You are here: Home / Dietary Supplements / OPSS: Operation Supplement Safety / OPSS: Operation Supplement Safety / OPSS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) / Is there an all-encompassing list of dietary supplements that are banned or illegal for use by military personnel?

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. Substances “banned” for use by U.S. military service members include:

  • anything on DEA’s controlled substance list  (spice, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, amphetamines, mood-altering substances, anabolic steroids);
  • any substance FDA has declared “illegal” or “not allowed” for use in dietary supplements (such as “ephedra”/ephedrine alkaloids, DMAA, DMBA, BMPEA);
  • Salvia divinorum (diviner’s sage; see the OPSS FAQ about Salvia for service-specific policies); and
  • any prescription drug without a current prescription written specifically for you.

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 urinalysis test results (see HPRC’s “Dietary supplements and drug testing,” which is also available as a PDF infosheet).

Updated 18 August 2015

Back to General FAQs