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Senior Couple in the Kitchen making a smootie

Just what is a Food for Special Medical Purpose (FSMP)?

Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) are specialised foods designed to meet a specific medical need.  They are different from food supplements because they have science and research behind them that allow them to be promoted for use for specific health conditions.  In the case of bonebalance™, the rationale for use is that it increases Bone Mineral Density. Food supplements for bone health can’t make such claims.

The range of people requiring FSMPs is very wide.  They may be taken to address food intolerances and inherited metabolic conditions but may also be taken by people living with chronic diseases.  The latter category may include types of cancer, cystic fibrosis, kidney failure and diseases of the lungs, muscular system and heart, amongst other physical conditions.  They may also be taken in response to some psychological and neurological conditions.

A FSMP can be a lifeline for patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly and one FSMP that is familiar to many people is powdered formula milk for babies.

FSMPs are NOT food supplements, they are much more!

It is easy to confuse the two, but it is also extremely important to stress the difference between them.

A food supplement can be any food whose purpose is to supplement a normal diet and is a concentrated source of either vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre and plant and/or herbal extracts which have a nutritional or physiological effect.

Food supplements are NOT medicinal products and cannot be used to treat or prevent diseases or modify physiological functions in people, and neither can they be claimed to do so.

FSMPs on the other hand are recognised to be for special medical purposes. They serve a defined medical purpose and are approved and regulated for specific use. Thanks to the scientific research behind FSMPs, there is a clear rationale that can be presented for the product’s use which, for bonebalance™ is that it increases bone mineral density.

Meet medical need with medical product

If you have a medical condition (such as osteopenia or osteoporosis) it makes sense to take something that has established science that shows it addresses your medical need.  Foods For Special Medical Purposes can give that reassurance where food supplements cannot.

A ‘level up’

Another way to think of this is that Foods for Special Medical Purposes are a ‘level up’ from food supplements. They are not quite a prescription medicine but the science and research they require to achieve an FSMP classification mean it can be said with confidence that they have been shown to meet a defined health need, in this case for osteoporosis.