Looking for information on a specific ingredient or type of supplement? Use our A-Z index below to quickly find what you’re looking for, or enter a term in the search bar. (If you don’t find it here, you can send us a question using our Ask the Expert feature.)

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  • Acacia rigidulacaret down icon caret up icon
    • Acacia rigidula is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Acacia rigidula: Is it legal?

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  • Adderallcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a prescription drug that contains a blend of amphetamines.
    • Can cause serious or even life-threatening side effects.
    • Will cause a positive result on a routine military drug test.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about Adderall.

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  • Aegelinecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Aegeline is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Aegeline: Why is it a problem?

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  • Apple cider vinegarcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a type of vinegar made from the fermented juice of apples that contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and acids.
    • Is marketed to curb appetite and help weight loss, support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol, aid digestive health, and boost the immune system.
    • Has very little scientific evidence to support its safety and effectiveness, especially as a dietary supplement.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about apple cider vinegar.

  • Aromatase inhibitorscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Are drugs that prevent the body from converting testosterone to estrogen.
    • Are used to treat certain types of cancer, primarily breast and ovarian cancer.
    • Are on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Aromatase inhibitors: Can Military Service Members use them?

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  • Ashwagandhacaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is an ancient ingredient used in dietary supplement products for many different purposes.
    • Can induce abortion, so pregnant women should not take it!
    • Otherwise has few and minor side effects, mostly gastrointestinal.
    • Needs more research to determine its safety and effectiveness.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article Ashwagandha in dietary supplement products.

  • BMPEAcaret down icon caret up icon
    • BMPEA is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article BMPEA: A prohibited ingredient.

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  • Bacopa monniericaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a well-known herb commonly used in dietary supplement products.
    • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims.
    • Safety is relatively unknown for both short- and long-term use.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about Bacopa monnieri.

  • Bodybuilding and performance supplementscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Vary widely in the kinds of ingredients they contain. Some are relatively safe, but others are not.
    • Sometimes contain hidden ingredients such as prescription drugs or steroids that pose serious health risks and could affect a drug test.
    • Like any other supplement, should not be used without first consulting a healthcare provider.

    Read the OPSS article about bodybuilding and performance enhancement to learn more.

  • Brain Health Guidecaret down icon caret up icon

    Read the OPSS Brain Health Guide to learn about dietary supplements marketed for mental performance.

  • CBD (cannabidiol)caret down icon caret up icon
    • CBD is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Cannabidiol: Are products with CBD legal?

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  • CLAcaret down icon caret up icon
    • In dietary supplements is often produced from the linoleic acid in safflower or sunflower oils.
    • Is promoted for fat and weight loss, but there isn’t enough evidence to support these claims. 
    • In supplements appears to be well tolerated, but gastrointestinal side effects have been reported.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about CLA.

  • Caffeinecaret down icon caret up icon
  • Capsaicincaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a substance found in chili peppers that gives them their spiciness.
    • Is commonly listed as “cayenne pepper” or “capsicum” on dietary supplement labels.
    • Is promoted for weight loss, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim.
    • In large amounts, might cause gastrointestinal issues for some people.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about capsaicin.

  • Creatinecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Can be effective for explosive, high-intensity activities, but not endurance activities.
    • Is available in many forms, but creatine monohydrate is the most studied form.
    • Should be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian who specializes in sports dietetics.
    • In dietary supplements, look for ones with creatine monohydrate as the only active ingredient.

    To learn more, read the OPSS article about creatine.

  • Elderberrycaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is the berry of the black elder tree and contains antioxidants.
    • Is usually included in dietary supplements as an extract or juice.
    • Is promoted for immune support, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim.
    • Could be toxic if not properly prepared.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about elderberry.

  • Energy drinkscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Usually contain caffeine, but sometimes have other stimulant ingredients.
    • Should not be used as sports drinks and should not be mixed with alcohol.
    • Should be avoided at least 6 hours before bedtime.

    To read more about the use and misuse of energy drinks, read the OPSS article on energy drinks. For more information on energy drinks and teens, see the OPSS article Energy drinks and teens.

  • Ephedracaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is an unsafe stimulant not approved for use in dietary supplements.
    • Poses a risk of serious adverse events (heart attack, stroke, and death).
    • Despite being illegal, is still found in dietary supplements, usually ones for weight loss.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    If you would like more information, please read the OPSS article about ephedra.

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  • Essential oilscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Are highly concentrated plant extracts marketed for a variety of health benefits.
    • Typically are applied to the skin or inhaled but are now being marketed for oral use.
    • Are not always safe to consume, especially if undiluted.
    • Could be toxic depending on the type and concentration.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about essential oils.

  • Garcinia cambogiacaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a tree native to Southeast Asia and Africa that produces a small pumpkin-like fruit.
    • Rind contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which might impact appetite.
    • Is promoted for weight loss, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim.
    • Reports indicate some concern of liver damage.  
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about Garcinia cambogia.

  • Ginkgo bilobacaret down icon caret up icon
    • Extract from its leaves is used as an ingredient in dietary supplements products.
    • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support such claims.
    • Appears to be safe for most people, but unexplained bleeding after use has been reported.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about Ginkgo biloba.

  • Ginsengcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a plant. Its root is widely used in dietary supplements, teas, and energy drinks.
    • Many types of ginseng exist, but the most popular are Panax ginseng (Korean) and Panax quinqefolius (American).
    • These two types might help healthy adults boost brain health when used in small amounts, short term.  
    • When used long-term, could be unsafe.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about ginseng.

