Dietary supplements database from NIH

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In summary, the data set has information on how different supplements are labeled, and what the 95% confidence interval is for a given supplement. This information is useful for people who are looking to buy supplements or for people who are looking to figure out what levels of a given supplement they might be getting.
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jim mcnamara
Here is nice data set and analysis - example analysis:

In the US there is little regulation of the contents of dietary supplements. As a result NIH created a supplements database which has analysis results for groups of supplements. The idea is:
How much stuff do I have in this pill? And you get a 'more or less' kind of answer.

If you open the example page, click the 95%CI button. What you get is the expected value of some supplement as a confidence interval. The example is for omega3 fatty acids, In the example, if the label on your supplement says DHA 120mg, then you have a reasonably good chance (95%) that you have somewhere between 115 and 121 mg. Probably.

There are sets of screens, one for multivitamins (MVM), and others. All are very like the example in terms of design.

The MVM data is "interesting". Some mineral supplements have a huge CI, translation:
"Good luck on getting what you think you bought."

Other times things like mcg, IU, and so on are NOT the same thing, they vary by vitamin molecule, and it confuses people, mostly when it comes to vitamins A, D, E, K. ...for lots of reasons beyond the scope of this little message. Example for vitamin A:

From the example link to the database you can click around the site and see what is available.

Again, this is US only. Some countries are very good on supplement labels, New Zealand. Others are worse than the US. India comes to mind.

Have fun.


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Also, ALA is not easily converted by the human body.

ALA, the most common omega-3 fat, needs to be converted into EPA or DHA to become "active" (3).

Unfortunately, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. On average, only 1–10% is converted into EPA and 0.5–5% is converted into DHA (4, 5, 6, 22).

Furthermore, the conversions are dependent on adequate levels of other nutrients, such as vitamins B6 and B7, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Many of these are lacking in the modern diet, especially among vegetarians (23).

The low conversion rate is also because omega-6 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes needed for the conversion process. Therefore, the high amount of omega-6 in the modern diet can reduce the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA (5, 24).

BOTTOM LINE:ALA is not biologically active in the body. It needs to be converted into EPA and/or DHA in order to become active, but this conversion process is inefficient in humans.

And you should try to get your Omega-3 from natural food, not fish oil supplements as research does not tend to support the claims.

So before you decide to pop a few pills or change your diet to what you think is healthy, do some research.
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Oh dear. @Evo peeked into can the can of worms. I gave a talk on polyunsaturated (PUFA) which are found in cooking oils. Natural artists drying oils, like rosemary oil, could go here but cooking with them gives really bad results.

See the table below (cntl/z on browsers makes images larger) Any errors are mine. Corrections welcome. Click on the image to enlarge it
1. ALA->DHA in humans is ~15% efficient
2. Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) as of April are pretty much disallowed in the US prepared food market. They are not in the list.
3. Plant oils are mixtures, sometimes with other fat soluble components, so the table columns do not add to 100%. Refined oils are purer.
4. Interesterfied oils have "rearranged" triglycerides, i.e., sort of musical chairs with PUFA's. Not in the list. Good link for manager types:
5. Smoke point is the primary reason you seldom find some of the oils used for frying. Acrolein (smoke component, aka propenal) has some undesirable properties:

Fatty acid ratios are very important - Evo provided links above.
Two commonly available oils with good ratios of omega6/omega3: flax oil(Linum spp. seed) & canola oil(Brassica napus L., rapeseed)
Canola has a reasonable smoke point, flax seed oil does not.

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Related to Dietary supplements database from NIH

1. What is the purpose of the Dietary Supplements Database from NIH?

The Dietary Supplements Database from NIH is a comprehensive collection of scientific data on dietary supplements, including information on their ingredients, safety, and effectiveness. Its purpose is to provide researchers, health professionals, and consumers with reliable, evidence-based information on dietary supplements.

2. How is the information in the database collected?

The information in the Dietary Supplements Database is collected from a variety of sources, including scientific studies, clinical trials, and reports from healthcare providers. The data is thoroughly reviewed and compiled by a team of experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to ensure accuracy and reliability.

3. Are all dietary supplements included in the database?

No, not all dietary supplements are included in the NIH database. The information in the database is limited to products that are commonly available in the United States and have been researched and evaluated by the NIH. It does not include information on traditional or herbal remedies that are not regulated as dietary supplements.

4. How can I use the Dietary Supplements Database to make informed decisions about my health?

The database provides information on the ingredients, safety, and effectiveness of dietary supplements. You can use this information to make informed decisions about which supplements to take, how much to take, and any potential risks or interactions with medications. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

5. Is the information in the Dietary Supplements Database from NIH reliable?

Yes, the information in the database is reliable and evidence-based. The NIH follows a thorough review process to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information included. However, it is important to note that the database is continually updated as new research and information becomes available, so it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

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