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Nutraceuticals: Functional Food Products




  • These are the food products that contain extra health benefits in addition to the basic nutritive value it contains. The term ‘’nutraceutical’’ consists of two words, nutrient means nourishing food component and ceutical is derived from pharmaceutical which means a drug. In other words, these are the medicinal foods beneficial to our health. The name was suggested by Stephen DeFelice in 1989, he was the chairman of an American organization “the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine”, located in Cranford, New Jersey. The purpose of these food products is to cure diseases with the help of ordinary food items. The Indians, Egyptians, Chinese and some other civilizations used food as medicine. The modern nutraceutical market began to develop in Japan in the 1980s. Natural herbs and spices are used as folk medicine for centuries throughout Asia; the nutraceutical industry has grown alongside the expansion of modern medicinal technology.

    In some countries, it has no legal value. In the United States of America, it is not registered in law; it may be a food supplement or a drug. Different international companies marketed them in the form of Vitamins, Minerals, Herbals, Non-Herbals and others. These are often available in the form of concentrated liquid, capsule, powder or in the form of pills. It may be in the form of food supplements, herbal drugs, soups, and beverages. Some companies claimed about extra health benefits of these products. Specific components and ingredients are added in food products to give them physiological benefit along with nutritional value addition. These products reduce the chronic diseases, lower the risk of contamination and provide a health benefit in addition to normal nutrients the food product contains. Medicinal food items should be used with the help of a physician and with the help of a food management system produced with the help of a medicinal evaluation.

    These products attracted a large number of people because of their safe use, nutritive value and lower risk of contamination. They could have a role in biological processes, including antioxidant defenses, gene expression, and cell proliferation and safeguarding of mitochondrial integrity. They support the general metabolism of the human body and have an effect on aging process. They are sources of prevention against life-threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and many types of infections. They also modify the oxidative stresses including, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, eye conditions, Parkinson’s diseases and obesity. Everyone consumes food in daily life; if we will be able to get benefited with our regular food it would change the scenario of medication.

    Written By:

    Umer Nadeem

    Data Contributed by: Jazib Ali, Ali Raza, Ahtasham ul Hassan and Saad Ullah.

    Department: Centre for Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology (CABB)

    University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

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