Nutraceuticals vs. Pharmaceuticals: What’s the difference?
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Never has this proverb been more accurate than today. In addition to the most common chronic diseases, we find ourselves facing new viruses at an alarming rate.
In our quest to be healthier, we often hope for that one ideal treatment to heal and protect us. Do you need the clinical effectiveness of a pharmaceutical prescribed by your doctor? Or, are you better served by the natural benefits of nutraceuticals?
The good news is that we don’t have to choose. Both therapies can have their place in our health. In short, pharmaceuticals are the result of clinical trials aimed at treating specific diseases. Nutraceuticals are food-based substances, often originating from Eastern herb and medicine formulations, used for the prevention and treatment of diseases.
Depending on what ails you, both may be able to help. To better tell the difference between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, take a closer look at the most common places we seek healthcare and how both are used.
IN THE HOSPITAL, EXPECT PHARMACEUTICALS
Most of us, unfortunately, have been in the hospital at some point in our lives. The goal of the people working in an emergency room is to stabilize your medical condition and, frankly, keep you from dying.
In these dire situations, you’ll receive pharmaceuticals. FDA-approved, they’re used by hospitals, before, during, and after surgery. In general, these are medicines formulated in a laboratory and tested for their ability to solve specific problems.
Once the hospital decides you’re no longer in any immediate danger, they usually send you home or to a doctor for care. Other than in possible future dietary recommendations, nutraceuticals are rarely involved.
AT A TRADITIONAL DOCTOR’S OFFICES -EXPECT PHARMACEUTICALS AND SOME NUTRACEUTICALS
In contrast to hospitals, primary care and specialty offices focus mainly on the treatment and management of diseases. They want to either solve your health problems or prevent them from getting any worse.
Doctors in this setting will work mainly with pharmaceutical medicines. Why? For the most part, that’s what they trained on in medical school. Typically, they see your health through a lens of possible diseases based on your age and gender, i.e., high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. And they recommend medicines intending to improve your score on tests for these diseases.
Occasionally these doctors recommend nutraceuticals along with healthy lifestyle changes. Still, it’s important to remember, recommendations from primary care doctors usually come in response to an existing problem, not to prevent a future one. Most often, they schedule you for a follow-up visit and send you away with instructions on how to improve your health test scores.
AT WELLNESS CLINICS AND SELECT RETAILERS – EXPECT NUTRACEUTICALS
Unfortunately, many patients have needs that can’t be satisfied with prescription medicine. Others seek to avoid it whenever possible. Sometimes, in the case of physical pain or emotional burdens like anxiety, pharmaceuticals have limited effectiveness. Still, others find alternatives to poorly tolerated treatments like chemotherapy.
More and more, patients are turning to Chiropractors or other wellness professionals to fill the gap between the benefits of pharmaceuticals, and genuinely feeling better. Here the philosophy is different. Instead of a focus on fixing illness, like an auto shop, the focus of wellness professionals is on the body and mind as one system.
Wellness clinics and spas are where you’ll often find a host of nutraceuticals for your selection. And the professionals working there are usually trained on how they interact with the body systems. They’ll recommend specific supplements to rid your body of toxins, decrease inflammation, and bring its systems back into balance. Usually, nutraceuticals require your commitment to daily use.
AT HOME AND IN EVERYDAY LIFE, WHERE NUTRACEUTICALS DO THEIR BEST WORK
Ironically, at home and work is where we make our most important health decisions. It’s where we follow-through the promise of a healthier lifestyle. At home and the office is where we make little but important choices like a bagel versus fruit for breakfast or Facebook at lunch versus a brisk walk.
Home and work are also where we can do the most to prevent poor health, not just treat it. With the right commitment to nutraceuticals, you can live well versus recover from illnesses after they’ve struck.
Whether it’s boosting your immune health, energy level, or even your mood, they can help make your trips to the doctor and hospital less frequent. And while there’s no guarantee any single nutraceutical (or pharmaceutical) helps everyone, millions of people swear by them.
It’s impossible to discuss either pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals and not consider safety. As mentioned, pharmaceutical medicines require several years of testing on animals and humans to gain FDA approval. During these clinical trials, researchers carefully track and record side effects as well as the effectiveness of the drug. In this way, scientific data about pharmaceuticals is usually documented and easy to find.
And while this may lead you to believe pharmaceuticals must be safer to use, consider the benefit of time.
Because naturally occurring foods cannot be patented, most pharmaceutical companies are not willing to invest in similar research using nutraceuticals. That said, the foods used in them have existed for thousands of years in the diets of millions. As a result, they offer a proven level of tolerability unattainable by modern medicines.
NUTRACEUTICALS AND PHARMACEUTICALS: WE NEED THEM BOTH
In reality, no two human bodies are the same, and therefore, we all will have varying reactions to pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals. And in a world like ours with new health challenges every day, there is room for both.
You can sum up their difference in this way: use pharmaceuticals, when necessary to treat serious diseases and prevent death. Use nutraceuticals and the benefits of Eastern medicine, to also treat diseases and enhance life.
To learn more about JBK Wellness’ unique nutraceutical formulas, contact them today at (888) 610-4489.