When it comes to health, there are two main types of products available: supplements and prescription drugs. While both are designed to improve health, there are some key differences between the two. Unlike drugs, supplements are regulated after they are marketed, meaning that no regulatory body evaluates the content or safety of supplements before selling them to consumers. Compared to prescription drugs, supplements don't necessarily need a prescription from a doctor.
Dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, not as drugs. However, many dietary supplements contain ingredients that have strong biological effects that may conflict with a medication you are taking or with a medical condition you may have. Products that contain hidden drugs are also sometimes falsely marketed as dietary supplements, putting consumers at even greater risk. For these reasons, it's important to consult with a health professional before using any dietary supplement.
Pharmaceutical supplements consist of the former being whole foods rich in nutrients, while the latter are pills and tablets that contain an isolated nutrient. There's no guarantee that a single nutraceutical, dietary supplement, or functional food will solve a specific health problem, but they can help improve overall health. The manufacture of prescription pharmaceutical products is regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires consistency and quality assurance standards. Supplements, on the other hand, don't necessarily pass FDA evaluation before being made available to the public.
The Goal of Prescription DrugsThe goal of prescription drugs is to provide a cure if not to maintain and improve the body's current state.
However, doctors sometimes recommend specific supplements and always recommend healthy lifestyle changes as preventive measures.