A case report titled "Reduced G-Tolerance Associated with Supplement Use" published in the February 2011 Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, expounds upon the performance risks associated with supplements specific to high performance aircrew.

The case study involved a seasoned fighter pilot who experienced two episodes of visual degradation under moderate G load (4 to 5 Gs). The flight doc's medical evaluation revealed none of the usual factors associated with diminished G tolerance (dehydration, fatigue, poor diet, lack of exercise or illness) but did identify that the fighter pilot started a regimen of Vitamin B, Niacin and CoEnzyme Q10 two weeks prior to experiencing the event.

The combination of Niacin and CoEnzyme Q10 supplements caused an overall reduction in blood pressure and vascular resistance (Niacin is purported to reduce blood pressure, while CoEnzyme Q10 can lead to vasodilation effects). While a person with high blood pressure may seek these supplements to lower blood pressure, a fighter pilot (under G) needs both higher blood pressure and increased peripheral vascular resistance for adequate protection from effects of positive Gs.

-- Capt. Michael Bolduc
Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.