The term pharmaceutical grade is often mentioned within the dietary supplement industry without really explaining what it is. Although it sounds like a kind of a marketing trick, it is actually one of the strictest standards that drugs and supplements need meet to ensure purity.
If you are one of many consumers of dietary supplements, you ought to understand what this means.
What does pharmaceutical grade mean?
Pharmaceutical grade represents a standard of purity that is suitable for medical use. It refers to a state of 99% purity that contains no binders, additives, fillers, taste modifiers, dyes, and other substances. All drugs and supplements must undergo a rigorous approval process that is unique to the pharmaceutical industry.
Basically, there are three different grades of all products intended for human consumption:
- Feed grade
- Food grade
- Pharmaceutical grade
Food grade refers to the standards set for human consumption, and feed grade refers to the standard set for animal consumption. That means that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all products intended for human and animal consumption to meet certain standards – truthful labeling, production under sanitary conditions and safety. The US Pharmacopeia (USDA) is the facility that verifies that these safety standards have been met.
However, feed grade and human grade are less defined than pharmaceutical grade, and feed grade is often of the lowest quality of the three, due to the fact that it often does not meet the USDA standards.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical grade falls under far stricter standards that are monitored by the USP. The USP heavily regulates the manufacturing process of all drugs and supplements and provide a guarantee of safe consumption of a product. The USP closely monitors the production process to ensure the standard is being met.
Besides the standard of purity, it is mandatory for the products to be tested by an outside facility that is not the manufacturer. Lastly, random testing and sampling are also performed to evaluate the finished product.
In conclusion, a pharmaceutical grade product is any drug or supplement that is approved by the FDA and USP, which guarantees that the active substance meets established standards of purity and safety, thus ensuring human health and welfare after its use.
What Are The Advantages Of Pharmaceutical Grade Drugs And Supplements?
You get the certainty that the chosen dietary supplement contains all of the active ingredients listed on the label, with no additives, fillers, dyes, and other substances.
This allows for a better insight on the potential hazard of a drug or supplement – for example, a person who is not allergic to the main ingredient of a non-pharmaceutical guide drug or supplement may still get an allergic reaction if the allergen is present as an additive or filler.
For that reason, pharmaceutical grade ensures that drugs and supplements are completely devoid of harmful substances, especially for people with severe allergies.
Furthermore, this prevents the build-up of contaminants. Some added substance may be present in a supplement in very small amounts that may not be harmful, but prolonged exposure can lead to a significant buildup.
By providing larger amounts of the beneficial ingredient and omitting unnecessarily added substances, pharmaceutical grade also ensures the better efficacy of the supplement you are taking.
Can all drugs and supplements be of pharmaceutical grade?
In theory, most of them can, but in practice, that is not always the case. Here is why.
It is almost impossible to reach 100% purity. It is also very expensive to get to the highest percentages of purity. For example, it is often much cheaper to get a product from 50% to 98% purity than it is to get a product from 98% to 99%. This explains why some high-grade purity products are far more expensive.
Another reason for this is because many manufacturers use taste modifiers in their products. Although they do not meet the guidelines of pharmaceutical grade, they do not cause significant impurities.
On the other hand, some drugs and supplements require pharmaceutical excipients and fillers in order to have the desired physical and pharmacokinetic properties of the drug. This makes them inherently below the required purity standards of pharmaceutical grade.
Now that you have an overview of what pharmaceutical grade means you can choose the highest quality products. Not everything can be of pharmaceutical grade, but some products are readily available at this level of quality. If the best is readily available, why settle for anything less?