An officer and a supplement

An officer and a supplement

A new meta-analysis looks at the military's use of nutritional supplements.

How much are nutritional supplements helping members of our military be all they can be? Quite a bit, it turns out.

More than half of the members of our military take a dietary supplement, according to a meta-analysis published last month in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Researchers scoured literature databases, reference lists and other sources for studies that quantitatively examined the use of dietary supplements by military personnel. They found the following rates of use of dietary supplements: In men, Army, 55 percent, Navy, 60 percent, Air Force, 60 percent, Marine Corps 61 percent. Rates were higher for female members of the armed forces: Army 65 percent, Navy 71 percent, Air Force, 76 percent and Marines 71 percent.

The percentage of military personnel who used multivitamin and/ or multiminerals was lower. For men: 32 percent, 46 percent, 47 percent and 41 percent (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines). For women: 40 percent, 55 percent, 63 percent and 53 percent. Men in elite military groups, like Navy Special Operations, Army Rangers and Army Special Forces, had a prevalence of 76 percent for any dietary supplement and 37 percent for a multivitamin or multimineral.

Use of herbal supps was generally low, with a prevalence of less than five percent overall.

In 2011, toxicology tests linked the deaths of two soldiers to DMAA in the pre-workout supplement Jack3d and led to a massive recall of the product.

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