What Is a Nutraceutical?

Many products are marketed as being beneficial for arthritis and joint health. Some are supplements while others classified as functional foods (a food product consumed as part of the daily diet that may offer benefit beyond nutrition) or nutraceuticals. Unlike prescription medications, dietary supplements, and functional foods, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration do not regulate nutraceuticals.

A nutraceutical is a food or food component that claims to have health benefits, including treatment and prevention of disease. In 1989, Stephen DeFelice, M.D., derived the term “nutraceutical” from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical.” Basically, it’s used as a marketing term.

As defined by Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which became law in 1994, a dietary supplement is a product (other than tobacco) that is intended to supplement the diet; contains one or more dietary ingredients (vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and other substances); is intended to be taken orally; and is labeled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement.


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