What Are Medical Foods?
This Article Adapted From "Medical Foods Part 1 From the Simply Health Blog"
There is a lot of confusion out there so let’s get into exactly what Medical Foods are and aren’t. Medical foods are foods that are specially formulated and intended for the dietary management of a disease that has distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by a normal diet alone.
The FDA of course has a much longer definition which is: “a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.” What kind of conditions are we talking about you ask? Irritable Bowel Disease would be one such condition which would encompass Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis and that’s just for starters. We’ll get into the other conditions in a future post but think things like sarcopenia, and compromised gut function in general. There have been medical foods specifically created to help with these conditions. Dietary Supplements on the other hand provide nutritional support for people that are considered healthy meaning they don’t have an identified disease that requires nutritional support but may need additional calcium as they age or they may have a dietary deficiency they are trying to make up for.
Top 3 Medical Food Uses:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the most common types of Inflammatory Bowel. The difference between the two is party based on location. Cronh’s can involve any location on the GI tract starting at the mouth and going to the perianal area. Ulcerative Colitis usually involves either the colon or the rectum
- Compromised Gut Function If you experience abnormal absorption of nutrients in your intestines that would be an example of compromised gut function. This could be caused by a lack of nutrient absorption further up in your body and may be related to medical conditions like celiac disease, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis or short bowel syndrome. The lack of nutrient absorption in this category can also be linked to bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract.
- Sarcopenia It literally means “lack of flesh” and it’s a condition of age-based muscle degeneration that becomes more common in people over 50. Some causes of Sarcopenia are aging related while others are preventable with a healthy diet and regular exercise. For those that may not be able to exercise due to injury or are experiencing rapid muscle loss a medical food recommended by their doctor may be an option to reduce the effects. The main ingredients that can help with Sarcopenia are protein, vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids and creatine.
Popular Medical Foods
So what are some of the most popular medical foods out there? From what we see in the marketplace and hear from customers, the company Metagenics has most of the most popular medical foods for the conditions we’ve focused on in this post. Although there are a wide range of supplements for GI related conditions when it comes to the actual “medical food” aspect this is where Metagenics excels. Recently Nutridyn has come out with the Inflam-Eze line of medical foods that are receiveing great reviews. Please note that none of these products should be taken without the express consent of your doctor and should be used in partnership with your doctor for your specific medical plan.