Nutraceutical is a term obtained from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutics.” The term applied to items that are derived from natural items, dietary enhancements (supplements), food regimens, and handled food varieties like cereals, soups, and drinks that other than sustenance are likewise utilized as medication.
The name was originated in 1989 by Stephen DeFelice. Creator and director of the Establishment for Development in Medication of an American company, situated in Cranford, New Jersey.
A nutraceutical item may be characterized as a substance, which has a physiological advantage or gives protection against chronic ailments. Nutraceuticals might be utilized to further develop health, delay aging, protect from serious diseases, increase life span, or help to maintain the structure and function of the body.
Commonly, nutraceuticals are characterized into four classes i.e.; dietary supplements, functional foods, therapeutic food, and farmaceuticals. Some well-known nutraceuticals involve ginseng, Echinacea, green tea, glucosamine, omega-3, lutein, folic acid, and cod liver oil. Most nutraceuticals have numerous helpful properties.
These days, nutraceuticals have gotten extensive interest because of potential nourishing, protection, and medicinal impacts. Current investigations have shown promising outcomes for these mixtures in different pathological complications like diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease (CVDs), cancer, and neurological issues. The ability to counteract this situation, most nutraceuticals have antioxidant activity.
1-Diabetes and Nutraceuticals
The most widely recognized type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes with 95% prevalence. Recently, a wide scope of natural dietary supplements and herbal drugs have been scientifically proved to help type 2 diabetes mellitus in preclinical investigations. In similarity to human estrogen, isoflavones are phytoestrogens. Soy isoflavones utilization has been related to the lower occurrence and death pace of type II diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease glucose tolerance in patients inclined to diabetes. Being an antioxidant, lipoic acid is utilized for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
2-Cardiovascular diseases and Nutraceuticals
CVD is a term that is utilized for problems of the heart and veins. In many cases CVD is preventable. Diet rich in vegetables and fruits proved to be beneficial against CVD. Nutraceuticals as nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n−3 PUFAs) along with exercise are suggested for the treatment of CVD. To reduce arterial disease, molecules such as polyphenols alter cellular metabolism and signaling. Ginger has intense antioxidants that help in different sicknesses including hypertension and palpitation. Flavonoids are generally present in vegetables, onion, endives, cruciferous, grapefruits, apples, cherries, pomegranate, berries, dark grapes, and red wine, and are accessible as flavones, flavanones, and flavanols, assuming a significant part in avoidance and relieving the CVD.
3-Alzheimer’s disease and Nutraceuticals
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). It is an incurable disease that eventually leads to death. By combating oxidative stress, nutraceutical antioxidants such as curcumin, lutein, lycopene, turmeric, and β-carotene may exert positive effects on AD. These compounds can postpone the development of dementias such as AD.
4-Cancer and Nutraceuticals
In developing countries, cancer has emerged as a major public health problem. It can be preventable if a healthy lifestyle and diet are introduced into a person’s life. Different colors of the food are due to the phytochemicals, that made groups called carotenoids. Due to their antioxidant properties and effectiveness, carotenoids help in cancer prevention. Recent interest in carotenoids has focused on the role of lycopene in human health, where it concentrates in the prostate, testes, skin, and adrenal to protect against cancer. In the inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth, plants that are rich in daidzein, biochanin, isoflavones, and genistein play a major role. By acting as antioxidants, citrus fruits flavonoids can protect against cancer. the polyphenolic phytochemicals exemplified by epigallocatechin gallate from tea, curcumin from curry, and soy isoflavones possess cancer chemopreventive properties.
Hamna Naveed (B.Sc. Hons Human Nutrition and Dietetics)