ODS Update - Fall 2020

Fall 2020

ODS Marks Its 25 Year Anniversary

25 Years

In November 1995, the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) was established in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of the Director with the congressionally mandated purposes "to promote scientific study of the benefits of dietary supplements in maintaining health and preventing chronic disease and other health-related conditions" and "to explore more fully the potential role of dietary supplements...to improve health care."

Now, 25 years later, ODS will take time over the next 10–12 months to mark and showcase its contributions to the science of dietary supplements and highlight the office's accomplishments and achievements. We will also use this time to reflect upon ODS's future and consider what needs to be done as we develop a new strategic plan for the years 2022–2026.

Mark your calendars! One major anniversary event we're planning is a scientific symposium next May 10–11, featuring talks by leading experts in the field of dietary supplement science and presentations by early-career scientists from the ODS Research Scholars Program. ODS staff will also highlight the office and its work at the many professional meetings where they give presentations throughout the year. And, as always, we'll host a monthly seminar series where prominent scientists involved in dietary supplement research present their findings and discuss their implications for public health.

Joseph Betz

Dr. Joseph Betz

"The goal of our anniversary-related activities is to raise awareness of ODS activities and accomplishments among our many stakeholders—from research scientists in various sectors, healthcare professionals, and to the public—and to increase engagement with us," ODS Acting Director Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., explained. "We'll do this by promoting the ways in which individuals can participate in ODS activities and access our resources."

Visit the ODS 25th Anniversary webpage for more details and a calendar of events.

News You Can Use

USDA, FDA, and ODS Establish Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods

ODS has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop a database of the iodine content of hundreds of foods and beveragesexternal link disclaimer. The database provides average iodine amounts, standard deviations, ranges, and numbers of analyzed samples. Scientists and health professionals can use the data to estimate iodine intakes of individuals and populations.

Abby Ershow

Dr. Abby Ershow

"The database can also be used to identify good sources of iodine––such as seaweed, seafood, dairy products, and iodized salt––as well as foods that have variable amounts," explained Abby G. Ershow, Sc.D., R.D., who directs the ODS Iodine Initiative. "For example, commercially available breads prepared with iodine-containing dough conditioners have very high amounts of iodine, whereas those prepared without have virtually none. In addition, salt that's not iodized––including most brands of sea salt––contains almost no iodine." The database also shows that pasta contains iodine when it's boiled in water containing iodized salt, but not when it's boiled in plain, unsalted water.

To learn more about iodine, see the ODS health professional and consumer fact sheets in English and Spanish.

Now Available: Vitamin D Metabolites Quality Assurance Program Final Report

Adam Kuszak

Dr. Adam Kuszak

As part of the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP), ODS and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established the first accuracy-based laboratory quality assurance program (QAP) to improve serum measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the primary biomarker for clinical vitamin D status assessment.

"The newly released NIST/NIH Vitamin D Metabolites Quality Assurance Program (VitDQAP) Final Reportexternal link disclaimer summarizes the program's 12 exercises and highlights laboratory performance trends observed by our NIST colleagues," explained Adam J. Kuszak, Ph.D., Director of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials (AMRM) Program.

Stephen Wise

Dr. Stephen Wise

A total of 99 laboratories from hospitals, industry, academia, and government participated in 12 VitDQAP exercises from 2009 through 2016. Comparability of participant measurements for 25(OH)D improved over time through use of Standard Reference Materials (a VDSP resource), identification of measurement biases, and within-laboratory measurement quality control efforts. Added Stephen A. Wise, Ph.D., a scientific consultant who supports the ODS AMRM Program, "This report provides an excellent overview of the program's technical details as well as trends seen in community measurement capabilities and programmatic outcomes."

New ODS Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets

ODS continues to expand its library of information resources with new or updated heath professional fact sheets on boron, chromium, fluoride, iodine, and vitamin D; as well as new consumer fact sheets on boron and fluoride. We now have fact sheets on each essential vitamin and mineral. See our full list of fact sheets, including many available in three versions: health professional, consumer in English, and consumer in Spanish.

Funding Opportunities

PA-20-227: Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements (Clinical Trial Not Allowed) is currently accepting applications. The deadline for the first round of applications is October 15, 2020. Budgets are limited to $100,000 direct costs as indicated in NOT-OD-20-148.

PA-20-252: Validation Studies of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplement Constituents (Clinical Trial Not Allowed) is currently accepting applications. The deadline for the first round of applications is October 15, 2020.

Learn more about ODS's funding opportunities and research programs.

