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What is the difference between dietary supplements and drugs and vitamins

A balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It strengthens human health and immunity, helps to cope with diseases and restore strength. It is food that provides our body with everything it needs: energy, nutrients and biologically active substances, including various chemical elements, vitamins, and minerals.

And yet, a modern person is constantly faced with the problem of micronutrient deficiency – vitamins (hypovitaminosis) and macro- and microelements. For example, 10-15% of the urban and 13-35% of the rural population of Russia suffer from various diseases and pathologies associated with a lack of iodine in nutrition. A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, maintain the health of vision, brain and other systems and organs, is experienced by 80% of Russians.

Why doesn’t nutrition provide us with everything we need? According to experts, there are several reasons that can explain this problem.

Firstly, this is a decrease in the daily volume of food consumed with a simultaneous increase in its calorie content, which occurs due to a decrease in the proportion of vegetables and fruits in the diet and an increase in the proportion of fatty meat and so-called “fast” carbohydrates. The level of physical activity of a modern person is much lower than a hundred years ago, so we need less food. This circumstance has two unpleasant consequences: a modern person often overeats, but nutrients, vitamins and minerals enter his body in a much smaller amount than is required to maintain the most important physiological and biochemical processes.

Secondly, this is an unbalanced diet, which is followed by most of the population. For example, the diet of Russians is characterized by a predominance of fatty, sugar-rich, refined foods, poor in valuable micronutrients. In addition, due to economic hardships and rising food prices, many people are less likely to be able to afford good quality fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

Thirdly, the lack of micronutrients can also be caused by internal problems or diseases. For example, an imbalance in the intestinal microflora (dysbiosis), which is responsible for the synthesis of a certain amount of B vitamins and vitamin K, as well as for the general absorption of micronutrients.

Various biological food additives * and special preparations help to compensate for the lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet. There are different ways to use them. For example, they can be used to enrich certain foods. So, in some countries, national programs have been developed for water fluoridation, salt iodization, vitamins are added to bakery products. In addition, valuable nutrients can be produced in the form of dietary supplements, which are selected individually, depending on the needs of a particular person.

What are dietary supplements (BAA)

Dietary supplements, or biologically active additives, are complexes of useful substances, usually containing vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These can be both monopreparations, which include only one type of nutrient, and complex remedies, the components of which are specially selected to satisfy a person’s need for a certain set of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

The difference between dietary supplements and drugs

How do dietary supplements differ from drugs? Significant differences are the components that make up these funds, their purpose, as well as the procedure for state registration.

The fact is that medicines in all countries of the world go through a long path of state registration. In Russia, the Ministry of Health defines the procedure and is responsible for its implementation. It itself takes relatively little time – 160 days. But it may take years for the manufacturer to prepare for its passage, because for this it is necessary to draw up the so-called registration dossier of the drug. It includes documents with information not only on the production and purpose of the drug, but also reports on pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic and toxicological studies, the results of clinical studies of efficacy and safety.

Registration of dietary supplements is also a serious and responsible procedure. Rospotrebnadzor is responsible for its determination and implementation. Manufacturers of dietary supplements must confirm the safety of products through clinical trials.

This difference in approaches to organizing the registration procedure is not accidental. By definition, dietary supplements are intended to replenish the deficiency of certain substances in food, prevent and support the physiological activity of organs and systems, the body’s adaptability to environmental factors. It is no coincidence that biologically active additives are called “food” in everyday life.

Prescription of drugs is defined by the legislation of the Russian Federation as prevention, diagnosis, treatment of disease, rehabilitation, as well as preservation, prevention or termination of pregnancy. They can include potent ingredients that are not found in food and the need for which is not necessarily physiological. Therefore, medicines can be purchased exclusively in pharmacies, and many of them are only available with a doctor’s prescription. It is necessary to take them only as directed by a specialist.


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