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Information about specific supplements

When you want to know about vitamin C or ginkgo biloba or zinc or other dietary supplements . . . where can you turn for accurate, reliable information?

SupplementQuality.com has found several excellent websites that give details about health benefits, dosages, toxicity and interactions with other substances.

American Society for Nutritional Sciences

These statements on 43 nutrients (primarily vitamins and minerals) were prepared by nutrition research experts. They describe the nutrient and symptoms of deficiency (often toxicity as well). Both dietary recommendations (how much is enough) and food sources are given, as well as descriptions of recent research. A short bibliography of further information is included, as well as author name(s) and contact information.


For those seeking further information and leads to research reports, this searchable database contains hotlinks to information on approximately 100 herbs. The large type and simple language make the summaries easy to read. Hotlinks to pictures of the herbs are another useful feature.

Some (but not all) of the original source information is highly technical. In addition to reports of clinical research, case studies, descriptions of traditional use, listings also have links to further information on contraindications, toxicity, adverse effects, and drug interactions -- as well as the herb's chemical constituents and biochemical mechanisms of action.

Life Extension Foundation

Dedicated to discovering how to "slow and reverse aging," the Life Extension Foundation has pulled together cutting-edge research information about many life-shortening diseases and the ways that dietary supplements of many kinds can strengthen the body and prolong life. To find information about specific supplements, search for that supplement under any of several categories: medical abstracts, Life Extension Magazine (articles), disease therapies/protocols, and health conditions.


These descriptions include excellent summaries of current scientific research on more than 300 vitamins, minerals and herbs. They also explain the theory behind the structure/function health-benefit claims associated with each supplement. Specific subsections of information include "what is it", claims (health benefits), theory, scientific support, safety, and dosage (including discussion of optimal dosages).

Vitamin and Dietary Supplement Center of HealthWorld Online

Written by medical doctors, these descriptions are scientific in tone. Sections in each entry include description, sources, functions, uses, requirements, deficiency and toxicity. Entries also give information on research studies. The wide range of supplements includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, supplemental oils, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and others.

The Supplement Center also contains a chart developed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition of the lowest observed adverse effect levels of specific supplements (see Vitamin and Mineral Functions and Safety). Another valuable section is Guidelines for Taking Dietary Supplements, which includes an explanation of both RDAs (recommended daily allowances) and DVs (daily values) found on supplement labels.


Information on drug-supplement interactions is available via HealthNotes at this online supplement store.

USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center

This section of the US Department of Agriculture's website has information about Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).



Other Links:

Consumer empowerment:

Information about specific supplements

Consumer publications & information

Consumer advocacy groups

Healthcare practitioners and alternative medicine

Suppliers of high-quality supplements

Sources of research information:

General scientific research information

Databases of scientific literature


NCCAM research on specific health issues

Ethnobotanical information (Use of plants by indigenous peoples)

Industry resources:

Trade organizations

Trade publications

Government regulation:

DSHEA: Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act

US government agencies

Codex Alimentarius Commission (UN)

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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.