by Senior Airman Kristina Overton 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — The road to staying fit to fight branches off in different directions for military members. For some, a regular workout schedule, or a change in diet may be sufficient to produce desired results. For others, shakes, supplements and vitamins may be included for building muscle or preparation for an increased workout schedule. When buying products, it’s important to know which are off limits.
Dimethylamylamine, also known as DMAA, geranium oil and several other names, is commonly used in products promising weight loss, performance enhancement and muscle building such as Oxy Elite Pro and Jack3D, and is banned by the Food and Drug Administration. Dietary supplements containing this ingredient was placed on medical hold by the Department of Defense due to concerns about related adverse health effects and are currently not for sale on military installations. With the FDA ban, consuming any product that contains DMAA is illegal.
“It’s important to know what’s in your supplements in general,” said Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Arthur, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion flight chief. “These ingredients were causing severe health issues to include elevated blood pressure, and could lead to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. Illnesses reported include heart problems and nervous system and psychiatric disorders.”
Supplements are often unregulated, meaning that the dosage of an ingredient may not be consistent with each different purchase. The Osan Health and Wellness Center encourages members to pay attention to labels when purchasing items and how often or how long supplements should be taken.
Each supplement may go by a number of different titles as well. In checking labels, it’s important to know the numerous synonyms associated with a product. A list of all the names can be found on http://hprc-online.org.
“In most cases you don’t even need a supplement,” Arthur said. “The only time a supplement should be used is when it comes to some kind of extreme workout program, or you have extreme goals like a triathlon or body building competition. For the average military member, in most cases a good multivitamin, a balanced diet and good eating habits will produce results. Regardless, always do your research. You need to also be aware of what effects it may have with any medication you’re taking or what side affects you may be facing.”
In the case of a member being unsure of the safety of a product, the HAWC can assist in researching supplements, and also educate members on how effective the supplement may be with any additional medications.
“The HAWC mentioned in our Monday morning medical brief that several supplements were off limits so I went down to check mine out and get clarification,” said Tech. Sgt. Damon Tatum, 51st Medical Support Squadron resource management office flight chief. “Having the excellent nutritional medicine staff here was really helpful in providing the information and helping to determine what is and isn’t safe. That knowledge is really beneficial and can save lives.”
The Human Performance Resource Center also has a website, http://naturaldatabaseconsumer.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx?s=NDC&cs=dodndc&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1, free from any government computer, where members can check the effectiveness of a supplement prior to their purchase. The natural product effectiveness checker tells consumers the level of effectiveness for natural products used for various medical conditions.
For more information about supplements or to learn about good eating habits, contact the HAWC at 784-3208.