Pharmaceuticals are human-made or imitations of natural substances that the body needs to manufacture or utilize to maintain health, fight disease, or provide the body with the ingredients it needs. On the other hand, nutraceuticals are pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrients.The differences between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals are vast. There is also a place where the two types of products work together. Nutraceuticals can complement pharmaceutical product development, especially when the pharmaceutical has contraindications. If pharmaceuticals sciences are to fight disease, then nutraceutical sciences add to the preventative side of medicine. The human body uses nutrients to create the chemicals it needs to function. If our body does not receive the proper chemicals through dietary intake, then disease can begin.
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The difference between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals isn’t just about their composition and what they do, there are a lot of other factors to consider as well including:
- Marketing Limitations and Research
- Public Perception
One of the biggest cons of the pharmaceutical products is that they can cause side-effects. This is because the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals are not found in nature and the body must adjust to their presence. That adjustment can initiate an immune response which exhibits as a side effect.
Not all side effects are negative, and many pharmaceuticals become marketable due to their side effects. Perhaps the most famous example is the drug Viagra, which development was as a cardiac drug. The pros of pharmaceutical manufacturing include the ability to discover drugs that nature does not produce or that we have not found in nature. These medical breakthroughs help us fight diseases when a natural cure is not available.
The pros of working with nutraceuticals are that as naturally occurring compounds, they often do not produce side effects making them a better fit for many consumers and options for people who have reactions to pharmaceuticals that offer the same or nearly the same benefits.
The cons of working with nutraceuticals are that their available is limited by what we know or what is available naturally. Many pharmaceuticals are based on naturally occurring compounds.
Regulations represent big differences between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Pharmaceuticals almost always need a prescription from a doctor while nutraceuticals do not usually require a prescription. Most pharmaceuticals require that usage be under the guidance of a medical doctor. Nutraceuticals do not typically require medical supervision.
Nutraceuticals help address health issues before disease is present giving people the opportunity to be proactive about their health. However, nutraceuticals may not be available in exact or higher doses because they’re not as strictly regulated as pharmaceuticals.
Marketing Limitations and Research-
Pharmaceuticals are a product of scientific research that supports their claims for health improvement. Nutraceuticals are limited by the FDA as to what can and cannot appear in marketing for the product and specifically what must and must not appear on the label.
For example, the FDA requires that nutraceuticals have a disclaimer statement that indicates that the product is not a medication =and the FDA has not reviewed the statement or claims.
Pharmaceuticals are backed by medical research making their claims justified. Nutraceuticals cannot claim to be a medication, cure, or treatment for a specific disease under the rules and regulations of the FDA.
Nutraceuticals are much more affordable and, because they do not require a prescription, they are available to more consumers and often at a lower price than pharmaceuticals.
The big difference here is that consumers expect nutraceuticals to add to disease prevention as well as to help manage diseases. With pharmaceuticals, consumers expect that these drugs will simply treat the disease or health issue, not prevent it.
Does a person need a pharmaceutical to cure those diseases or a nutraceutical to correct a lifestyle choice? The answer for many consumers is that they need both. They need the pharmaceutical to remain healthy while the nutraceutical does of helping the body to recover.