top of page



Just Say NO to Drugs?

Jon Rugg, Jenn McDaniel, Josh Rugg

I am the oldest of three children in my family {and the shortest, go figure!}. Growing up, the three of us become better known as the sandwich children because my youngest brother, Josh (pictured right), and I are very much alike and very much different from our middle brother, Jon (pictured left). Our biggest difference being health. From as early as I can remember, Josh and I were called the “sickies” of the family as oppose to Jon who was rarely sick and only suffered from sports related injuries. Most of my years were spent staring at the bottom of a toilet bowl praying I wouldn’t throw up...again! In my early years, my parents attributed my symptoms to just having a “weak stomach”. As I grew into my teen years, many assumed I had an eating disorder. Josh, on the other hand, grew up being rushed to the emergency room by my Dad after failed attempts to help my brother breath better with a steamy bathroom and Albuterol inhalation. As he entered college life, I was the one who first noticed that he had yet another health problem. My suspicions grew as he began to spend more time in the bathroom than me {and let me remind you I was a teenage girl who took pride in trying to look perfect!}.

Josh Rugg, Jenn McDaniel, Hospitalized

Naturally, Josh and I grew accustomed to doctor's offices, hospital procedures and seeing specialists until we were finally given a diagnosis. Thus, our search for treatment began. As most chronic sufferers can relate, the idea of needing a lot of drugs or one really strong drug becomes ingrained into your journey for wellness. Swallowing my first Advil and Aleve at age 23, I found pain control to be complicated and difficult. I did not want anything “strong” in fear of addiction, so I opted to try a prescription that was approved specifically for my diagnosis. Three weeks later, I developed cotton mouth, frequent sobbing for no apparent reason, difficulty focusing on tasks and began to lose what little precious weight I had. I quit the meds cold turkey and never looked back! My brother followed a similar medical journey and that is why I have become a nutrigenomic educator for a global nutraceutical company to this day.

So, what are the differences between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals?

Pharmaceuticals are defined by Oxford’s dictionary as, “relating to medicinal drugs, or their preparation, use or sale.” Pharmaceuticals are drugs that are brought to market through regulations defined by the FDA. You can click here to read more about how companies get approval through a New Drug Application (NDA). The process, testing and research is basically in the hands of the company introducing the new drug and reviewed by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) to ensure safety and effectiveness before reaching consumer.

Nutraceuticals {not even recognized by my spellcheck!} are defined by Webster’s dictionary as, “foodstuff...fortified food or dietary supplement that provide health benefits in addition to its basic nutritional value.” It is important to note that In the U.S. nutraceuticals are not regulated by the FDA in the same category as pharmaceuticals. Rather, they are regulated as dietary supplements and food additives under the the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. However, similar to pharmaceuticals, the company bringing a nutraceutical to market is responsible for their own testing and research for safety and effectiveness before reaching a consumer. The difference is that they do not have to seek FDA approval before going to market, but they better have good data to support their product because the FDA can enforce compliance as soon as the product hits the market. It is also important to note that nutraceuticals are regulated differently among countries. Click here for an article regarding nutraceutical regulations.

Now that we have distinguished between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, let’s discuss 3 responses to these two approaches in health.

1. Pharmaceutical Only Approach: In this approach, many people are of the thought that only pharmaceutical drugs are safe and effective. The other logistic to consider is that most pharmaceuticals are covered in part or entirely by insurance companies leading consumers to opt for a cost effective solution. Those who suffer from major or chronic illnesses require either ongoing financial support for long-term treatment and management or expensive short-term treatment for possible remission or "cure". Almost all pharmaceuticals are exclusively tested, researched and brought to market to treat a specific diagnosis. Therefore, pharmaceuticals can be optimal for targeted treatment.

The risk of pharmaceuticals only is that individuals react differently to treatment due to several other variations, such as other underlying health complications, drug interactions, demographics, etc. These drugs can sometimes be unforgiving if they are generalized too broad when they are formulated specifically. There is no way to predict how an individual will respond to pharmaceuticals. What works for one person may not for the other. Some pharmaceuticals are FDA approved despite knowing that harm (side effects) will be done in hopes to do good in the long run. Think cancer treatments in which good cells are killed along with the bad. This is a form of collateral damage in trying to do good. Pharmaceuticals are not perfect, but they have been known to be life saving!

2. Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Approach: If I have to be honest, this is the approach I currently fall in. Pharmaceuticals have their place, but often times the research lacks in long-term projected consequences. I believe that knowledge is a gift and I am for knowledge committed and dedicated to helping people live longer and better. The medical world has come a long way and to think that we have a fighting chance against something like cancer is amazing! Pharmaceuticals, however, can be limiting in the sense that they typically address problems that need solving rather than actual prevention. Doctors do their best to encourage healthy lifestyle, hospitals run free wellness programs, etc. But, it’s not until a problem is detected that a prescription is offered. Some drugs act as a sort of preventative, but the reality is that someone has been identified as at risk due to another symptom or diagnosis and the “preventive” drug tries to moderate the link between a current problem and a likely future problem.

Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, can complement lifestyle and even encourage healthy changes when individuals value and seek natural solutions. Even though nutraceuticals are not regulated in the same way as pharmaceuticals, they pose less of a risk of side effects and harm since they are natural nutrients. Those who see no value in nutraceuticals or think it’s dangerous might as well not eat! Potential risks related to taking nutraceuticals might include dosing and/or allergy. Just like food and vitamins, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing and if you are allergic to a particular food product than you have to be aware of ingredients. Unfortunately, just like healthy eating can be “inconvenient” for those not accustomed to a healthy lifestyle, nutraceuticals are inconvenient because they require both out-of-pocket cost and your time to research what is most beneficial for you. While nutraceuticals cannot make claims related to a certain diagnosis, treatment, or prevention, when done right, nutraceuticals can become an essential component to maintaining good health.

3. Nutraceutical Only Approach: Holistic, naturopathy, herbal supplements, etc are indeed on the rise as of late. Many have had such bad experiences with pharmaceuticals that they swing in the polar opposite direction. I admire their tenacity for healthy natural takes a lot of willpower, time and money. My observation is that these people are stronger and better for it. However, nutraceuticals alone cannot treat, prevent or cure all our least not yet. I blame this partially on the fact that they are not regulated and accepted by the market in the same manner as pharmaceuticals, nor do they get enough attention and credit from the medical industry at large. Our culture is split on the issues of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Some doctors will shoot down every single natural suggestion you present, while others see the value of both, but cannot “prescribe” you anything natural. There is a disconnect philosophically. I believe that nutraceuticals have extraordinary power and potential to perhaps one day become the only thing necessary, but we still have a ways to go in understanding nutrigenomics. In addition, our environmental factors in which we live may not be enough to sustain that ideal as a reality. Nonetheless, companies like ours are constantly uncovering new and better ways of bio-hacking our genetic expression through nutrigenomic research. Our understanding of health down to the cellular level is increasing exponentially on a daily basis.

Since becoming a nutrigenomic educator and nutraceutical distributor, I can attest to my own experience that since taking the products we ship around the globe, my need for pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs has decreased dramatically. I’ve been in a sort of remission since November and I’m still fighting my skeptical pessimistic mindset. As someone who spent the majority of her life labelled as a “sickie”, it is hard to break free and identify as a healthy person (especially on those medical questionnaire that ask you to rate your health on a scale of poor to excellent). Instead of bracing for the next flare-up, the next fever, the next pain episode, I’m finally anticipating and expecting to check off another month of wellness and going for a personal record!

So, which approach do you think is most appropriate? Have you recently made a shift in your approach? Where does your doctor stand when it comes to these approaches?

We are open to hearing your thoughts and discussion on this matter. Thanks for learning with us! If you have any questions about The Nutrigenomic Life, please contact us at and we would love to talk. Follow our YouTube channel for free weekly teaching videos about genetics and business ethics!

We’ll see you next week!


FTC Disclosure: In order for us to support our website, blog and social media activities, we may receive monetary compensation for any endorsement, recommendation, review and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, we only recommend products and services that meet our standards. The Nutrigenomic Life participates in the TeloYears affiliate program designed to provide a means for our site to earn commission by referring customers to their cellular age testing.

All information on The Nutrigenomic Life is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership and collaboration with their healthcare providers. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medications, please consult with your physician.

#Nutrigenomics #Pharmaceutical #Nutraceutical #Supplements #PrescriptionDrugs