ODS Seminar Series

Throughout the academic year, ODS hosts seminars by scientists who conduct research on dietary supplements and related topics. Contact ODS at ODS@NIH.gov to receive seminar announcements and webinar information.

These seminars take place this fall:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Causality Assessment for Liver Injury Associated with Dietary Supplement Use
Paul (Skip) Hayashi, M.D.—U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Dietary Fiber, Gut Microbiome Ecology, and Causality
Jens Walter, Ph.D.—Department of Medicine, University College, Cork, Ireland

Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Laboratory Quality Assurance Challenges for Nutrition-related Diet and Clinical Measurements
Christine Pfeiffer, Ph.D.—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

See the ODS Seminar Seriesexternal link disclaimer for the full 2020-2021 calendar.

ODS Staff News

Recent ODS Staff Publications

ODS staff members regularly publish papers that address key issues in dietary supplements and related research. Visit the Staff Publications page on the ODS website for a complete list.

Cover of Present Knowledge in Nutrition

ODS Contributes to 11th Edition of Present Knowledge in Nutrition

Several ODS staff contributed chapters to the 11th edition of this authoritative nutrition science reference book, published July 17, 2020.

  • The chapter on Magnesium was co-authored by Rebecca Bortz Costello, Ph.D.
  • The chapter on Dietary Supplements was co-authored by Paul R. Thomas, Ed.D., R.D.N., and Carol J. Haggans, M.S., R.D., and retired ODS Director Paul M. Coates, Ph.D.
  • The chapter on Establishing Nutrient Intake Values was co-authored by Johanna T. Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D.

Bailey RL, Jun S, Murphy L, Green R, Gahche JJ, Dwyer JT, Potischman N, McCabe GP, Miller JW. High folic acid or folate combined with low vitamin B-12 status: potential but inconsistent association with cognitive function in a nationally representative cross-sectional sample of US older adults participating in the NHANES. Am J Clin Nutr 2020 Aug 29; doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa239. PMID: 32860400

Subar AF, Potischman N, Dodd KW, Thompson FE, Baer DJ, Schoeller DA, Midthune D, Kipnis V, Kirkpatrick SI, Mittl B, Zimmerman TP, Douglass D, Bowles HR, Park Y. Performance and feasibility of recalls completed using the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool in relation to other self-report tools and biomarkers in the Interactive Diet and Activity Tracking in AARP (IDATA) study. J Acad Nutr Diet 2020 Aug 17; doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.06.015. PMID: 32819883

Saldanha LG, Dwyer JT, Haggans CJ, Mills JL, Potischman N. Perspective: Time to resolve confusion on folate amounts, units, and forms in prenatal supplements. Adv Nutr 2020;11:753-9. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmaa017external link disclaimer. PMID: 32134106

Recent ODS Staff Presentations

Visit the Staff Presentations page on the ODS website for a complete list.

Adam Kuszak, Ph.D. was chair of the session Analytical Characterization of Dietary Supplements for Public Health Research on September 21, 2020 and co-chair of the Herbalife organized session, Botanical Identification Goes Mobile, on September 15, 2020 at the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) Annual Meeting & Expositionexternal link disclaimer.

Leila Saldanha, Ph.D., R.D. presented Inclusion of Dietary Supplements as a Subcategory of Foods in Food Ontology Systems on September 16, 2020 at the 2020 International Conference on Biomedical Ontologies (ICBO) Virtual Integrated Food Ontology Workshopexternal link disclaimer. Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D., and Richard Bailen, M.B.A., M.H.A. were co-authors.

Jaime Gahche, Ph.D., M.P.H. presented Dietary Supplement Use in the United States on September 1, 2020 at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Regulatory, Scientific & Quality Conferenceexternal link disclaimer.

Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., and Karen S. Regan, M.S., R.D. presented NIH Response to COVID-19 and Nutrition-Specific Funding Opportunities on June 2, 2020 at Nutrition 2020 Live Onlineexternal link disclaimer, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

Have questions about dietary supplements? Ask ODS

ODS provides general information about dietary supplement ingredients in response to questions from consumers, health professionals, students, and others. While ODS cannot answer specific medical questions, make referrals, or give personal guidance on the use of dietary supplements, ODS's registered dietitians on staff reply to each inquiry and give useful, scientific, and evidence-based information. Send your questions about dietary supplements to ODS: ods.od.nih.gov/contact.

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ODS Update provides information on news, activities, and resources from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). ODS is a program office within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of 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.

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About ODS
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's medical research agency—supporting scientific studies that turn discovery into health.
Contact Us
Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd., Room 3B01
Bethesda, MD 20892-7517
Email: ods@nih.gov