A list of commonly ask questions about supplements

  • Is sometimes used in cooking, with many claims that it helps with a broad range of health benefits.
  • Can be found in or as a dietary supplement product touted for the same health benefits.
  • Can come in any of the forms typical for dietary supplements, often combined with other ingredients.
  • Has no reliable scientific information regarding its use as a dietary supplement.

For more information, read the HPRC article about coconut oil.

  • 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.

  • Is a psychoactive substance found in the plant Cannabis sativa. 
  • Is usually made in a laboratory (synthetic) from CBD.
  • Use could result in side effects such as vomiting, trouble standing, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.
  • Use could result in a positive drug test.
  • Is prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, see the OPSS infographic about delta-8-THC.

  • 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.

  • Is not approved by FDA as an ingredient in dietary supplements.
  • Is a synthetic stimulant that might not be safe.
  • Is known by a number of names, including AMP citrate, Amperall, 1,3-dimethybutylamine.
  • Is on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances.
  • Might register on an initial military urine screening test for amphetamines, but will not cause a positive result on confirmation drug tests.

For more information, including other names for DMBA to watch out for, visit the OPSS article about DMBA.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.