A Marine’s health and safety is second to none. And while whole, nutrient-dense foods are more easily recognized by the body and have a greater nutrient absorption for effectiveness, they may not be the only components a Marine ingests in the belief to preserve health and maximize performance.
Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) is the Department of Defense’s resource designed to educate Marines on how to evaluate dietary supplements (items with a supplement facts panel). Dietary supplements while they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) they are NOT approved prior to occupying sales shelves. FDA has to prove a product is not safe, if it is already on the market before an action can be taken.
What is a dietary supplement?
· Defined by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA):
· Contains dietary ingredients such as a vitamin, mineral, herb or botanical, amino acid, dietary substance, or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any
· Intended to supplement the diet not replace
· Must be taken by mouth
· Found in pill, tablet, capsule, gummy, powder or liquid form
Outdoor activity is another domain to conduct fitness activities during the warmer months -- but it requires paying special attention to hydration. When it's warm, your body perspires more to help you cool down. And depending on the temperature, humidity, and the nature of your activity, you might not even realize how much you are perspiring. Don't rely on thirst alone to tell you how much you need to drink. To keep those muscles working and avoid fatigue; it's extremely important to drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after the activity.
Drink Up -- Before, During and After
A good guideline to use when preparing for an outdoor workout, whether it's walking, running, biking, or tennis, is to drink about two cups of fluid two hours before the activity. That helps make sure you are well-hydrated before you ever go outdoors. Then, during the activity, try to drink 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes to keep your muscles well-hydrated. If you are planning an hour-long walk or gym workout, fill a water bottle with about 16 ounces (2 cups) and take it with you. It is recommended that tactical athletes drink half their body weight (pounds) in ounces of water at a minimum, not counting exercise. (Ex. 150 pounds/2 = 75 ounces water per day).
High-Risk and Prohibited Items
The OPSS.org website is also a valuable resource for Marines to stay informed on the dietary supplement ingredients deemed High-risk or Prohibited by the Department of Defense.
Some dietary supplement products contain stimulants, steroids, hormone-like ingredients, controlled substances, unapproved drugs, or even prescription drugs. The OPSS High-Risk Supplement List helps you identify supplements that might pose a potential risk to your health or career. Not all supplements on the list contain illegal or banned ingredients, but all pose potential health risks. In addition, the list is not exhaustive; many unsafe products exist that are not on this list.
Prohibited ingredients are stated as such if they have at one time appeared, or currently appear, as ingredients in products labeled as dietary supplements that FDA or the U.S. Armed Services have disallowed for one reason or other. Since DoD follows federal guidelines with regard to dietary supplements, this list is provided to help Military Service Members keep track of things to avoid when considering dietary supplement products and is updated on a real-time basis.