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J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Apr;100(4):447-54.

Nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements: issues and findings from NHANES III.

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  • 1Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA.


The Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels encourages nutrition professionals to become knowledgeable about all dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1995 (DSHEA) expanded the definition of dietary supplements beyond essential nutrients while distinguishing them from drugs or food additives. In order to give practical advice to consumers and policymakers, dietetics professionals need to understand the implications resulting from this less-restrictive regulatory environment for supplements. Dietetics professionals must also become familiar with claims made by manufacturers, retailers, and others regarding popular nonvitamin, nonmineral (NVNM) supplements, as well as usage prevalence and trends. However, NVNM supplements currently are classified inconsistently, and information on the prevalence of use is limited. Sales data suggest that total intake is increasing, and garlic and ginseng are consistently among the most popular supplements. Reported use of NVNM supplements in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was highest for garlic and lecithin. The data suggest associations of NVNM supplement use with age and more healthful lifestyles; however, there is also a reported link with higher alcohol consumption and obesity. Associations with education, income, region, and urbanization are not evident from the sales data. Standardized survey procedures regarding question phraseology, referent time period, and supplement categorization--along with use of representative samples--will improve our ability to assess supplement use, prevalence, and trends.

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