Members of the armed forces have plenty of rules that they need to follow, and finding a military-safe option when it comes to supplements can be an important part of maintaining your muscle without getting kicked out. A lot of soldiers have used them at one point in time, and there can also be some medical value in having supplements on hand, especially when recovering from injuries.
However, there is also a downside to using many of them, and armies have begun to notice them. Not only are there often restrictions on how supplements can be used (which vary from country to country and branch to branch), but there might also be unexpected risks that you will have to watch out for when choosing what you want to use.
What are military safe supplements?
A Military safe supplement is, as the name suggests, any supplement that is safe for members of the military to use. There are plenty of reasons why a soldier might choose to take supplements, especially if they are in an active combat role and could use the extra strength boosts to their advantage, but they have to be the right supplements.
The reason for this should be obvious: while military fitness is important and strong soldiers-in-training make good soldiers, risky supplements can do more harm than good, making it harder for that specific soldier to do their job safely. The survival of entire squads can rest on the health of one or two individual men and women, and officers do not want their soldiers dying from supplement overdoses or abuse.
Why do military personnel use supplements?
There are a few situations where natural supplement use is widespread in most militaries. The most obvious is training, since having the extra strength, stamina, and endurance to back you up could make it much easier to keep focused and improve your skills. Another is in actual combat zones since being slightly faster and tougher could be the difference between taking out an enemy or getting gunned down before you can react.
Quite a few soldiers use supplements before they even join the military and continue to use them throughout training and after they are fully inducted into whatever branch they have joined. Even in non-combat positions, supplement use can still be quite a common thing.
What counts as military-safe?
Different militaries have their own stances on how supplements can be used, with the US military being quite open to supplement use among the men and women in active service. They even created Operation Supplement Supply, a resource that they have used to outline which supplements are risky, as well as which ones are outright banned.
Of course, there will always be differences from one country to the next, as well as within different units. Commanding officers might even have their own preferences for how and where supplements are used, so no two soldiers will have the exact same experience.
Drug Test Results
Most armies agree that soldiers should under no circumstances be confirmed positive for a drug test. This means that any supplements which can cause a positive result, especially those that actively contain drugs as part of the ingredient list, should be avoided. In the Australian army, soldiers also have to avoid using any supplement that contains ingredients on the World Anti-Doping Agency list.
Remember that the army is held to a different standard than average civilians, so drugs being legal back home does not mean that soldiers have the right to use them in the same way. There might be exceptions depending on your role and the army you serve in, but most of the time, drug usage is considered a no-go area.
Supplements have to be safe, no matter what. Even if you accept the personal risks involved with taking a dangerous (or at least risky) supplement, that does not mean that the army has, and you will usually be punished for knowingly using stimulants or supplements that could cause permanent harm to your body or mental state.
Most armies are also very concerned with the idea of contamination or illegitimate supplement purchases since soldiers may use an otherwise safe supplement that has actually been modified to contain something else entirely. Not only can this lead to medical issues in the short-term, but there is always a chance that the contaminated supplements could be an enemy attempt at sabotage.
Most of the time, the army will be more lenient with supplement use if it is a natural supplement. A legal muscle builder that uses safe and naturally-sourced ingredients is a much more acceptable performance booster since it does not come with as many risks of long-term damage or other issues that could impact your performance in the field.
Sticking to natural supplements can also be an easier way to ensure that you are getting high-quality items, meaning that you are not going to get sick as easily from bad ingredients or poor quality checks. As a side note, natural ingredients are often a lot easier for doctors and medics to understand. If something does go wrong, it can be simpler for them to handle natural supplement ingredients rather than a cocktail of artificial chemicals.
Supplement use habits
Even if a military allows the use of supplements, they want them to be used properly. That means that you are not supposed to treat them as a replacement for other forms of nutrition, and addiction or obsession is still just as serious as it would be with dangerous substances. Whether you are using the supplement for military fitness training or to get an edge in combat, it is supposed to aid your natural improvement, not completely overtake things like regular training.
If a soldier can’t use supplements in a safe and productive way, then many officers might feel that they need to be cut away from supplement use for a while. The more disruptive the use of supplements becomes to normal drills and routines, the more attention will be placed on the soldier’s ability to actually serve correctly.
A good military safe supplement can be one of hundreds of different options. However, many supplements and substances are also banned in a lot of militaries, and there are even specific compounds and ingredients that cannot be allowed under any circumstances. All regulatory bodies are different, but you need to be aware of what you can and cannot use while you are in the military.
For example, Ephedra is banned in the US Military due to the high chance of spontaneous heart attacks and death, even while in the middle of a combat situation. Despite the relative safety, Kratom is another ingredient that usually gets banned since it has been known to cause hallucinations and dependencies that can make it hard for a soldier to focus.
Other drugs and supplements are banned simply because they have not been researched enough yet: SARMs and Vinpocetine are two examples of this, with neither necessarily being bad while also having no human use approval because they are a fairly unknown option. It goes without saying that the use of any psychoactive or psychedelic drug in the field is frowned upon and easily punishable, as are any supplements that can make a soldier lose mental focus.