As healthcare costs continue to rise to an all-time high of $3.5 trillion (with 86% of those healthcare dollars spent on mental and chronic health conditions), more and more people are trying alternative therapies over the traditional medical route (which consists of medications, injections, and surgeries). Those alternative therapies include the realm of supplementation. The supplementation industry is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because supplements are naturally occurring compounds and therefore are not considered drugs. Since supplements aren’t considered drugs, there’s a potential of your supplements not containing what is printed on the label as well as the potential of other compounds found in the supplement that can be detrimental (more information can be read here). Medical food is different, in which it falls in-between supplements and prescription drugs (under the category of nutraceuticals).
According to the FDA, medical food is “a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.” In other words, it is a food that is fortified and scientifically proven (“claims”) to treat a disease or condition and is reviewed by the FDA. These fortified medical foods most likely come in powder form and consumed easiest in shake form. One thing to keep in mind is that there are many supplement companies that sell shakes, and the vast majority of them should not have any sort of “claim” behind them (because they haven’t been reviewed by the FDA). That would make that product a supplement still, because that “claim” hasn’t been proven by the FDA. If someone is selling you a product that “claims” something and hasn’t been reviewed by the FDA, I would avoid that product because that company probably isn’t high quality. There may be research studies associated with that product, however, the studies could be low quality or yield low results that are made to seem better than what they actually are. Long story short, be sure to do your research on any product and company (specifically) and see if they are reputable.
Supplements are still a good thing to include into your daily routine, to help get optimal levels of vitamins and minerals that you may not get from your healthy diet. Supplements should NOT be a replacement of a healthy diet, in other words, you shouldn’t eat unhealthy food and take a supplement to counteract the poor food choices and expect to be healthy. That’s not how supplements work. High quality supplements could help prevent disease and conditions, but if those diseases or conditions were to occur, medical foods can be utilized to overcome them.
Medical foods that are utilized at Functional Wellness and Chiropractic Center help with the following: symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), metabolic detoxification, alkalization, heavy metal metabolism, compromised gut function with malabsorption and irritable bowel disease (IBD), abnormal lipid levels (dyslipidemia), glucose response management (insulin release), and sarcopenia (muscle wasting disease). If there are any questions in regards to the medical foods or quality of supplements, feel free to read other blogs or contact us at Functional Wellness and Chiropractic Center to learn more!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Johnson, Doctor of Chiropractic and Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition as well as owner of Functional Wellness and Chiropractic Center in Madison, WI, is a functional medicine doctor that identifies root causes of pain and/or dysfunction. His systems-based, not symptoms-based, approach is a comprehensive, holistic approach that helps identify mental, chemical, and physical stressors that are underlying numerous health conditions. If you are in the Madison, Middleton, Verona, Waunakee area and looking to not only feel better, but live better, contact Dr. Eric at (608) 203-9272.
Abutaleb Y. US healthcare spending to climb 5.3 percent in 2018: agency. Reuters.com. 2018 Feb 14. [accessed 2018 Apr 18]. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-spending/u-s-healthcare-spending-to-climb-5-3-percent-in-2018-agency-idUSKCN1FY2ZD
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic diseases: the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. CDC.gov. 2017 Jun 28. [accessed 2018 Apr 18]. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
U.S. Food and Drugs Administration. Medical foods guidance documents and regulatory information. FDA.gov. 2017 Dec 06. [accessed 2018 Apr 20]. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/MedicalFoods/default.htm