For many people who aren’t already well-versed in the world of nutrition, the difference between nutraceuticals and supplements can be confusing. Unfortunately, this is not helped by the fact that the two terms are often used interchangeably. Here is a breakdown of the differences, and what benefits there are to choosing nutraceuticals instead of over-the-counter supplements.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, enacted by Congress in 1994, defines a supplement as a substance meant to fortify the diet and contains a herb, amino acid, vitamin or mineral, or a combination, or a concentration of ingredients. Supplements are intended to be ingested in the form of a tablet, liquid, pill, powder or capsule, are not considered food and are labeled as dietary supplements.
Furthermore, the ingredients used in supplements are typically only food-grade. They are usually sourced from a third party, and they normally receive little or no testing to ensure safety, quality, potency or purity. With many supplements, particularly vitamins and minerals, inferior forms of the substances are used, resulting in poor bioavailability (the ability to be absorbed).
Nutraceuticals are defined as a kind of supplement that provides a concentrated source of biologically active ingredients from foods that are supplied in a non-food form. These products are intended to improve overall health and are formulated in dosages much higher than those found naturally in the diet.
Some nutraceuticals are intended to treat or prevent a variety of health problems and chronic diseases or to increase physical performance. They use pharmaceutical grade (USP) ingredients and undergo rigorous testing for safety, purity, potency and quality, and the ingredients may be produced on-site by the same company or sourced from elsewhere with great care. Because of their superior potency and high dosages, they are typically only provided by licensed physicians.
The Benefits of Nutraceuticals
Although over-the-counter dietary supplements may be acceptable in some cases, nutraceuticals offer a more comprehensive and effective approach to safeguarding and maintaining your overall health and well-being. Here are some of the main benefits you can expect:
- The biologically active formulation ensures that your body can absorb the product well, thereby, providing optimal health benefits.
- Despite their higher price, nutraceuticals are typically more cost-effective than supplements due to the superior bioavailability of their ingredients.
- The high doses of nutrients often found in nutraceuticals are helpful for reversing and preventing deficiencies. This is important since the modern diet usually fails to provide sufficient quantities of many essential vitamins and minerals.
- Pharmaceutical grade ingredients and rigorous testing ensure that you’re getting only the safest and highest quality products. Supplements are not required to adhere to these standards, and there have been many reports of serious illnesses and side effects caused by tainted and unreported ingredients, as well as undeclared food allergens.
- The fact that nutraceuticals are usually only available from a doctor means that you’re more likely to end up with the products that best suit your particular nutritional needs.
If you’re looking for the right nutraceuticals to benefit your patients, contact the Doctors Supplements Store. We are dedicated to making it easier for doctors to distribute supplements. If you’re interested, you can contact us today to get started.