Dietary Health Supplements and Your Military Career

Ripped...or ripped off?

Ripped…or ripped off?

When I was about a year into my military career, I went from living fairly active lifestyle of running and swimming all day during aircrew school to sitting behind a desk at the Defense Information School.

That’s not to say physical training wasn’t part of our day, it just wasn’t as much a part of it as I was used to. That’s when I started noticing my initial-military-training-weight-loss was creeping back.

At 19, I didn’t know that it was the combination of my lifestyle and eating habits that were returning me to my old civilian self.

Then one day, while shopping at the base exchange, I came across a nutritional supplement store. You know which one I’m talking about, they all have one. I decided to try out a weight-loss supplement to help get me back in shape.

I remember I didn’t finish the bottle, but I’m not quite sure why. It could have been that my lazy-self couldn’t stick with the regimen of taking a pill after each meal or it could have been because the bottles were quite expensive, but I never ended up taking those pills as a part of my regular weight-loss routine. And I’m glad for it.

Did you know many supplements on the market don’t have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration? The makers of these products can print health claims on the bottles, but in many cases they’re not true.

Also, according to this blog post from the Military Health System they can even contain ingredients that cause an unfavorable urinalysis test.

“While there is no single federal banned list of dietary supplements or ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that many dietary supplements—especially weight-loss, bodybuilding, and sexual-enhancement products—may contain ingredients that could be harmful. In some cases, ingredients in supplements may produce unwanted results in urinalysis testing as well.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me to swear them off forever. I pay very close attention to what I put in my body these days, and if I can’t replicate the recipe at home or find the ingredients in nature, then I choose not to put them in my body.

What about vitamins and minerals? Well, I’m not a doctor, (so you should consult with yours before taking ANY nutritional supplement whether it’s for weight-loss or an increase in vitamins) but I personally believe that by eating a varied diet, made from the freshest ingredients possible that I am getting the nutrients my body requires to thrive.

It worked for our ancestors before nutritional supplements existed, so why shouldn’t it work for us today?


The Department of Defense has a website dedicated to informing service members and their families about the dangers of taking nutritional supplements. Check out Operation Supplement Safety for more on this topic, and get informed before you start taking something that could put your career on the line.


Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.


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3 Responses to Dietary Health Supplements and Your Military Career

  1. Plendil says:

    Hello nmcfarand,
    The U.S. military has had a long-standing interest in the potential for dietary supplements to enhance performance and optimize health among military service personnel. In particular, the military is interested both in exploring the potential of these supplements to help service members adapt to occupational and environmental stressors and in ensuring that manufacturers of dietary supplements for military use adhere to the highest possible standards.
    Thank you

  2. Sports Supplements says:

    It was
    great to know about different supplements and health issues through your
    blog. You have truly stated that muscle building is hugely influenced by the
    supplements we take. Moreover it is very important that we do not indulge in
    smoking, drinking or drug habits. Thanks!

    Sports Supplements |

  3. Grace Sarsa says:

    Health Supplement can enhance the performance of military people. I think these will increase the stamina of people. The supplements also help in body building.

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