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Multi-ingredient dietary supplements have gained wide-spread acceptance in the United States. Up to 70% of the United States adult population consumes dietary supplements, 20% of which are herbal dietary supplements (HDS). Further, the estimated number of commercially available HDS has risen from ~4,000 in 1993 to more than 75,000 today.

supplements with plants and spoons

Unlike conventional medications, dietary supplements are not required to undergo pre-market approval testing for safety or efficacy; thus, the toxicity potential of such products is not realized until after their ingestion by the consuming public. This regulatory shortcoming is especially concerning with regard to unusual and heretofore untested combinations of botanical extracts or purified phytochemicals. Multi-ingredient HDS are complex mixtures of phytochemicals whose combined pharmacological and toxicological effects are often unknown or can differ markedly when compared to their ingestion as single entities. This may result in unanticipated adverse effects, usually not caused by consumption of individual constituents alone.


The center’s mission is to provide industry, regulatory agencies and the public with credible information, assessments, expert opinions and risk communication, as well as professional and educational services relating to the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements.

The UAMS Center for Dietary Supplements Research (CDSR) specializes in the following critical issues regarding single- and multi-component dietary supplements:

  • Identify and respond to emerging efficacy and safety concerns and information needs
  • Provide technical expertise to solve problems
  • Conduct and coordinate sponsored research
  • Publish and present studies and reviews on subjects of importance to the food and consumer products industry
  • Establish collaborative links between industry experts, regulatory agencies and university-based scientists
  • Provide a balanced and unbiased opportunity to communicate with regulatory agencies, non-government organizations and interested members of the public using evidence-based science
  • Deliver technically accurate, evidence-based and balanced responses to media inquiries from regulatory agencies, the dietary supplement industry and the consuming public


Center for Dietary Supplements Research