When it comes to food supplements and nutraceuticals, there is a lot of confusion about what these terms mean. Both food supplements and nutraceuticals are regulated by the FDA, but they are not the same thing. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between food supplements and nutraceuticals.

There are two main types of dietary supplements that you can find in the market today - food supplements and nutraceuticals. They differ mainly in how they are marketed and what ingredients they contain. Find out about their benefits, research, and side effects. 

Food supplements are dietary products that contain nutrients that are not typically found in the diet. They are designed to supplement the diet and provide a specific set of nutrients. There are many different types of food supplements, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. Examples of food supplements include:

  • Vitamins: Vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B complex

  • Minerals: Calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc

  • Herbs: Ginseng, garlic, echinacea, saw palmetto

  • Amino acids: L-carnitine, glutamine

What Are Nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals are a type of food supplement that is designed to provide specific health benefits. Unlike traditional food supplements, which are typically just vitamins and minerals, nutraceuticals contain active ingredients that have been shown to have positive effects on health. While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of these supplements, many people take them daily to improve their overall health and well-being. 

With the rise of nutrition-related diseases, people are turning to nutraceuticals to improve their health. They come in many forms of isolated nutrients, including dietary supplements and herb-based products. However, it's important to make sure that quality is a high priority when choosing these types of products.

Dietary supplement products can be in many forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, energy bars, and liquids. As defined by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, “a dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient' intended to supplement the diet.

Difference Between Food Supplements and Nutraceuticals

There is a big difference between food supplements and nutraceuticals, although both are designed to improve your health. Food supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, not drugs. This means that they can be sold without a prescription and don’t have to go through the same safety and effectiveness testing that drugs do.

Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, are regulated as drugs. This means that they must meet the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness before they can be sold. Food supplements are generally less expensive than nutraceuticals and can be found in many stores.

Nutraceuticals are usually only available through your healthcare provider or online. When choosing a food supplement or nutraceutical, it’s important to read the label carefully to make sure you know what you’re getting and that it meets your needs. 

The bottom line food supplements and nutraceuticals are both designed to improve your health, but they work in different ways. Food supplements are regulated as foods, while nutraceuticals are regulated as drugs.

This means that food supplements don’t have to go through the same safety testing as nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are generally more expensive than food supplements and can only be found through your healthcare provider or online.

What Are The Benefits of Food Supplement and Nutraceuticals?

Food supplements and nutraceuticals offer a wide range of potential benefits. Disease prevention is another potential benefit of taking food supplements and nutraceuticals, but it is important to remember that these products are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and should not be used as such. A balanced diet and physical activity are still the best ways to prevent disease. Some of the most common benefits include:

Improved cardiovascular health

One of the most common benefits associated with food supplements and nutraceuticals is improved cardiovascular health. These products can help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Reduced inflammation and pain

Inflammation is a major cause of pain, stiffness, and swelling. Nutraceuticals that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients can help to reduce these symptoms.

Better joint function

Joint pain is a common problem, especially as we age. A joint supplement that contains chondroitin and an amino acid-like glucosamine can help to improve joint function and reduce pain.

Improved cognitive function

Some nutraceuticals, such as omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10, have been shown to improve cognitive function. This can be beneficial for those who are looking to sharpen their mind or protect their brain health as they age.

Reduced risk of some chronic diseases

Certain nutraceuticals, such as antioxidants, can help to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as cancer.

Enhanced sports performance

For athletes, taking certain food supplements and nutraceuticals can help to improve sports performance. Common examples include creatine and caffeine.

Side Effects Of Food Supplements and Nutraceuticals

It is possible to experience side effects when taking food supplements and nutraceuticals. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. Other possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking the supplement and consult your healthcare provider. Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.

Pros and Cons Of Food Supplements

There are pros and cons to taking food supplements. On the plus side, supplements can provide nutrients that you may not get from your diet, and they can help you reach your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, supplements can help fill in gaps in your diet if you're not getting enough of certain nutrients from food.

However, there are also some downsides to taking supplements. First, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it's important to choose a reputable brand. Additionally, taking too many supplements can be harmful to your health. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.


  • Can provide nutrients that you may not get from your diet

  • Can help you reach your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals

  • Can help fill in gaps in your diet if you're not getting enough of certain nutrients from food?


  • Can be harmful if you take too many

  • Can be expensive

  • Can be harmful if you take too many

  • Should be discussed with a doctor before starting

Pros and Cons Of Nutraceuticals

When it comes to taking care of our health, we are often told to focus on our diet and exercise routine. To get the most out of your diet, add dietary supplements and nutraceuticals to your food regimen. Nutritional supplements, derived from foods as well as herbs, extracts, and processed food products, can provide a host of benefits for individuals and can help with the prevention and treatment of illnesses.

However, there are other things that we can do to support our overall health and well-being. This is where nutraceuticals come in. Nutraceuticals are supplements that provide nutrients that we may not get enough of through our diet alone.

They can come in the form of pills, powders, or even foods. While they can offer many benefits, there are also some potential risks to consider before taking them.


  • Nutraceuticals can help fill nutrient gaps in our diets.

  • They can provide antioxidants and other compounds that can support our health.

  • Nutraceuticals can be a convenient way to get the nutrients we need.


  • The quality of nutraceuticals can vary greatly, so it’s important to choose a reputable brand.

  • Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in nutraceuticals.

  • There is a possibility of interactions between nutraceuticals and medications


There is a big difference between food supplements and nutraceuticals though both dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are effective ways to improve someone's health and overall wellness. Food supplements are regulated by the FDA and must meet certain standards, while nutraceuticals are not regulated and do not have to meet any specific standards.

Nutraceuticals are often more potent than food supplements, and they can have side effects that you should be aware of before taking them. Talk to your doctor before taking either food supplements or nutraceuticals to make sure they are right for you.