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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 classifications.

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 through diet modification alone

Dietary supplements are intended to:

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

Medical Foods for Specific Conditions

Medical foods may be helpful for the nutritional management of chronic health conditions. Click to learn more.

Compromised Gut Function

Malabsorption is a clinical term that refers to the abnormal absorption of nutrients across

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common types of Inflammatory Bowel


Sarcopenia is defined as a condition of low lean mass in combination with reduced

Glucose Response

Glucose is one of the simplest forms of sugar. In the body, glucose is carried in the blood


Dyslipidemia is often defined as elevated total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

Endothelial Function

The health and functionality of the endothelial cell layer lining blood vessels play an

Get to Know the Science Behind Metagenics Medical Foods

Metagenics conducts research on medical food formulas and key ingredients to demonstrate positive clinical outcomes.

Key ingredient blends that are targeted for the nutritional management of a specific disease or condition offer unique benefits not accessible through diet alone.

We drive relevant insights in clinical nutrition through partnerships including those with Joslin Diabetes & Harvard Univ., Erasmus Medical Center, Cambridge Univ. UK, Cleveland Clinic, and more.

To ensure the purity of every ingredient and finished product, we conduct additional in-house testing for contaminants—such as heavy metals, microbes, and pesticides—as well as ingredients like gluten and lectins.

"Medical foods are designed to help restore function during early phases of declining health by managing the nutritional deficiencies affected by a specific condition or disorder."

Jeffrey Bland, PhD and former CSO, Metagenics

Delivering Advanced Clinical Nutrition

Fortified pea and rice protein

Complete vegan protein blend, with added free amino acids, that is easily digestable and absorbable

Designer carbohydrates

Features specialized types of prebiotic carbohydrates that are well tolerated and provide unique benefits for the nutritional management of specific conditions

Balanced-ratio micronutrients

Strategic blends in specific combinations to help manage nutritional deficiencies and imbalances that affect disease management

Healthy fats

Strategic blends of fats for targeted therapeutic benefits that are easily absorbed by the body and utilized for energy