Functional medicine providers often choose to use supplements as an alternative to prescription medication. (Some functional medicine providers don’t prescribe pharmaceutical medication, while others use both supplements and prescription medication.)
Nutritional supplements are a growing industry in medical practices as an alternative to pharmaceuticals and to support optimal wellness. This trend reflects the prominence of supplements in society in general. Supplement companies maintain a presence in print, radio and television advertising. It’s not uncommon for a warehouse “monthly mailer” to feature supplements in 25% of the ads. Supplements are big business.
One issue that both advocates and critics of nutritional supplements agree on is that quality matters. Consumers should protect themselves by understanding supplement regulation and the difference between most medical practice supplements and supplements available from other sources. Cheap over-the-counter supplements may not offer any benefits to consumers and may actually do harm.