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Question

Is there an all-encompassing list of dietary supplements that are banned or illegal for use by military personnel?

OPSS Answer

The Department of Defense (DoD) does not maintain a list of dietary supplements or supplement ingredients that are either “allowed” or “banned.” If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not banned or declared an ingredient or dietary supplement product illegal, then DoD does not consider it banned or illegal. However, FDA has found that many dietary supplements—especially weight-loss, bodybuilding, and sexual-enhancement products—contain undeclared drug ingredients (see the FAQ about high-risk supplements), which could be potentially harmful and/or produce unwanted results in a urinalysis test (see HPRC’s “Dietary supplements and drug testing,” which is also available as a PDF infosheet). To date FDA has declared two dietary supplement ingredients as illegal: ephedra and, recently, DMAA.

Updated 17 April 2014

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