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Military Use Supplements for Strength, Slimming, Sleep

SAN DIEGOAlmost half of U.S. military personnel use dietary supplements, and many of them are seeking bodybuilding, weight loss and sleep benefits, according to a recent survey of more than 100,000 members of U.S. forces (Ann Epidemiol. 2012 May;22(5):318-30. DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.017).

Researchers at the Naval Health Research Center, collected self-reported data from106,698 active-duty, reserve and national guard participants of the Millennium Cohort Study in 2007 and 2008 on supplement use, physical activity and other behavioral data.

They found 46.7 percent of participants reported using at least one type of supplement, and 22 percent reported using multiple supplements. Men who are deployed were more likely to use bodybuilding supplements, whereas women who are deployed were more likely to use weight-loss supplements. Nearly 23 percent of men and more than 5 percent of women used bodybuilding supplements, and nearly 16 percent of men and 27 percent of women used weight-loss supplements.

Men and women reporting five or fewer hours of sleep per night were more likely to use energy supplements. Nearly 41 percent of male service members and 35 percent of female service members took some form of energy supplements.

The Marine Corp Times reported among men, 18.2 percent use bodybuilding supplements, 16.4 percent use energy supplements and 16.4 percent use eight loss supplements. Among women, 28.9 percent use bodybuilding supplements, 4.5 percent use energy supplements and 4.6 percent use weight loss supplements.

Supplement use was more common among Marines than other service members . Troops deployed overseas were more likely to use supplements to help bulk up or slim down. Most used them in combination with exercise, such as running or weight training, reported the Marine Corp Times.

Military personnel may want to add omega-3s to their supplements, as a 2011 study found the number of suicides among U.S. military personnel may be reduced with omega-3 supplementation.

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