What are the differences between food supplements and medical products?

Medicinal products are intended to heal, alleviate, prevent or identify diseases, suffering, physical defects or health disorders, to replace active substances produced by the human or animal body, or to influence the condition, state or function of the body or mental state. Their ingredients are pharmacologically active. Their quality, efficacy and safety must be proven. Besides other important information on safe use, possible side effects, which may occur during proper intake, must be listed in the package insert.


Food supplements are categorized as foods. They are intended to supplement the diet and must be safe. Today, more than 70 percent of Americans trust dietary supplements and use them as a way to complement inadequate diets and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As more and more consumers experience the health benefits of dietary supplements, major research institutions are validating their experience and the efficacy and safety of these products. According to a study published in the Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA), adverse drug reactions, resulting from prescription and over-the-counter drugs, cause more than 100,000 deaths a year. Furthermore, the study estimates that 2.2 million people annually experience a serious adverse drug reaction. In addition, Nature’s Impact has reported that dietary supplements are far safer to consume than foods, causing 1/60,000 as many deaths as foods each year. Consumers can check the safety of dietary supplements over the last two decades by comparing the incidence of deaths from all causes that are reported in either the Journal of Emergency Medicine or by the American Association of Poison Control Centers in Washington, D.C. These scientific studies serve to substantiate the fact that dietary supplements have an enviable safety record when compared to other commonly consumed products.