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Soldier deaths spur campaign against supplements

Army News Service

April 19, 2013

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A handful of the wrong dietary supplements could cause heat-related health issues for Soldiers. Before starting a diet in the sweltering Iraqi summer heat, Soldiers are encouraged to talk with a health professional first. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alexis Harrison)

A “David-and-Goliath” scenario, an Army installation commander standing up to a multi-billion-dollar industry over the deaths of three of his Soldiers, has borne fruit in a national Food and Drug Administration warning and the drugmaker’s decision to stop production of a controversial dietary supplement.

Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of Fort Bliss, Texas, and the 1st Armored Division, lauded USPlabs’s announcement that it would stop production of Jack3d.

The supplement contains dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, a stimulant popular among bodybuilders and dieters that the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, last week linked to elevated blood pressure and heart attacks.

Pittard’s crusade against the supplement began in 2011, when two Fort Bliss Soldiers, Pfc. Michael Sparling and Sgt. Demekia Cola, died of heart failure during physical training. Their autopsies reviewed that DMAA use was a contributing factor in their deaths.

Come Aug. 1, that rule will apply to all Soldiers, whether they are retirement-eligible or not.

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