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  • Are products taken by mouth that contain a dietary ingredient.
  • Include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs/botanicals, and other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.
  • Come in forms that include tablets, capsules, powders, energy bars, and liquids.
  • Must have the words “dietary supplement” (or similar words) on the product label.
  • Are regulated by FDA but do not undergo pre-market FDA testing or approval.

Read the OPSS article about the definition of a dietary supplement to learn more.

  • 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.

  • 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 OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances but will not cause a positive drug test.

Please read the OPSS article about HGH for more information.

  • Are acceptable when high-quality foods are unavailable or not practical.
  • Sometimes contain protein from hemp, so know your service policy on hemp.
  • Might contain other kinds of ingredients you don’t necessarily want or need.

To learn more about protein supplements, read the OPSS articles about whey protein and hemp.

  • Also known as “adverse events,” are unwanted reactions associated with dietary supplement use.
  • Can range from mild to severe, so discontinue your dietary supplement and see a healthcare provider if the effects continue or are serious.
  • Should be reported because it helps FDA track down potentially dangerous supplements.

Visit the OPSS web page about reporting side effects to learn more about adverse events and how to report them.

  • Can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, potentially to dangerous levels.
  • Are common ingredients in pre-workout and weight-loss supplements, as well as energy drinks.
  • Include ingredients that are prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

Visit the OPSS article about stimulants for more information, including a list of common and prohibited stimulants.