Dietary supplement use in U.S. Army Special Operations candidates

Mil Med. 1999 Jul;164(7):495-501.


We administered a dietary supplement survey to 2,215 males (mean age, 25 years; range, 18-47 years) entering U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger training schools. The survey contained questions on demographics and health as well as the use of vitamin, mineral, protein, pro-performance, and other cofactor supplements; answers were made on a five-point frequency scale. Eighty-five percent of the men reported past or present use of a supplement, 64% reported current use, and 35% reported daily use. Individuals using a supplement at least occasionally were significantly less likely to smoke (p < 0.05) and more likely to exercise on a daily basis. Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey data (1994) reported that 39% of males 20 to 39 years old used a dietary supplement at least occasionally. Our data indicate that the rate of supplement use in this study group was much higher than in the general population of young men. This observation supports the need to study more extensively the use and benefits or potential harm of dietary supplementation by otherwise healthy individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / education
  • Military Personnel / psychology
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins