Testing Positive: Could Your Supplements Cause You to Fail Your Drug Test?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark Soule
  • 185th ARW Equal Opportunity
With the new fitness regulations set in place for the Air force, military members young and old are doing what they can to get their bodies into peak physical condition.

Sometimes this means taking performance enhancing supplements. As we get older the body just does not seem to do what we would like it to. While advertisements claim supplements work wonders on our bodies, these products may contain ingredients banned in the military.

The list of banned substances is long and contains many ingredients that one may not think of as performance enhancing. Many of these banned substances can be found at the pharmacy or your own bathroom cabinet--namely in the form of prescriptions and dietary supplements. Every year, military members test positive because they have unintentionally taken a banned substance. To minimize the potential for positive tests, here is a list with helpful information.

Supplements are NOT FDA regulated. This means there is no guarantee that the list of ingredients on the bottle is accurate. Additional substances may be included that are not listed but could result in a positive drug test. Any supplements you take are AT YOUR OWN RISK.

AFI 44-120, Drug Abuse Testing Program prohibits Air Force members from ingesting anabolic steroids. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 prohibits the use of "pro-hormone" supplements without a prescription.

AFI 44-121, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment prohibits the ingestion of products containing hemp seed or hemp oil.

In 2004, The FDA and the military officially banned over-the-counter products containing ephedrine alkaloids. Some products that may contain ephedrine alkaloids include but are not limited to: ephedra, ma huang, ephedrine, ephedra sinica, sida cordifolia, pinellia, epitonin.

Although it is possible to ingest sufficient amounts of poppy seeds to trigger a positive screen for opiates with some drug tests, the current Air Force standard makes it unlikely to test positive after eating several poppy seed bagels.

In general, single product supplements like creatine, protein, and chromium piconolate, in their pure form, are not banned. Again there is no guarantee that other substances are not included.

Taking expired prescriptions or prescriptions belonging to other family members is illegal. The Air Force does test for some prescription medications to include pain killers.

Remember, when in doubt find out. Your military career may be at stake.

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