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The resources on this page are divided into two sections:

Researching Supplements
Below is a list of online resources for those who wish to learn more about supplements. Included are IBIDS and CARDS, databases of primary sources for information (actual medical reports, abstracts, etc.), that will be of particualr interest to anyone doing serious research.

Getting the most accurate and up-to-date information is crucial when making decisions regarding your health; these sites will help you gather current useful and legitimate information. Steer clear of commercial "supplement warehouse" sites, whose intentions are questionable and outrageous claims many times detract from the serious efforts of those who want the true beneficial effects of nutritional supplements be explored and shared (and we're not talking about MegaTan Pills).

When investigating supplements, caution should be used at all times when evaluating what you read, even (perhaps especially) when the issuing agency is a governmental one. This is not to sound alarmist; a good illustration of the dangers of the influence of The Media and Big Business on our healthcare system was recently discussed by New York Buyers' Club's Treatment Director, George M. Carter*: this past year, the National Institutes of Health released the results of a study that the popular media interpreted as decrying the effectiveness of the popular supplement, glucosamine-chondroitin. However, read in its entirety, the study found that the combination didn't work well specifically for mild arthritis of the knee but neither did the prescription drug Celebrex, also included in the study. It is interesting to note that many of the researchers involved had received monies from Pfizer...the makers of Celebrex. It is also worth noting that for moderate to severe arthritic pain, the glucosamine-chondroitin combination of actually worked much better than Celebrex - and that the researchers didn’t even use its most potent form (glucosamine sulfate) in the study.

Source: U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

What is a dietary supplement?
Congress defined the term "dietary supplement" in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders. They can also be in other forms, such as a bar, but if they are, information on their label must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet. Whatever their form may be, DSHEA places dietary supplements in a special category under the general umbrella of "foods," not drugs, and requires that every supplement be labeled a dietary supplement.

What is a "new dietary ingredient" in a dietary supplement?
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined both of the terms "dietary ingredient" and "new dietary ingredient" as components of dietary supplements. In order for an ingredient of a dietary supplement to be a "dietary ingredient," it must be one or any combination of the following substances:

• a vitamin,
• a mineral,
• an herb or other botanical,
• an amino acid,
• a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake (e.g., enzymes or tissues from organs or glands), or
• a concentrate, metabolite, constituent or extract.

A "new dietary ingredient" is one that meets the above definition for a "dietary ingredient" and was not sold in the U.S. in a dietary supplement before October 15, 1994.


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) provides a good guide to understanding dietary supplements, as well as an introduction to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in general, fact sheets, and related links.

Perhaps most interesting is the NCCAM site's "Live Chat" function (available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET), which allows you to connect with an "Information Specialist" with questions related to the site, its content, and other NCCAM-related resources. This service is also available by phone at 1-888-644-6226 (from outside the U.S., call 301-519-3153).

NCCAM has also teamed up with the National Library of Medicine to present CAM on PubMed; which is a search engine with partly pre-defined terms - providing access to CAM-related citations from the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. It also includes links to many full-text articles at journal Web sites and other related Web resources.

Studies curretly being conducted by NYBC's sister organization, FIAR (Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research), have been funded by NCCAM.

In "Tips For The Savvy Supplement User: Making Informed Decisions And Evaluating Information," The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition offers tips for making informed decisions about food supplements.
National Library of Medicine
The National Institutes of Health and The National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus offers over 700 Health Topics, which, when accessed, automatically cull the most recent information from hundered of sources. Of great usefulness is the Index of Herbs and Supplements. The information here is culled from the respected organization Natural Standard ("The Authority on Integrative Medicine"), whose database is currently available exclusively to subscribing healthcare organizations and professionals (a consumer portal is planned for the near future).
National Institutes of Health

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)

IBIDS: International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements

The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) website has a wealth of information avaialable to all, beginning with a general information FAQ, and a healthy list of Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.

If you are an intrepid investigator and like to drink straight from the source, you can sift through the myriad data of dietary researchers worldwide through IBIDS: International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements. This database provides access to bibliographic citations and abstracts from published scientific literature on dietary supplements from around the world. Best to brush up on your Boolean operators and other advanced search functions on their Help & FAQ page.

Those wanting to know what our government is up to in terms of dietary supplement research should access CARDS (Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements). This is a searchable (albeit through a decidedly clunky interface) database of federally-funded, supplement-related research projects conducted by the USDA, NIH (and its 27 Institutes and Centers - ICs), and the Department of Defense (!), dating back to 1999 (the first year that NIH ICs began reporting research related to dietary supplements).

From the ODS website: "A search of the CARDS database can be used to sort and tabulate information for a variety of purposes. For example, a researcher may want to know which specific institutes and centers (ICs) at the NIH fund research on herbal supplement ingredients. A consumer may want to know if the Federal government is supporting research on a popular dietary supplement ingredient such as vitamin C."

The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library General Information and Resources page on dietary supplements has some useful links detailing individual macronutrients, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

PDRhealth is a privately-owned Web site, and part of Thomson Healthcare, publishers of the revered Physicians Desk Reference. Here you can find detailed, fully footnoted descriptions of both prescription drugs and nutritional supplements, extracted from the PDR, which in 2006 is in its 61st edtion and over 3,000 pages thick. However, this is a commercially driven site and one must take their information with a grain of salt.

