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ODS Update - Spring 2021

Spring 2021

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) Research Scholars Program

Preparing a New Generation of Investigators to Study Dietary Supplements

ODS's mission is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements. Most of our funding supports research on these products, largely through grants to established investigators at academic institutions. However, ODS also helps train a new generation of National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigators. In 2014, we established the ODS Research Scholars Program, a competitive scholarship opportunity for early career NIH intramural scientists to study the role of dietary supplements and their ingredients in health promotion and disease prevention.

Dr. Cindy Davis

Dr. Cindy Davis

Program director Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., explains that primary consideration for support is given to proposals that "stimulate dietary supplement research where it is lacking or lagging to clarify gaps, investigate the balance between health benefits and risks where data are in conflict, and target special population groups where additional science on supplements is needed." Research support is available for new projects, including pilot or feasibility studies, collection of preliminary data, secondary analysis of existing data, and development of new research technologies. Projects are generally limited to 1 year of funding and cannot exceed $100,000.

To become an ODS Scholar, applicants must have obtained their terminal degree within the last 10 years and have been at NIH for at least 1 year. The application process is rigorous. Applicants must prepare a detailed, cogent description of their research plan that is critically reviewed by ODS scientific staff for its scientific premise, experimental clarity and rigor, and reporting transparency. Funding priority is given to applications that propose new avenues of research and include collaborations with multidisciplinary researchers from different NIH laboratories or institutes. Scholars are encouraged to learn and apply new research methodologies.

From its start in FY 2015, the ODS Scholars Program has received 65 applications and funded 36 of them through 2020, with projects involving 10 NIH Institutes. Recent Scholars include Apollo Stacy, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for a study titled "Impact of taurine on the gut microbiota in health and disease" and Ifechukwude Ebenuwa, M.D., at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a study titled "Effect of oral vitamin E supplementation on pharmacokinetics, kinetics, and metabolic parameters in obese individuals with and without hepatosteatosis relative to non-obese controls."

ODS Research Scholars Symposium on May 11

The current group of Scholars will present their research findings at the annual ODS Research Scholars Symposium, to be held virtually on Tuesday, May 11, from 1:00‒5:00 p.m. ET. Contact ODS to receive viewing information: ODS@nih.gov.

News You Can Use

NIH Advances the Science of Resilience

NIH is seeking fundamental knowledge about resilience—the capacity to resist, adapt to, recover from, or grow from a challenge—to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group was established by ODS in 2019 to facilitate the coordination and harmonization of a resilience research agenda across NIH. The group is chaired by LaVerne L. Brown, Ph.D., at ODS, and includes NIH institutes, centers, and offices with strategic priorities and/or funds dedicated for programs related to resilience. The new webpage offers more information about members, funding opportunities, and a webinar series.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) logo

NIH Works Toward Ending Structural Racism

NIH recently launched UNITE, an initiative to end structural racism in biomedical research. Besides identifying and addressing structural racism, UNITE will seek to create a more equitable, civil culture within the biomedical research enterprise and reduce barriers to racial equity among the biomedical research workforce. NIH is seeking comments and suggestions about this work.

25 years

ODS 25th Anniversary Commemoration and Timeline

We're highlighting our 25th anniversary with a 2-day symposium in October that will feature talks by dietary supplement science experts, poster sessions, and exhibits. Check out our calendar of events. More information will be added as we confirm our speakers.

Also, take a look at the ODS Timeline to see how our office came to be and what we have accomplished in our short life.

New/Revised ODS Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets

ODS continues to expand its library of resources with new and comprehensively revised fact sheets on:

Funding Opportunities

Learn 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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Gut Microbiome and Personalized Nutrition
Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S.—Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN

Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Dietary Supplement Use by Breast Cancer Patients
Christine Ambrosone, Ph.D.—University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Improving Communication about the Benefits, Harms, and Uncertainties of Dietary Supplements
Steven Woloshin, M.D., M.S.—The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH

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

ODS Staff News

ODS Staff Publications

Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Article

Dr. LaVerne Brown

Dr. LaVerne Brown

Dr. Barbara Cohen

Dr. Barbara Cohen

ODS scientific staff LaVerne L. Brown, Ph.D., and Barbara Cohen, Ph.D., M.P.H., are authors of Physiological Need for Calcium, Iron, and Folic Acid for Women of Various Subpopulations During Pregnancy and Beyond, which notes the dearth of research studies that enroll adequate numbers of non-White pregnant women in assessments of the health effects associated with nutrient intake, metabolism, and utilization. Theirs is one of 21 articles on maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States, published in a special issue of the Journal of Women's Health. The full issue is available through open access at https://bit.ly/3jvUROwexternal link disclaimer.

Costello RB, Rosanoff A, Dai Q, Saldanha LG, Potischman NA. Perspective: Characterization of Dietary Supplements Containing Calcium and Magnesium and Their Respective Ratio−Is a Rising Ratio a Cause for Concern? Advances in Nutrition. 2020 December 26;nmaa160. Doi: 10.1093/advances/nmaa160. [Online ahead of print.]

Sorkin BC, Hopp DC. The 2020-2025 Cycle of CARBON Centers. American Society of Pharmacognosy Newsletter 2020;56:37-8.

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.

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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ODS Update is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. If you copy or distribute its content, please credit the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and include the publication title and date. Do not use our information in any way that suggests we endorse any product or service.

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
Website: https://ods.od.nih.gov