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J Nutr. 2013 Nov;143(11):1811S-1814S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.176859. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Efficacy and safety of protein supplements for U.S. Armed Forces personnel: consensus statement.

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  • 1Military Nutrition Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.


To provide evidence-based guidance regarding the efficacy and safety of dietary protein supplement (PS) use by members of the U.S. Armed Forces, a panel of internationally recognized experts in the fields of protein metabolism and dietary supplement research was convened by the Department of Defense Center Alliance for Dietary Supplement Research and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. To develop a consensus statement, potential benefits, risks, and strategies to optimize military performance through PS use were considered in the context of specific warfighter populations and occupational demands. To maintain muscle mass, strength, and performance during periods of substantial metabolic demand and concomitant negative energy balance the panel recommended that warfighters consume 1.5-2.0 g · kg(-1) · d(-1) of protein. However, if metabolic demand is low, such as in garrison, protein intake should equal the current Military Dietary Reference Intake (0.8-1.5 g · kg(-1) · d(-1)). Although PS use generally appears to be safe for healthy adults, warfighters should be educated on PS quality, given quality-control and contamination concerns with commercial dietary supplements. To achieve recommended protein intakes, the panel strongly urges consumption of high-quality protein-containing whole foods. However, when impractical, the use of PSs (20-25 g per serving or 0.25-0.3 g · kg(-1) per meal), particularly after periods of strenuous physical activity (e.g., military training, combat patrols, and exercise), is acceptable. The committee acknowledges the need for further study of protein requirements for extreme, military-specific environmental conditions and whether unique metabolic stressors associated with military service alter protein requirements for aging warfighters.

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