A list of commonly ask questions about supplements

  • DoD doesn’t have a list of either “banned” or approved dietary supplements.
  • OPSS has a list of “ingredients” found in products labeled as dietary supplements that FDA or DoD have prohibited for use.
  • Also prohibited for use, but not included on the OPSS list, are:
    • anything on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) List of Controlled Substances (spice, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, amphetamines, mood-altering substances, anabolic steroids).
    • prescription drugs for which you do not have a current prescription written specifically for you.
    • prescription weight-loss medications prohibited by military branch policy.
  • No list of prohibited name-brand supplements exists, so read the Supplement Facts panel on a product to see if it lists any prohibited substances.

    Visit the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited ingredients
  • 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.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

  • 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.

  • 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 OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances in dietary supplements.

Read the OPSS article about aromatase inhibitors

  • 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 about ashwagandha.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Are marketed to help the body eliminate environmental and dietary toxins.
  • Sometimes have a laxative effect, which can affect performance.
  • Have combinations of ingredients with insufficient evidence of safety or effectiveness.
  • Are unnecessary for most people, as the body rids itself of toxins naturally through urine, feces, and sweat.

For more information, please read the HPRC article about cleansing and detoxification.