Nutraceuticals Inspiring the Current Therapy for Lifestyle Diseases
The nutraceutical industry is a combination of ‘Nutrition’ & ‘Pharmaceuticals’. Nutraceuticals are actually used to produce optimal clinical benefits with minimal side effects. ‘Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’ was stressed by Hippocrates around 2000 years ago. Nutraceuticals are used as food or part of food that can have medicinal or health benefits, including disease prevention or treatment. Herbal nutraceuticals are effective tools to preserve health and function against acute and acute nutritionally induced activities. By supporting optimum fitness, longevity and quality of life, chronic diseases. Nutraceuticals are now part of the dietary landscape, Nutraceuticals are currently the industry’s fastest growing segments and the global nutraceutical market is valued at USD 117 billion.
There are various categories in nutraceutical vertical which are used for treatment of various lifestyle diseases which are as follows:
1) Dietary supplements:
- Vitamins, co-enzymes, minerals, carnitine
- Ginko bilba, Ginseng, Saint John’s wort
2) Functional foods:
- Oats, bran, psyllium & lignin’s for heart disease & colon disease
- Prebiotics- Oligofructose for control of intestinal flora
- Omega-3 milk in prevention of heart disease
- For cholesterol reduction, canola oil with reduced triglycerides
- Stanols (Benecol) in Cholesterol Adsorption Reduction
3) Medicinal foods:
- For immune enhancement, lactoferrin is quite helpful
- Transgenic oral vaccine plants against infectious diseases
- Health bars with drugs attached
4) Area covered by Nutraceutical products:
- Nutraceuticals have reached all clinical fields, such as anti-arthritis, pain killers, cold and cough, sleep disorders, digestion and prevention of some cancers, osteoporosis, blood pressure, cholesterol, depression and diabetes, etc.
Uses of Nutraceuticals in Different Therapeutic Areas:
Nutritional therapy uses nutritional therapeutics as a healing system. This therapy is based on the conviction that foods can not only provide nutrients and energy, but can also provide medicinal benefits. There are following examples that will help to understand:
- For cardiovascular diseases & eye sight:
Rice bran lowers the serum cholesterol levels in the blood, lowers the level of (LDL) and increases the level (HDL) in cardiovascular health. Higher the ratio more will be the risk of coronary heart diseases. Rice bran contains both Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which improves eyesight and reduces the chance of cataracts. The essential fatty acids, omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 and folic acid in rice bran are also promoting eye health.
- For diabetes:
There has been growing evidence in recent years that plant-food products Polyphenols may be special nutraceuticals and supplemental therapies for different aspects of type 2 diabetes mellitus due to their biological properties. The occurrence of long-term diabetes complications such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy can also be avoided by polyphenolic compounds.
- Obesity & constipation:
In obesity and constipation, buckwheat seed proteins play a beneficial function, acting close to natural fibres found in foods. Weight loss can be promoted by 5-hydroxytryptophan and green tea extract.
- Treatment of arthritis:
A common condition in which the end-point outcome in joint replacement surgery is arthritis. An alternative therapy for the pathological symptoms of arthritic disease is the use of nutraceuticals. Several clinical trials, animal feeding studies, and in vitro models that imitate cartilage degradation in arthritic disease have shown the effectiveness of fish oils (e.g. cod liver oil) in the diet. There is some evidence of other nutraceuticals other than that, such as green tea, herbal extracts, chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine.
- Treatment for gastro-intestinal:
The prevalence of diet-related diseases is increasingly growing in Western societies. Increased because of greater hypercaloric food supply and a sedentary lifestyle. Main diet-related pathologies that share a common pathogenic denominator of low-grade inflammation are obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurodegeneration. In view of their capacity to exert anti-inflammatory responses, functional foods and nutraceuticals may represent a novel therapeutic approach to preventing or attenuating diet-related diseases. In particular, activation of regulatory intestinal T cells and homeostatic control of the gut microbiota have the potential to minimise low-grade inflammation in diet-related diseases.
- Treatment for Cancer:
The primary source of vitamin A is beta-carotene, and it has anti-oxidant properties that help prevent cancer and other diseases. The most active antioxidants are beta-carotene, among other carotenes. Alpha and beta carotenes tend to provide defence against lung, colorectal, breast, uterine and prostate cancers, along with gamma carotene and the carotenes lycopene and lutein68, which do not convert to vitamin A. The most popular form is B-Carotene and can be found in fruits and vegetables with yellow, orange, and green leaves. These may include cabbage, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, oranges, and squash throughout the winter.
Nutraceuticals have shown their health benefits and the potential to avoid diseases, which should be consumed according to their recommended appropriate intake. Nutraceuticals and functional foods have become a multi-billion dollar sector in the global economy. Nutraceuticals play a significant role in clinical growth in the present self-medication scenario. But their effectiveness depends on their efficiency, purity, protection and efficacy being sustained.