A list of commonly ask questions about supplements

  • Is a stimulant not allowed for use in dietary supplements.
  • Is also known as oxilofrine or p-hydroxyephedrine.
  • Is on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances but will not cause a positive drug test.

For more information, read the OPSS article about methylsynephrine.

  • 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.

  • 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 prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about nootropics.

  • 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.

  • Is sometimes found in dietary supplements promoted for sleep, stress reduction, and cognitive performance.
  • Is a synthetic substance that does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient according to FDA.
  • Is a drug in some other countries.
  • Is prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about phenibut.

  • Is a prescription drug used to promote weight loss by reducing your appetite. It is also a controlled substance.
  • Can cause a “false-positive screen” for amphetamine on a routine drug test (but not on confirmation testing).
  • Is not permitted for use by most branches of the military, but policies vary.

For more information, including links to service-specific policies, please read the OPSS article about Phentermine

  • 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.

  • Is a plant that has been used for centuries to enhance physical and mental performance and fight stress.
  • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims.
  • Appears to be safe, but the safety of its long-term use is unknown.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about Rhodiola rosea.

  • Are unapproved new drugs prohibited for any use other than research.
  • Are illegally sold in or as dietary supplements marketed as “steroid alternatives” or “legal steroids.”
  • Are on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances and pose significant risk to your health and readiness.
  • Might cause a positive result on a steroid test.

Visit the OPSS article about SARMs to learn more and get a link to a list of currently available products to avoid.

  • 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.