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8372 S. Lakshmana Prabu et al./ Elixir Pharmacy 46 (2012) 8372-8377
Available online at www.elixirpublishers.com (Elixir International Journal) Pharmacy
Elixir Pharmacy 46 (2012) 8372-8377
Nutraceuticals: A review
S. Lakshmana Prabu1,*, T.N.K. SuriyaPrakash2, C. Dinesh Kumar3, S. SureshKumar1 and T. Ragavendran1 1Department of Pharmaceutics Technology, Anna University of Technology, Tiruchirappalli – 620 024 2Department of Pharmaceutics, Periyar College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trichy – 620 021
3School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, International Medical University, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received: 7 March 2012; Received in revised form: 25 April 2012;
Accepted: 16 May 2012;
Keywords
Nutraceuticals, Functional foods, Herbals, Nutrient,
Dietary supplements.
ABSTRACT
Consumers are deeply concerned about how their health care is managed, administered and priced. They are frustrated with the expensive, high-tech disease treatment approach predominantly in modern medicine. Positioned at the interface between food and drugs, a growing body of products is assuming importance; the consumer is now looking for complementary or alternative beneficial products and that’s why nowadays they are using nutraceuticals. Increasingly, they are using natural dietary supplements and other forms of nutraceuticals as part of a tremendous surge to have physiological benefits or to provide protection against diseases. Functional foods and nutraceutical products represent a value added growth opportunity both domestically and internationally. Development of better characterized and research proven products will help enhance consumer confidence in nutraceutical and functional food products in the world. This article briefly discusses about the basic information about the nutraceuticals and its importance.
© 2012 Elixir All rights reserved.
Introduction
Industrialization has caused numerous air and water pollutions, soil and food contamination because of extensive use of various chemicals, heavy metals, electromagnetic waves, and other potentially harmful man-made items. These problems have led to an increased incidence of diabetes, obesity, different cancers and vascular diseases, physiological problems, as well as other degenerative diseases. The raised demands for health care have dramatically increased the cost of medical care. Therefore, people have tried to achieve a better quality of life by eating more vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods, taking dietary supplements or nutraceuticals, or using nutritional therapy or phytotherapy to replace chemotherapy or radiotherapy (1-3). Hence increasing demands for nutraceuticals, phytonutrients and their therapeutic services, manufacturers, marketers, and related licensed professionals have grown up accordingly.
Plants are one of the most important resources of human foods and medicines. Rapidly increasing knowledge on nutrition, medicine, and plant biotechnology has dramatically changed the concepts about food, health and agriculture, and brought in a revolution on them. With recent advances in medical and nutrition sciences, natural products and health- promoting foods have received extensive attention from both health professionals and the public.
New concepts have appeared with this trend, such as nutraceuticals, nutritional therapy, phytonutrients, and phytotherapy (4-6). These functional or medicinal foods and phytonutrients or phytomedicines play positive roles in enhancing health, and improving immune function to prevent specific diseases and also hold great promise to reduce side effects and health care cost (7).
Today we recognize the wisdom of the Greek physician Hippocrates’s often-quoted saying, made nearly 2,500 years ago,
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© 2012 Elixir All rights reserved
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Referred to the functional foods, dietary supplements, and nutraceuticals, these products have been defined as “any substance that may be considered a food or part of a food and provides medical and health benefits including the prevention and treatment of disease. Perhaps the most descriptive term used to refer to this part food/part dug products is “nutraceuticals”. This name was coined by Stephen DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, located in Cranford, New Jersey (8).
The term “nutraceutical” combines the word “nutrient” (a nourishing food or food component) with “pharmaceutical” (a medical drug). Nutraceuticals may contain substances that are “natural” expressed intent of treatment or prevention of disease but may not be generally recognized as safe (9).
Categories of nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals are non-specific biological therapies used to promote wellness, prevent malignant processes and control symptoms.
These can be grouped into the following categories (10): Nutrient: A feed constituent in a form and at a level that will help support the life of an animal. The chief classes of feed nutrients are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
Dietary Supplement: A product that contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: vitamin, mineral, herb or other botanical, amino acid (protein) and also includes the diet as concentrates, constituents, extracts or metabolites of these compounds.
Nutraceutical: Any nontoxic food component that has scientifically proven health benefits, including disease treatment and prevention.
Herbals: Herbs or botanical products as concentrates and extracts. Herbals are as old as human civilization and they

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