On their Drug Information page, you will find A-to-Z listings of nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, prescription drugs, and OTC drugs.

Journal of Nutrition
The American Society for Nutrition's Journal of Nutrition website serves up information on food sources, diet recommendations, deficiencies, toxicity, clinical uses, recent research and references for further information for many micro- and macronutrients.
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, noted as one of the nation’s first two "Centers of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine" as designated by NIH's NCCAM(see above), studies the effects of nutritional supplements in treating heart disease, cancer, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. Among its laboratories' many studies are projects studying antioxidants.

Their Micronutrient Information Center is a good source for information regarding the roles of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, dietary phytochemicals (plant chemicals that may affect health), and some foods in preventing disease and promoting health.

Quackwatch Warning!
One site to avoid in your virtual travels is Quackwatch (notice no link here) - and its nineteen affiliate sites. While a "nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct" seems like a grand idea, its director, Stephen Barrett, is extremely controversial. He is virulently anti-CAM (notably - and coincidentally - as an outspoken critic of the late, two-time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling's work), and thought to be "in the pocket" of Big Pharma. Disturbingly, he is also closely tied to the American Medical Association, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Food and Drug Administration, having testified on their behalf as an "expert" in psychiatry - although he is not Medical Board Certified. He has lost forty defamation lawsuits nationwide. Quackery, indeed!

New York Buyers' Club

POZ Magazine's AIDS Services Directory is the internet’s most comprehensive guide to HIV care and services, featuring thousands of organizations nationwide—all searchable by zip code, company name, organization type, service provided and groups served.
Launched in 1999, AIDSmeds.com ("Founded and Operated by People with HIV") is dedicated to providing people living with HIV the necessary information and tools they need to make empowered treatment decisions. One of its most popular features are its forums and "Graph My Labs," which helps those on HIV meds track their health stats.
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) is Canada's excellent resource for all things HIV - in both French and English. They can also be reached at 1-800-23-1638. Their website features straightforward treatment fact sheets, The Positive Side e-zine, and a series of "Practical Guides" for people living with HIV.
HIV Treatment Information Multilingual Glossary This important site features Information on HIV/AIDS in ten languages. This project, started by the Asian Community AIDS Services in Toronto and CATIE, aims to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers and improve treatment awareness and access globally.
Founded in 1993 and publisher of the pioneering AIDS Treament News (look for the humble ATN link on their homepage), this organization and its website are a clearinghouse for HIV/AIDS information, providing prevention, testing, and treatment information to well over 4 million people a year.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers a wealth of information (in both English and Spanish) in a variety of formats (brochures, articles, reports...).
New York's GMHC is the oldest AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in the country. Far from only treating gay men, their mission is "reduce the spread of HIV disease, help people with HIV maintain and improve their health and independence, and keep the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV an urgent national and local priority." Cheers!
AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) is a collaborative and independent not-for-profit organization that studies new treatments for HIV/AIDS and related diseases. They also conduct a comprehensive HIV health literacy program, as well as TrialSearch, a national database of currently enrolling studies for HIV/AIDS and related conditions.
FIAR, the Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research, sponsors and stimulates interest in clinical trials of herbal and nutritional treatments for people with HIV, AIDS and/or chronic viral hepatitis. Their goal is to show whether or not these treatments can lessen symptoms, delay the need for Western drugs, or reduce their side effects. Some studies are carried out in developing nations where indigenous treatments are used and antiretroviral drugs (ARV) are largely unavailable. FIAR also seeks to bring ARV, self-empowering information, and prevention to such under-served areas.

Currently underway is a study of what they informally call "Spring Break," a formula of some 25 Chinese herbs, developed by FIAR's Mark Kuebel, Lic. Ac. and Fred Blair, Lic. Ac. The study is bieng conducted in conjunction with Mount Sinai Medical Center and has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

George Carter, NYBC's Treatment Director, is founder of FIAR.

With over 600 topics to choose from, TheBody.com may have well earned the right to call itself "The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource." While the site is fully searchable, we would like to direct your attention to their archive of resources on Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, and HIV. Here, You’ll find references to articles on preventing diabetes; lowering triglycerides; nutrition and lipodystrophy; anabolics, exercise, nutrition and supplements; and health food shopping on a budget—to name just a few of the topics.
San Francisco-based Project Inform is a national, nonprofit, community-based organization that has been at the frontlines in the fight against HIV/AIDS since 1985—when reliable information about the disease and its treatment was nearly impossible to obtain.

They operate the free and anonymous National HIV/AIDS Treatment Hotline, open Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm (Pacific time): 1-800-822-7422 or 415-558-9051.

Accurate, updated information on HIV/AIDS treatment, guidelines, prevention, research, education, and epidemiology from doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital; includes online Q&A and access to publications such as The Pocket Guide to Adult HIV/AIDS Treatment.
The AIDS InfoNet is a project of the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Originally designed to make information on HIV/AIDS services and treatments easily accessible in both English and Spanish for residents of New Mexico, it has since become an international resource for information on HIV/AIDS.
The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' site, offers information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research. What is unique here is AIDSinfo Live Help: one-on-one assistance in real time via the internet (available in English and Spanish).