FASIHA FAYYAZ KHAN
“ Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” Hippocrates”
Presently “nutraceuticals” are globally recognized as play a major role in health improvement. The concept of “Nutraceticals” was introduced by Dr Stephen DeFelice in 1989 as combining term of “Nutrition” and “Pharmaceutical” together. Therefore, “nutraceutical” is any material which may be included a food or its part which provides health or medical benefits, prevention and treatment of diseases. Such food products may have variety of range like isolated, dietary supplements, and genetic modified “designer” foods, herbal and processed foods like soups, fortified drinks and cereals. Currently there are 470 nutracetical and functional food products are offered health benefits.
The term “nutraceutical” has lot of misunderstanding with other terminologies like “functional foods”, “dietary supplements”, “designer foods”, “medical foods”, “pharmafoods”, “phytochemicals”, vice versa. “Pharmaceuticals” are taken as drugs which used mostly to cater diseases, where as “nutraceuticals” are advised to prevent the diseases. As pharmaceuticals are needs to patent protection and expensive research activities to confirm the specification of the pharmaceutical substances. The diseases can cured and prevented by both pharmaceuticals and nutrients, however only pharmaceuticals have governmental authorization. Sometimes “nutraceuticals” referred as “functional foods”, and a controversial debate. The functional foods provide the basic nutrients which are required by the body for healthy living. Thus functional food supports in the prevention and treatment of diseases or disorders, deficient conditions such as anemia then it is called a “nutraceutical”, for example in case of citrus fruit the juice is nutrient and ascorbic acid its component is a pharmaceutical.
There are certain important nutraceuticals like glucosamine (for arthritis), gingseng(for cold), Echinacea (anti-immune), folic acid, cod liver capsules. Nutraceuticals having therapeutic advantages. They are also claimed to having physiological benefits with protective shield against the diseases like cardiovascular diseases, antiobese agents, antidiabetics, anticancer agents, immune boosters, chronic inflammatory disorders, degenerative diseases. However, in this review try to focus on these diseases and nutraceutical role in their prevention.
In current scenario of diseases, due to our life style nutraceuticals are gaining importance. Now a days they are considered as much as beneficial to curing diseases like CVDs, obesity, diabetes, cancer, constipation. Nutraceuticals have great potential to interfere in biological process, gene expression, signaling transduction pathways, and cell organelles. The diets which have appropriate portion of fruits and vegetables have health benefits. Nutraceuticals are considered as cheap source of available nutrients. Public awareness is necessary about the daily recommended doses. So it is advisable that our diets must contain sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables to reduce the chances of diseases. (Reference can be provided on request)