Be in the Know: Dietary Supplements for Cognitive Performance

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Crawford C, Deuster PA 20(2). 132 - 135 (Journal Article)

Dietary supplements promoted for brain health and enhanced cognitive performance are becoming increasingly popular. Special Operations Forces (SOF) is likely a prime target for this market as they strive to continually optimize and then sustain their high level of performance at all times. When a dietary supplement hits the market, it is considered safe until it is proven otherwise; yet the majority have not been analyzed for quality or tested for safety. The authors describe issues related to products marketed for brain health and cognitive enhancement and focus on products brought to our attention by the operational communities. The overwhelming majority of product labels were found to be misbranded and some were found to contain prohibited ingredients and drugs. The problematic ingredients in these products are introduced. The Operation Supplement Safety scorecard algorithm is demonstrated as a tool to quickly screen a product for potential safety; it can be used in real-time when considering the use of any dietary supplement product. These resources are available to help SOF medical assets evaluate whether a product's claims may be deceiving and potentially harmful to the health or career of Operators.

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