medical foods nutraceuticals are not the same as dietary supplements 62bc4b0fd18ec

Medical Foods & Nutraceuticals Are Not The Same As Dietary Supplements

Medical foods and nutraceuticals are different than supplements because these formulations are created to uniquely provide more benefits.

Medicals foods and nutraceuticals are specially formulated and used in functional and regenerative medicine specifically as a form of dietary management of a disease or condition that has distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by normal diet alone. Medical foods combined with nutraceuticals are much more than just a “shake” or an OTC supplement routinely purchased from Amazon or a health food store. A medical food is formulated to deliver targeted nutrition for the nutritional management of a single, specific condition diagnosed by a trained functional medicine physician.

Dietary supplements can be purchased over the counter by just about anyone. However, the law stipulates that medical foods and nutraceuticals must be used under the ongoing supervision of a healthcare practitioner. This is because patients who use medical foods have health conditions that require medical management to ensure that the right amount of medical food / nutraceuticals are administered and adjusted as needed by a trained medical professional.

Additionally, ingredients found within a medical food must be GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) while ingredients for dietary supplements are often not tested and have a very different set of standards. Dietary supplements over the counter (OTC) are not well regulated and most are not tested for purity of ingredients, contaminants, absorption/bioavailability, and stability of product.

All Functional Health brand medical foods and nutraceuticals offered at our practice are PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE and cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, which means that the ingredients are tested for purity prior to production; the products are tested after production to ensure that what is on the label is indeed in the product; the products go through an additional step of quality assurance where the nutraceutical is exposed to high heat and highly pressurized environment to simulate a 2 year shelf life to ensure that the product is 100% stable on the shelf through its expiration date printed on the bottle.


Only pharmaceutical grade products undergo these stringent quality control measures to ensure that there are no contaminants, fillers, counterfeit materials in these GMP certified medical foods and nutraceutical products manufactured using pharmaceutical grade equipment and stringent guidelines.

Dietary supplements are intended to provide nutritional support for people already in good health. Medical foods and nutraceuticals are formulated for dietary management of an existing disease/medical condition as diagnosed by your functional and regenerative medicine physician. Dietary supplements are designed to supplement the diet with one or more dietary ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, amino acids, botanicals, herbs, or enzymes. While dietary supplements may be taken without medical supervision (although it’s a good idea to take any supplement upon the recommendation and guidance of a nutraceutical expert). Medical foods and nutraceuticals are unique combinations of nutritional ingredients to support the management of a specific medical condition.

If you have a health condition that requires dietary management, or you are currently taking prescription medications for various conditions and would like to know if you can either lower your dosage, or transition to a drug free treatment option, give us a call so we can thoroughly evaluate your current treatment protocol with you.

Ask us if you could benefit from using a medical food or nutraceutical. We specialize in treating all medical conditions with drug-free options especially for those who are unable to tolerate their medications due to side effects or polypharmacy.  Often times, patients develop a tolerance to long term use of certain prescriptions as well, requiring higher dosage thus experience increased side effects that makes continuing impossible. We also offer opiod-free options for chronic pain management.


All medical foods and nutraceuticals offered at our practice have been thoroughly screened by Dr. Frances Mark, Pharm.D., who obtained her Doctorate degree in Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California at San Francisco / U.C.S.F. with over 2 decades of clinical experience.  For more information on functional medicine or to schedule your visit, contact us by calling or requesting your appointment online today.





Jeffrey Mark, M.D.

Dr. Frances Mark, Pharm.D.

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