Medical Foods vs. Dietary Supplements

Medical foods are often confused with dietary supplements- perhaps because both may contain nutritional ingredients; however, the terms are not interchangeable and fall within discrete regulatory classification.


Medical foods are intended to:

  • Provide support for the nutritional management of a specific disease or condition that has distinct and established nutritional requirements
  • Be used under the supervision of a physician
  • Support those who have trouble digesting and absorbing food and certain nutrients and cannot nutritionally manage their condition though diet modification alone


Dietary supplements and functional foods are intended to:

  • Provide nutritional support for healthy people
  • Provide nutrients or dietary ingredients intended to affect normal structure or function in humans

Medical Food