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healing ways


the Orphan Drug Act of 1983,” explains Bill Shaddle, senior director of medical education at Metagenics, Inc. “Our nutra- ceuticals and medical foods are supported by verifiable science that provides solid evidence regarding the therapeutic benefits produced by ingredients in our products.” Te word nutraceutical, blending nutri-


tion and pharmaceutics, was coined in 1989 by Stephen L. DeFelice, the founder and chairman of the nonprofit Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, in Mountainside, New Jersey, which promotes clinical research and development of dietary supplements and foods specifically for their health benefits. Reputable companies that manufac-


UNDERSTANDING NUTRACEUTICALS


How They Differ from Health Store Supplements by Linda Sechrist


Savvy consumers seeking products that might help them achieve and maintain good health may be noticing two new categories: medical food and nutraceuticals.


M 32


edicalized terminology is now being used to describe certain products we may already have


been buying from brand-name dietary supplement companies and retailers, and they have a higher price tag. One common example: powdered protein meal-replacement shakes that can cost up to $16 more than a retail store brand, as nutraceutical and medical food purveyors want to differentiate their products as having clinical research and development behind them. This raises the bar on the quality of contents and assures consumers of third-party testing for proof of ingredients. Although both are regulated un-


der the Dietary Supplement Health and NA Triangle


www.natriangle.com


Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, there is no legal distinction between dietary supplements and nutraceuticals, yet each serves different purposes. Dietary supple- ments, comprising vitamins, minerals and/ or herbs and botanicals, are intended to enhance wellness among healthy adults. Nutraceuticals encompass nutrients,


foods or parts of foods used as medicine to provide health benefits beyond nutri- tion and combat chronic disease. Some of the most popular formulations involve botanicals like ginseng, ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and echinacea. “Medical foods, formulated for dietary


management of a specific medical condi- tion for which nutritional needs are unmet by a normal diet, are regulated under


ture private-label nutraceuticals, such as Metagenics and Xymogen, among others, research and develop products for func- tional nutrition and quality. While such products are solely distributed through partnerships with healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, nutritionists and pharmacists, some of the evidence-based, professional-grade formulas are available through online physician websites. Metagenics and Xymogen collaborate


with institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Bastyr University and National College of Natural Medicine in conduct- ing clinical research that demonstrates how their formulas impact healthy aging, cognitive function and overall health.


Federal Regulations Medical foods and nutraceuticals, orally administered dietary products formulated to support the management of conditions such as compromised gut function, age-related muscle loss, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 di- abetes and cardiovascular disease, are subject to standard food and safety labeling require- ments of the Federal Food, Drug and Cos- metic Act. Although they may be used under medical supervision, patients don’t need a prescription. Many healthcare practitioners, including dietitians, currently recommend them under a physician’s direction. Unlike pharmaceuticals, which are


accountable to the Food and Drug Admin- istration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, patent-protected and supported by expensive testing documentation, nutraceu- ticals are not. However, many manufacturers


Kseniya Tatarnikova/Shutterstock.com


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