THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES FOR DIETARY SUPPLEMENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMEMT

While dietary supplements are not to be used to prevent or treat disease, at law, integrative medicine has embraced botanical and nutritional approaches to disease management. There may be a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of some nutraceuticals in disease management. This has precipitated research and development strategies to develop bulk, natural reagents that can be used in herbal or nutritional medicine. New standards are emerging in the design and formulation of functional food and dietary supplements, with more emphasis placed on the use of synergistic combinations of herbs, botanicals and nutrients. While many dietary supplement formulations are empiric, good scientific agreement implies that combinations of natural substances can be used to support or modify body structures and functions in a manner that produces valid therapeutic options. Many dietary supplements may be obsolete in their application in professional practice because healthcare consumers are expecting that practitioners of natural medicine can provide natural treatment options that can be distinguished as superior to regular retail dietary supplements found in health food stores or mass market locations. Physicians and their patients are questioning the scientific basis for the use of many dietary supplements, given their clear role in the medical management of several important public health initiatives.

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