NIH Launches Database of Dietary Supplement Labels

June 24, 2013

The National Institutes of Health ("NIH") recently launched a database of labels of dietary supplements being sold in the United States.  The database includes, among other information, directions for use, ingredients, business contact information, and claims taken directly from product labels. 

The database can be browsed by various categories, or it can be searched via several options, including key word searching of product names or claim language.  A key word “Quick Search” can also be conducted of the entire database.  For example, a Quick Search using the term, “probiotic” yields the following:


An NIH official stated that the database “will be of great value to many diverse groups of people, including nutrition researchers, healthcare providers, consumers, and others.”  We add to the “others” category – for better or for worse – competitors, regulators, self-regulators, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and plaintiffs’ lawyers. 

The database currently contains information from 17,000 labels, but the NIH plans to make regular updates and incorporate “most of the more than 55,000 dietary supplement products in the U.S. marketplace.” 

Questions remain at this point, such as how frequently the database will be updated and exactly what the scope will be.  For instance, an industry stakeholder speaking to raised the question whether the database will include products sold through channels, such as network marketing. 

One point to bear in mind if you attempt to Google-search for the new database: an older and far more limited NIH database of dietary supplement labels remains online.