  • Green coffee beancaret down icon caret up icon
    • Extract is often used as in dietary supplement products.
    • Is promoted for weight loss, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim.
    • Appears to be well tolerated in small amounts, short-term, but its long-term safety is unknown.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about green coffee bean.

  • HCGcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a hormone that women produce naturally during pregnancy.
    • Is produced synthetically for use as a drug and may be used only with a prescription.
    • Is not permitted for use in dietary supplements.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    For more information, please read the OPSS article about HCG.

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  • HGH (human growth hormone)caret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a growth-regulating hormone that the human body produces naturally.
    • Is also produced synthetically for use as a drug and may be used only with a prescription.
    • Is not permitted for use in dietary supplements.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list

    Please read the OPSS article about HGH for more information.

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  • Hempcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Hemp is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Hemp and DoD policy.

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  • Higenaminecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Higenamine is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Higenamine in dietary supplements.

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  • Hordeninecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Hordenine is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article Hordenine in dietary supplements: Why avoid it?

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  • Huperzine Acaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is marketed in the U.S. as a dietary suppelement, commonly listed as “Huperzia serrata extract,” “HupA,” or “Chinese club moss.”
    • Is a drug in some other countries.
    • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there is no evidence to support the claims.
    • Lacks evidence of safety, especially when used long-term, and side effects have been reported.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about huperzine A.

  • IGF-1caret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a hormone naturally produced in the liver.
    • Is also produced synthetically for use as a drug and may be used only with a prescription.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    To learn more, please read the OPSS article about IGF-1.

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  • Ketone supplementscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Are marketed to raise ketone levels in the blood and enhance mental and physical performance, energy, and weight loss.
    • Are dietary supplement products that usually contain BHB (a ketone made in a laboratory), medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), and other ingredients.
    • Have limited scientific evidence to support their safety or effectiveness.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about ketone supplements.

  • Kratomcaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is currently not approved for use in dietary supplements or as a prescription or over-the-counter drug.
    • Is under investigation by FDA to establish its legal status, possibly as an opioid.
    • Has been associated with serious side effects, including addiction, seizures, liver damage, and death.
    • Can be addictive.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    Read the OPSS article on kratom, which includes links to FDA warnings and articles.

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  • Marijuanacaret down icon caret up icon

    Read the DoD memorandum on the use of marijuana or its chemical components.

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  • Methylsynephrinecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is a stimulant not allowed for use in dietary supplements.
    • Is also known as oxilofrine or p-hydroxyephedrine.
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about methylsynephrine.

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  • Mushroomscaret down icon caret up icon
    • As a food, are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and amino acids.
    • Are marketed as ingredients in dietary supplement products touting numerous health benefits.
    • There isn’t enough scientific evidence to support their safety or use for any specific purpose, except as a food.
    • Are not prohibited for use by Military Service Members unless they contain psilocybin or any other substance with mind-altering properties.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about mushrooms.

  • Nitric oxide supplementscaret down icon caret up icon

    Read the OPSS article Nitric oxide supplements.

  • Nootropicscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Are substances intended to improve mental performance.
    • Products fall into two general categories: dietary supplements and drugs.
    • Dietary supplements have been found to be tainted with drugs or other ingredients not approved by FDA.
    • As dietary supplements are often marketed with questionable claims not supported by science.
    • Could contain ingredients on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about nootropics.

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  • Oleandercaret down icon caret up icon

    Read the OPSS article Oleander is toxic: Beware.

  • Omega-3 fatty acidscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Help build brain cells and maintain brain function throughout your life.
    • EPA and DHA can’t be made by the body and must be obtained from foods.
    • Are marketed as dietary supplements, but it’s unclear if they can boost brain health or cognitive performance.
    • When taken as a dietary supplement might cause minor side effects.
    • Are not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about omega-3 fatty acids. Read the OPSS article on Omega-3s and brain injury to learn about this ingredient and TBI.

  • Omega-7 supplementscaret down icon caret up icon

    Read the OPSS article Omega-7 supplements.

  • Testosteronecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Are dietary supplements marketed to enhance performance by raising your testosterone level.
    • Sometimes contain potentially dangerous or prohibited ingredients, controlled substances, or drugs.
    • Sometimes contain ingredients not listed on the label that could affect a drug test.

    Read the OPSS article about testosterone boosters for more information.

  • Tribulus terrestriscaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is most commonly used in “testosterone booster” and other performance-enhancement supplements.
    • Has not been shown to affect human testosterone levels or athletic performance.
    • Is not on the list of DoD-prohibited substances and will not result in a positive drug test.

    To learn more, read the OPSS article about Tribulus terrestris.

  • Vinpocetinecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Is sometimes found in dietary supplements promoted for brain health.
    • Is a synthetic substance that, according to the FDA, does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient.
    • Is a drug in some countries.  
    • Is on the DoD Prohibited Dietary Supplement Ingredients list.
    • According to FDA, poses risks for women of childbearing age due to possible adverse reproductive effects.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about vinpocetine.

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  • Yohimbe and yohimbinecaret down icon caret up icon
    • Bark and bark extract is often used in dietary supplement products.
    • Is promoted for weight loss and bodybuilding, but there isn’t enough evidence to support these claims.
    • Poses a risk for serious side effects.
    • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

    For more information, read the OPSS article about yohimbe.