In an increasingly health conscious culture, US citizens are growing more and more aware of the preservatives and hormones in the foods we eat.  We hear it everywhere, from BPA-free water bottles, steroid-free meats, to organic fruits and vegetables. Parents everywhere are concerned about the chemicals in their children’s vaccinations, and with advancements in medicine and technology, we are much more knowledgeable about contraindications (a drug, procedure, or surgery should not be used because it may be harmful to the individual, defined) and side effects of pharmaceuticals. 

Indian, Egyptian, Chinese and Sumerian civilizations have historically used food as medicine. The modern day nutraceutical market got it’s start in Japan during the 1980s.  However, it wasn’t until 1989, that Stephen L. DeFelice, the founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovation Medicine, coined the term, “Nutraceutical” as a substance derived from food sources that reportedly offer extra health benefits (in addition to basic nutritional value) and physiological benefits to the consumer. Nutraceuticals claim to prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay aging, or support the structure and/or function of the body.

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Nutraceuticals are in the same category as dietary supplements and food additives, according to the FDA under the authorization of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Because nutraceuticals are not defined by US law, they are not heavily regulated.  Consumers and critics have questioned if nutraceuticals and bioceuticals provide more benefits than risks.  Efficacy testing is based on small studies, which again have not been heavily overseen or controlled.  In recent years, Dannon yogurt was forced to pay millions after making false claims about boosts to the immune system.  This kind of claim is an example of the marketing hype associated with nutraceuticals. Considering the lack of clinical studies, consumers may presume nutraceuticals or dietary supplements are safer than synthetic substances, however, they may be gravely incorrect.

AvKARE, and many other pharmaceutical companies, offer nutraceuticals like CO Q 10, Condroitin/Glucosamine, Glutamine, and Fish Oil. Personally, I don’t believe there is any way to replace pharmaceuticals with nutraceuticals altogether, as the research and development of modern day medicine have found preventative aids and curative measures for many ailments or diseases in many different forms. In addition to eating healthier, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of exercise, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals work together to minimize our nutritional deficiencies and extend our life expectancy.

Stay healthy, my friends.