Drugs vs. Supplements
According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended, Section 201(g)(1), the term drug is defined as an “article intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” Technically, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, herbs, or homeopathic remedies are not classified as drugs. However, these substances can have significant effects on physiology and must be used rationally.
We provide nutritional counseling and make individualized recommendations regarding use of these supplements in order to upgrade the quality of foods in a patient’s diet and to supply nutrition to support the physiological and biomechanical processes of the human body. Although these products may also be suggested with a specific therapeutic purpose in mind, their use is chiefly designed to support given aspects of metabolic function.
Use of nutritional supplements may be safely recommended for patients already using pharmaceutical medications (drugs), but some potentially harmful interactions may occur. For this reason, it is important to keep all of your healthcare providers fully informed about all medications and nutritional supplements, herbs, or hormones you may be taking. It is also important to consult with a health care provider who is trained and knowledgeable in the use, interactions and reactions that may occur as a results of using supplements.
We determine quality by considering:
- The quality of science behind the product
- The quality of the ingredients themselves
- The quality of the manufacturing process
- The synergism among product components
The brands of supplements that we recommend are those that meet our high standards and tend to produce predictable results. Our recommendations in no way reflect the entirety of what is available on the market, that is an impossible feat. But we have spent last last several years scouring the available products and have made our choices based on researching the available suppliers. We have partnered with Full Scripts due to their stringent requirements and procedures for dealing with supplement vendors. Once you register with them through our site you will have access to our specific recommendations under the ‘Categories’ tab. As well, you will have access to several hundred different manufacturers, but it is impossible to vet all these. Once you log in, you can click on Product Catalog, then on Categories and you will have access to the different categories we have set up as well as the specific vendors in those categories.
While these supplements may come at a higher financial cost than those found on the shelves of pharmacies or health food stores, the value must also include assurance of their purity, quality, bioavailability (ability to be properly absorbed and utilized by the body), and effectiveness. The chief reason we make these recommendations is to ensure quality and efficacy. You are not guaranteed the same level of quality when you purchase your supplements from the general marketplace. We are not suggesting that such products have no value; however, given the lack of stringent testing requirements for dietary supplements, product quality varies widely.
For those wanting to research supplements themselves, the best single resource currently available is https://www.consumerlab.com Even this resource isn’t 100% complete and accurate but it the best single resource on supplements, supplement claims and then individual product testing.
Legal Code Regarding Supplements
18VAC85-20-40. Vitamins, Minerals and Food Supplements.
A. The recommendation or direction for the use of vitamins, minerals or food supplements and the rationale for that recommendation shall be documented by the practitioner. The recommendation or direction shall be based upon a reasonable expectation that such use will result in a favorable patient outcome, including preventive practices, and that a greater benefit will be achieved than that which can be expected without such use.
B. Vitamins, minerals, or food supplements, or a combination of the three, shall not be sold, dispensed, recommended, prescribed, or suggested in doses that would be contraindicated based on the individual patient’s overall medical condition and medications.
C. The practitioner shall conform to the standards of his particular branch of the healing arts in the therapeutic application of vitamins, minerals or food supplement therapy.