US Army ‘concerned’ over excessive supplement use amongst soldiers

By Stephen Daniells in New Orleans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supplements Nutritional supplements Dietary supplement United states army Military

The US Army has established a specialized group to deal with nutritional supplements amid concerns over the excess of supplements being taken, says a leading US Army researcher.

Edward Zambraski, PhD, Division Chief, Military Performance Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) told Stephen Daniells at the recent IFT in New Orleans that a current lack of understanding of the effects of some supplements is causing concern within the US military.

A recent USARIEM survey​ of US Army personnel revealed that that 53 percent of the surveyed soldiers were users of dietary supplements, with the average monthly spend of $38

While 63 percent of the soldiers took supplements in order to improve their health, a significant proportion also listed reasons including providing more energy, increasing muscle strength, and enhancing performance, according to findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​ (Vol. 92, pp. 985-995).

And while supplement use per se​ is not a concern, excessive supplement use is, said Dr Zambraski.

“The Army is concerned about the excess of supplements being taken [by soldiers] and particularly supplements that we really don’t understand their effects, supplements that could be interactive with one another, or with other medications that may be taken, or supplements that we don’t understand how they may work in the environment of a military operational setting,”​ said Dr Zambraski.

“The US Army Medical Research and Material Command has set up a specialized group to deal with nutritional supplements in terms of obtaining information in the operational theatre […] and trying to get a handle on that.

“And where there are gap areas, we’d sponsor research to fill those gaps and then getting that information out.”

When a nutritional need is identified amongst specific personnel, Dr Zambraski added that the Army would probably prefer to provide supplementation not in pill form but in food.

“The advantage is that there is a lot we don’t know about food and all the bioactives molecules that may be in it, so if we can provide it through a food there may be some interactions that are more beneficial that we may lose with a simple supplement for a given nutrient,”​ he said.

Dr Zambraski also dismissed comparisons between soldiers and athletes when thinking about nutrition.

“We’d like to say that a soldier is like a superior athlete, but the demands on a soldier in terms of performance are so very different to the demands on an athlete performing a specific event. It is much more complex being a soldier,”​ he added.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Innovate with EpiCor Postbiotic!

Innovate with EpiCor Postbiotic!

Content provided by Cargill | 10-Jun-2024 | White Paper

Upgrade your innovation with EpiCor® Postbiotic! EpiCor® is an innovative, science-backed postbiotic ingredient clinically shown to support immune health....

The solutions to botanical supply chain challenges

The solutions to botanical supply chain challenges

Content provided by Ayana Bio | 05-Jun-2024 | Infographic

Many botanicals continue to face supply chain challenges, from the surging demand for stress-relieving adaptogens and immune-support ingredients to the...

Ride the next wave of omega-3 innovation

Ride the next wave of omega-3 innovation

Content provided by dsm-firmenich | 01-Jun-2024 | Insight Guide

Fish oil supplies can’t scale to meet the needs of the planet’s growing population, but life’s®OMEGA can.

Next-Gen Women's Health and 'vagina-on-a-chip'

Next-Gen Women's Health and 'vagina-on-a-chip'

Content provided by SGS Nutrasource | 31-May-2024 | Research Study

In the world of health and wellness, particularly in women’s health, there’s a growing trend in prebiotic and probiotic research. For years, women haven’t...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more