FAQ Minerals Deficiencies: Reliable Research
9. “Where can I find reliable, unbiased research and information on specific vitamins and supplements? (I want an independent resource, not some site trying to sell me their products.)”
We agree that the most reliable information is from unbiased sites—often the best are non-commercial sites.
We’ve looked at many, many informational directories. In order to sort out the lightweights, we searched each for information on the same supplement, ‘Nattokinase’ (an enzyme produced from Japanese soybeans with properties to break down fibrin which is what forms blood clots).
As we suspected, many directories had no entry for Nattokinase at all, so they were easy to eliminate.
Our Favorite Independent Resources on Vitamins and Supplements
Three searchable databases rose to the top of the list. In order of preference, here are our favorites:
1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute/Integrative Medicine: “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products”
2. Drugs.com: ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional database’
3. The ‘Dietary Supplement Label Database’ at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
No Sales Pitch Just Information
None of the three sell supplements (or anything else). They just offer information on vitamins, herbs, natural products and supplements. In our review of each database, we’ve included a screen shot and a link to our ‘Nattokinase’ test search result.
The extensive database covering vitamins and supplements is listed under “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products“.
Note: Memorial Sloan Kettering is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, and integrates effective non-pharmacologic therapies into mainstream patient care.
Example: click to see listing for ‘Nattokinase‘
How to Search: Go to ‘Search About Herbs‘ (we found vitamins and minerals, too.) After first agreeing to the disclaimer, the gatekeeper opens to the top level of the directory organized by letters of the alphabet. Click on the initial letter of your search word, then select from the listed terms.
Each entry has two tabs: information targeted for consumers or for healthcare professionals; Included is a clinical summary, food sources, purported uses, mechanism of action, warnings, contraindications, adverse reactions, herb-drug interactions, literature summary and references.
2. Drugs.com. The ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional Database‘
The ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional database‘ is located at Drugs.com, a comprehensive website with information on traditional and/or conventional uses of natural products.
Note: Drugs.com is NOT an online pharmacy. It’s aim is to be the Internet’s most trusted resource for drug and related health information.
How to Search: Go to Drugs.com/MedFacts Natural Products; from the horizontal menu, click on the ‘Health Professionals‘ tab, then select ‘Natural Products Database’ and enter your search word. (Skip over the ‘Drugs A-Z’ tab; it lists only prescription meds). A few of the items include a clinical summary, food sources, uses, warnings, adverse reactions, literature review and references.
You can also use the Search box in the page header to bring up articles and discussions containing your search word.
3. Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD), US National Institutes of Health
To find all the label info, dietary facts, and dosage for a specific brand and product, we like the ‘Dietary Supplement Label Database‘. The DSLD includes the full label information from all of the dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. Here you can look up a product by Brand Name and read the dosage information.
Note: the DSLD is a joint project of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
How to Search: Start on the DSLF Index home page; to find information on a specific brand and product, click on ‘Browse Products‘. Enter the Brand name in the search field, then scroll through the results to find the product your want.
There are several other types of searches listed on the Index home page, so explore.
Keep in Mind: The Supplements Industry is Not Regulated
In the US, supplements are not regulated by the FDA (or any other government agency). Quality and potency will vary. So, it’s up to you to find reliable, unbiased information to evaluate the vitamins, minerals, herbs or supplements and to select reliable brands and products.
Remember: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you add any of these dietary supplements to your heart health plan.
If you find other useful resources, send us an email and we’ll share them with our readers.
Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2016
Return to: FAQ Minerals & Supplements