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Publication Title | To Nutraceuticals and Back Rethinking a Concept

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Editorial
foods
Editorial
To Nutraceuticals and Back: Rethinking a Concept
To Nutraceuticals and Back: Rethinking a Concept
Antonello Santini * ID and Ettore Novellino DeApnatrotmnelnltooSfaPnhtairnmia*cayn,UdnEitvteorseitNyofveNlalipnooliFedericoII,ViaD.Montesano,49-80131Napoli,Italy;
ettore.novellino@unina.it
Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli Federico II, Via D. Montesano, 49‐80131 Napoli, Italy;
* Correspondence:asantini@unina.it;Tel.:+39-081-2539317;Fax:+39-081-678107 ettore.novellino@unina.it
* Correspondence: asantini@unina.it; Tel.: +39‐081‐2539317; Fax: +39‐081‐678107 Received: 4 August 2017; Accepted: 14 August 2017; Published: 5 September 2017
Received: 4 August 2017; Accepted: 14 August 2017; Published: 5 September 2017
The concept of nutraceuticals as pharma‐foods comes from far. This term is made from the two
The concept of nutraceuticals as pharma-foods comes from far. This term is made from the two words
words “nutrient” and “pharmaceutical”, was coined by Stephen DeFelice, and is defined as “a food
“nutrient” and “pharmaceutical”, was coined by Stephen DeFelice, and is defined as “a food or part of a
or part of a food that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment
food that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease” [1]. of a disease” [1].
ThTishdisedfienfintiiotinonleleaaddssttoaparrttiiaalloovverelralpapwiwthitthethdefidneitfiionnitiofnaofofoadfsouopdplesumpepnlte.mInefnact.t,bInothfact,
botchlacilmaibmenbefniceiafilceifafleectfsfefcotrshfeoarlthe;ahlotwh;ehvoerw,wevheilre,wnuhtirlaecneuttircaclseuarteicmalasdaerferomadfoeofdromrpfaortoodfoarfopoadr,tof
afofoodd,fosuopdpsluemppenletsmaernetssainreglseinsgulbestsaunbcsetsanucsesduasleodnealorneinorminixmtuirxetsurweisthwitthhethsceospceopoef oafddadindging micronutrients when the body is in need of them.
micronutrients when the body is in need of them.
The aspect outlined by DeFelice [1]—in particular the preventive aspect and the treatment of a
The aspect outlined by DeFelice [1]—in particular the preventive aspect and the treatment of disease—is absent in the definition and scope of food supplements, which can be an aid for the body
a disease—is absent in the definition and scope of food supplements, which can be an aid for the
but are not required to have a proven clinical efficacy on a health condition. Based on these
body but are not required to have a proven clinical efficacy on a health condition. Based on these
considerations, it hence appears of utmost importance to develop a new definition for nutraceuticals
considerations, it hence appears of utmost importance to develop a new definition for nutraceuticals
foreseeing their use “beyond the diet, before the drugs” as tools which can be able to prevent or delay
foreseeing their use “beyond the diet, before the drugs” as tools which can be able to prevent or
the onset of some asymptomatic long term pathological conditions (e.g. hypercholesterolemia,
delay the onset of some asymptomatic long term pathological conditions (e.g. hypercholesterolemia,
hypertriglyceridemia, etc.). The steps involved in a new nutraceutical formulation should start with
hypertriglyceridemia, etc.). The steps involved in a new nutraceutical formulation should start with
the identification of the target pathologic condition, in a way similar to what happens for drugs.
the identification of the target pathologic condition, in a way similar to what happens for drugs.
Figure 1 shows the steps to take when assessing the possible use of a nutraceutical. It is of utmost
Figure 1 shows the steps to take when assessing the possible use of a nutraceutical. It is of utmost importance the clinical target identification and the appropriate food matrix to use. The safety and
importance the clinical target identification and the appropriate food matrix to use. The safety and the in vitro
the in vitro and in vivo tests are crucial. The differences between nutraceuticals and food supplements
and in vivo tests are crucial. The differences between nutraceuticals and food supplements (e.g. mineral or
(e.g. mineral or protein food supplements) are also outlined, stressing the necessity of clinical proetevindefonocdesssuupbpslteamnteiantisn)gartehealhsoeaoltuhtleinffeidca, csytrefossringuttrhaecenuetciecasslsitybaosfecdlionnicasal feevtiyd, enffciecsacsyu,basntadntkiantoinwgnthe heamlthecehfafincaiscmy fofrancutitorna.ceuticals based on safety, efficacy, and known mechanism of action.
Figure 1. Food supplements and nutraceuticals. Figure 1. Food supplements and nutraceuticals.
Foods 2017, 6, 74; doi:10.3390/foods6090074 www.mdpi.com/journal/foods Foods 2017, 6, 74; doi:10.3390/foods6090074 www.mdpi.com/journal/foods

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