BOX 7-1

Examples of Potential Research Questions on the Dietary Supplements Selected for Committee Evaluation

Of the supplements selected for review, the committee found no compelling reason for the military to make research on the following dietary supplements a high priority at this time: chromium, dehydroepiandrosterone, garlic, ephedra, ginseng, melatonin, valerian, and Ginkgo biloba. For the remaining dietary supplements reviewed by the committee, further investigation into the following specific questions may be warranted:

  • What is the range of consumption of caffeine in the military population? What are the sources and amounts of total intake? To what extent are patterns of consumption approaching the limits for operationally effective doses of caffeine?

  • What are the beneficial or adverse effects of long-term use of tyrosine? Of creatine?

  • Are there tolerance or withdrawal effects from using creatine, caffeine, or other dietary supplements?

  • Given that β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) appears to improve muscle function or mass in physically untrained subjects or those in a catabolic state, what are the effects of HMB in new recruits or those with hypocaloric intake?

  • What are the effects of varying the protein content (amount and composition of amino acids) in sports bars or drinks and the timing of their consumption on recovery from strenuous activity (e.g., on reduction of immune suppression after exercise, hydration, or reduction of muscle soreness)?

  • Are there any dietary supplements (e.g., quercetin) that help reduce post-stress health effects such as respiratory infections?

special needs of military subpopulations. The military has unusual access to its members’ medical records, and its population is in better general health and includes fewer individuals at risk for certain diseases and drug interactions, all of which should facilitate the identification of potential concerns and possible benefits associated with the use of dietary supplements by service members.


Study Designs

In conducting research of interest to the military, it is critical that the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements be tested with representative subjects engaged in training that is similar to combat and in specific military

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