What Is A Medical Food?

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Sounds enticing doesn’t it? A medical food.

Also sounds a little ambiguous and a little ominous.

Medical foods continue to be of interest to food companies who are continuing to develop and market medical foods.

What Is A Medical Food?

What is a medical food? Advantages and disadvantages of 'medical foods'.The U.S. Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines a medical food in the Orphan Drug Act. Medical foods are supplemental and designed to assist by dietary management the specific symptoms of a disease. The food is to be administered under the supervision of a doctor. Medical foods may be used with a physician’s guidance in addition to prescription drugs with the hope of helping some of the symptoms of a disease with supplemental assistance.

Consumers should be aware that while these foods may be tested by the manufacturers, the foods are not regulated by the FDA in the manner drugs are approved.

Examples Of Medical Foods

  • Theramine – inflammatory conditions
  • Trepadone – joint disorders
  • Sentra PM – sleep disorders
  • Lister V – viral infection
  • Hypertensa – hypertension
  • Vitaflo – metabolic disorders
  • Fostrap – chewing gum kidney patients
  • Eviendep – polyps
  • Recoclix – IBS


medical foodMedical foods are specially formulated for a specific disease or condition. The foods are manufactured and processed to ideally assist in the management of the disease; they do not occur naturally with a food. Diets designed for nutritional management of a disease are supplemented with the medical food as prescribed by a physician.

While some medical foods do require a prescription, the Orphan Drug Act states the medical foods must be under the supervision of a physician while undergoing active care for the condition.

Manufacturers Of Medical Foods

Manufacturers of medical foods cannot claim or market a medical food as a cure for a disease. Medical foods are not classified as drugs by the FDA and therefore do not require the same review or approval processes by the FDA.

The FDA does require labeling requirements just as the FDA requires for foods and allergy precautions. The FDA does require registration by manufacturers.

Companies Developing Medical Foods

Nestle SA, Group Damone SA, Targeted Medical Pharma and Accera are a few of the companies developing medical foods currently and for the future.