Health & Safety

September 7, 2012

Warfighters and dietary supplements — what people need to know

Maj. Jennifer Butler
11th Signal Brigade PAO

The most important fact to remember about dietary supplements is they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This has not stopped over half of american adults from taking them.

In fact, according to a survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 69 percent of American adults take dietary supplements. Before people say “this statistic does not apply to me,” remember “dietary supplements” is a general term.

Dietary supplements are any vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, botanicals, thermogenics and other substances that can be used to supplement the diet. In other words, those using any product to supplement their diet that is not a fruit, vegetable, grain, protein food, dairy or oil are welcome to the club!

The “FDA 101: Dietary Supplements” states, “Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA’s satisfaction before they are marketed. Once a dietary supplement hits the market, FDA has safety monitoring responsibilities which is only as good as the reports and complaints made by consumers or health care professionals. These include monitoring mandatory reporting of serious adverse events by dietary supplement firms and voluntary adverse event reporting by consumers and health care professionals.”

Service members should be aware the purchase or use of banned supplements is illegal and may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Department of Defense suspended the sale of products containing dimethylamylamine, also known as DMAA.

But how does one know if a dietary supplement is banned or safe for use?

According to Operation Supplement Safety or OPSS, “DOD has no formal list of dietary supplements or ingredients that have been banned. However, if the FDA, Federal Trade Commission, or Drug Enforcement Administration has not banned a substance or product or has not declared it illegal for use as a dietary supplement, then the Department of Defense also does not consider it illegal or banned.”

Operation Supplement Safety is a joint initiative between the Human Performance Resource Center and the DoD to educate service members and retirees, their family members, leaders, healthcare providers and DoD civilians about dietary supplements and how to choose supplements wisely.

Do some research before using any dietary supplement.

The best place to start is with your health care provider or make an appointment with a nutritionist.Where are Warfighters to turn to find out information about safely increasing performance and total fitness?

Warfighters can turn to the DoD’s Human Performance Resource Center.

Under the Force Health Protection and Readiness Program initiative, The DoD developed the Human Performance Resource Center. The goal is Total Force Fitness: Warfighters optimized to carry out their mission as safely and effectively as possible. Understanding that warfighters use dietary supplements, the DoD wanted to provide information to help them make an informed decision about dietary supplements and optimizing their performance.

The Human Performance Resource Center or HPRC, was established in 2009 to collect, organize and disseminate the most current information available on all aspects of human performance. The HPRC website has a wealth of information about dietary supplements and total fitness. Information about Operation Supplement Safety can be found on the Human Performance Resource Center website at http://hprc-online.org/dietarysupplements/opss. For the warfighters, there are information sheets, videos and more to keep them informed.

The Human Performance Resource Center website also has a list of dietary supplement products containing dimethylamylamine that is updated regularly.

Visit the Human Performance Resource Center website at http://hprc-online.org/ to learn how to safely and effectively optimize your performance. Before taking a dietary supplement, talk to your health care provider or make appointment with a nutritionist.




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