By: Jaime C. Cua, M.S.Nutritional BiochemistNutrients aren’t drugs. We tend to think that some nutrients work exactly like drugs and to expect then to have specific effects on their own. Most nutrition research regards each nutrient as though it is a single factor with independent roles and effects to be assessed in isolation. For example, Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) is still based on the concept of single nutrient deficiency disease. Enrichment of food with few essential nutrients (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron) is also an example of this concept.The profound differences between drugs and nutrients should convince us not to confuse one with the other.(1) Drugs are foreign to the body.The moment a drug is taken, the body begins to break it down, detoxify and eliminate it. Indeed, many drugs have to be injected to bypass the liver which is the main organ of detoxification. Nutrients, on the other hand, are essential to the body which acts quickly to liberate and utilize them. The body also stores up nutrients for future use.(2) Drugs interfere with the metabolism of the body by affecting one of its biochemical pathways.On the other hand, nutrients support the metabolism of the body by filling gaps in the biochemical pathways.(3) Drugs have immediate and specific therapeutic activity.Nutrients have gradual and broad therapeutic effects.(4) Drugs can be dangerous when taken in combination.Nutrients need one another and work best in combination.(5) Drugs alleviate symptoms without dealing with the underlying causes.Nutrients work only by dealing with the underlying causes. (6) Drugs are toxic in any dose.Most have unwanted and serious side-effects. Nutrients, at the right dose and combination, are natural to the body. It is their absence that leads to disease, which only their presence can heal. (7) Drugs can wander inside the body aimlessly producing side effects in the process of achieving specific results.Nutrients exactly know where to go and what to do to produce the desired therapeutic effects. (8) Drugs provide symptomatic relief that is rapid but transient.Nutrients are slow in relieving symptoms but the relief is more permanent.