired by Mona S. Calvo)

  • Session: Conjugated Linoleic Acid:
    Implications for Mammary Growth,
    Development and Function
    (chaired by Michelle McGuire)

  • Session: N-3 fatty acids: Transitioning
    from Research to Education
    (chaired by Nancy M. Lewis)

New Reviews of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Reviews of the health effects of
omega-3 fatty acids on cancer, cognitive
function (with aging, dementia,
and neurological diseases), and organ
transplantation are now available
on the ODS Web site

They were prepared through the Evidence-Based Practice Center Program
of the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (AHRQ) and
funded by ODS. The Web site also
contains a link to the full report of a
working group on future clinical research
directions on omega-3s and
cardiovascular disease.

The publications are the most recent
in a series of AHRQ evidence-based
reviews on the health effects of

Previous reports have examined the
roles of these fatty acids in asthma,
cardiovascular disease, diabetes,
inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid
arthritis, renal disease, lupus,
and osteoporosis. All are available in
their entirety on the ODS Web site.

Defining and
Evaluating Bioactive
Food Components

Lycopene in tomatoes, sulphorophane
in broccoli, long-chain
omega-3 fatty acids from fish, and
epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in
tea are examples of ingredients in
food that have biological activity.

How to define this incredibly
diverse group of compounds and
evaluate their significance to
human health were among the
topics discussed at two meetings
held at the NIH on March 24—25
and in San Diego on April 1.

A summary of these meetings,
titled "Assessing the Health Effects
of Bioactive Food Components,"
will be posted on the ODS Web
site. Leila Saldanha, PhD, RD, a
scientific consultant with ODS,
chaired the conference planning

Upcoming ODS-Sponsored Meetings

ODS is co-funding the following National
Institutes of Health workshops
and conferences:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Institute (NHLBI)

Workshop: Dietary Fatty Acids and
Cardiac Arrhythmias

August 5; NIH Campus

National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Workshop: Role of Betaine in the
Treatment of Alcoholic Liver

Date to be set in
September/October; NIH Campus

National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences (NIEHS)

  • Two symposia at the International
    Conference on Environmental

    Mutagens, September 3—8 in San
    Francisco: 1) Nutrigenomics-
    Systems Biology Approach to
    Studying Gene-Diet Interactions,
    and 2) Antimutagens and Prospects
    for Chemoprevention via
    Modulation of Gene Expression

  • Workshop: The Effect of Variability
    of Phytoestrogens and Other Estrogenic
    Compounds in Animal Diets
    on Developmental, Endocrine
    and Toxicity Studies.
    Date to be
    set for early fall; NIEHS Campus in
    Research Triangle Park, NC

    National Institute of Mental Health

    Workshop: Evaluating Alternative
    Treatments for Children and Adolescents
    with Autism. Date to be set;
    NIH Campus

    For further information about these
    upcoming meetings, check the Web
    sites of the appropriate NIH institute
    or center (

    Upcoming Botanical

    "Quality and Safety Issues Related
    to Botanicals," an international
    conference to be held
    August 15—18 in University,
    Mississippi, is presented by The
    National Center for Natural
    Products Research in the
    School of Pharmacy at The
    University of Mississippi.

    The conference, supported by
    the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
    will address such
    issues as the authentication,
    cultivation, collection, and postharvest
    practices for producing
    quality plant material and toxicological
    methods of assessment.

    ODS Funds Botanical Research Centers

    38 million Americans take herbal supplements; more research needed on safety and efficacy

    ODS and the National Center for
    Complementary and Alternative
    Medicine (NCCAM) at the National
    Institutes of Health are jointly funding
    five dietary supplement research
    centers focused on botanicals
    (herbs) as part of the botanical research
    center initiative begun in
    1999. Since an estimated 38 million
    Americans take herbal supplements,
    more research on their efficacy and
    safety is needed. ODS Director Paul
    Coates notes that "these centers will
    continue to fulfill the goal of this initiative
    to foster inter-disciplinary

    collaborative research and to develop
    a systematic evaluation of the
    safety and effectiveness of botanicals,
    particularly those available as
    dietary supplements." Each recipient
    receives a 5-year grant:

    Botanical Center for Age-Related

    This collaboration between Purdue
    University (West Lafayette, IN), the
    University of Alabama at Birmingham,
    and Rutgers University (New
    Brunswick, NJ) is directed by Connie

    Weaver, PhD. Researchers will investigate
    the ability of polyphenols,
    derived from sources like soy and
    kudzu, to prevent and treat disorders
    such as osteoporosis, cognitive decline,
    and cataracts.

    Botanical Dietary Supplements for
    Women's Health

    Norman Farnsworth, PhD directs this
    center at the University of Illinois at
    Chicago, which has a clinical trial in
    progress to learn if black cohosh and
    red clover can reduce menopausal

    symptoms such as hot flashes. The
    center will conduct research on the
    standardization, metabolism, and
    toxicity of botanicals as well as support
    research training in pharmacognosy
    (the study of natural products).

    Botanicals and Metabolic

    This collaboration between the Pennington
    Biomedical Research Center
    at Louisiana State University (Baton
    Rouge, LA) and the Center for Agriculture
    and the Environment at Rutgers
    University (New Brunswick, NJ)
    will be directed by William Cefalu,
    MD. It will study how extracts of
    Russian tarragon, Shilianhua (a Chinese
    botanical), and grape may influence
    molecular and cellular processes
    associated with the metabolic

    syndrome (which consists of obesity,
    insulin resistance, development of
    type 2 diabetes, and accelerated cardiovascular

    MSKCC Research Center for
    Botanical Immunomodulators

    A five-institution international collaboration
    co-directed by Barrie Cassileth,
    PhD and Philip Livingston, MD
    will investigate the relevance of botanicals
    (such as echinacea, astragalus,
    and turmeric) that may modulate
    immune function to the treatment of
    cancer and infectious disease. It includes
    the New York City-based
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
    Center, Weill Medical College of
    Cornell University, and The Rockefeller
    University together with the
    Institute of Chinese Medicine and the
    Chinese University in Hong Kong,

    Wake Forest and Brigham and
    Women's Center for Botanical

    Floyd Chilton, PhD will direct this
    collaboration between Wake Forest
    University (Winston-Salem, NC) and
    Harvard University (Cambridge, MA).
    The center will examine the antiinflammatory
    actions of polyunsaturated
    fatty acids derived from botanicals
    like flaxseed and borage on their
    potential to prevent and treat inflammatory
    diseases such as atherosclerosis
    (hardening of the arteries) and

    Your Comments, Please

    ODS is conducting a comprehensive needs analysis of its communications program. Our goals in doing this
    are to enhance awareness of ODS, to improve the quality and range of our information products to our wide
    range of stakeholders, and to better establish ODS as a source of accurate, credible information on dietary supplements. The analysis will be completed this summer, and we expect to begin implementing its
    recommendations shortly thereafter.

    Of course, this newsletter is one way we keep our various constituencies informed about ODS activities,
    initiatives, products, publications, and opportunities. We're always looking for ways to improve it. If you have
    any suggestions for making it a better resource for you, please send comments to Dr. Anne Thurn, ODS
    Health Scientist Administrator (email: