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A Threat to Military Combat Power: Dietary Supplements

      Abstract

      Background

      The use of dietary supplements by young warfighters is pervasive and comes with a readiness cost, especially in the deployed setting. Predatory targeting and marketing by various unscrupulous companies put this population at risk for a higher than baseline risk for adverse events.

      Methods

      We report on 6 serious adverse events experienced by warfighters while deployed in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Presented is a discussion of current practice gaps and solutions, as well as details regarding how polypharmacy contributes to the seriousness of the threat posed by problematic supplements.

      Results

      The morbidity associated with the 6 cases of dietary supplement adverse events compromised mission readiness and was costly in terms of health and health care expenditures.

      Conclusion

      The military dietary supplement issue needs exposure, review, and action at the highest levels of government.

      Keywords

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