What are Nutraceuticals?
An Introduction to Nutraceuticals
“Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The wise words of Hippocrates, dating back to 400 BC, are more relevant today than ever before. A healthy diet is the best way to revitalize ourselves and is the first step in taking care of our well-being and preventing diseases. But eating healthy can be quite challenging in our modern lifestyles. For this purpose, nutraceuticals are being developed and produced to offer one-stop solutions our bodies need.
Nutraceuticals are food supplements that contain the best ingredients to sustain our health. They are the solution for all health-conscious consumers, to meet their daily intake of all the necessary nutrients. Nutraceuticals are not just the latest health trend, but are revolutionizing the healthcare industry!
What are Nutraceuticals?
Nutraceuticals are a wide range of nutrient-dense foods. They can be whole foods or just specific ingredients derived from them. Their purpose is to provide or maximize the intake of essential nutrients.
The term nutraceutical refers to dietary supplements or substances that are food or parts of food. They can be a combination of whole foods or isolated and purified parts of them. Their health benefits must be demonstrated to provide protection of chronic disease, help with disease treatment, or have other physiological benefits.
Nutraceuticals must be manufactured according to good manufacturing practices. They cannot contain any toxic or dangerous components. The active and functional component of the nutraceutical must be standardized to allow safe consumption.
Various forms of Nutraceuticals are available today. We can get them in powdered form, liquid form, encapsulated, or in a tablet. They can also be incorporated into traditional foods and drinks, like bread or yogurt, to boost their nutritional value. We distinguish between 4 main types of nutraceuticals.
Types of Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals must not be confused with pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical drugs are very important and we cannot imagine medicine without them. They are patented formulations of substances derived naturally or synthesized, to cure or alleviate disease symptoms. They have undergone plenty of controlled studies before they are put on the market for their specific purpose. Although very powerful and effective, pharmaceuticals can lead to many undesired side effects and complications.
Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, are bioactive phytochemicals from fruits, vegetables, and other plant sources. They provide desirable health benefits above basic nutrition improving all the aspects of well-being.
Classification of nutraceuticals
- Functional foods can be conventional foods that we consume regularly in our diet. Their main purpose is nutrition, but they also provide additional health benefits. These are fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, meat, and other common healthy consumables on our menu.
- Medicinal and Fortified foods are traditional foods enriched with nutrients and substances that are not originally included. These can be milk with added vitamin D, or cereals with added calcium, or fruit juices with added proteins.
- Dietary supplements are nutraceuticals containing isolated bioactive substances usually found in forms not associated with common food. They are mostly purchased in more medical forms such as pills and tablets. These can be various multivitamin/multimineral blends or herbal mixtures offering a more targeted beneficial effect
Benefits of Nutraceuticals Products
Since they are derived from natural sources, nutraceuticals offer an approach to health improvement that is millions of years old. In short, they maximize the potential of making the food our medicine. Medicinal foods are most sought after for the following nutrients:
Fiber: in the age of processed food, the needed portion of good fibers is seldom found on our plates. Without enough fiber, the food takes longer to digest which can lead to irregular bowel movements, loose stools, and can also cause stomach pain. Functional foods rich in fiber can restore a healthy digestive system.
Antioxidants: Organic and fresh fruits and vegetables should be the most consumed foods but the reality is far from that. Thus we are missing the much-needed nutrient antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals copper, zinc, and selenium. The deficiency can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, muscle and joint pain. With dietary supplements, we can solve that!
Essential fatty acids: these substances which are existential for us cannot be produced by our bodies need to be delivered via food ingestion. Seafood is a great source of fatty acid, but the most popular choices are usually not the richest omega 3&6. Same story with seed oils, where the processed and most widely used ones are not a suitable choice compared to cold-pressed oils. The nutraceutical approach can solve the needed intake of essential amino acids to avoid critical deficiencies.
Probiotics: Good bacteria are key for digestion, absorption, vitamin and hormone production. A great portion of a strong immune system resides in our intestines, and the imbalance of the gut bacteria also affects our mood and behavior. If we are missing the right proportion of good bacteria for a healthy flora, fortified food formulations provide that.
Are Nutraceuticals Safe?
Pharmaceuticals are generally perceived as very safe, as they are produced under strict regulations and their safety profiles are proven through extensive development processes. Nutraceuticals should also pose no risk since their ingredients are derived from natural sources.
This is mostly true, but not always the case since the formulations can contain substances in concentrations way bigger than found naturally. So the first precaution is to take nutraceuticals as intended and not exceed the recommended servings. If the product is beneficial it doesn’t automatically translate into taking 3 is better than taking 1.
If we are already on any medication it is wise to talk to our doctor to see if potential drug interaction can arise. Even if nutraceuticals are over-the-counter products they can be harmful if combined with certain pharmaceutical drugs or other supplements.
Preexisting conditions can impact how we react to certain compounds in nutraceuticals. The list of ingredients must be carefully examined in case we spot something we are allergic to. Taking note of how we feel after ingestion to see if the product is the cause of side effects is very important!
That said, with Nutraceuticals not as regulated or extensively studied as pharmaceuticals, the EU regulations are there to keep the production of nutraceuticals in check. We believe that nutraceuticals from a reputable brand and manufacturer are a valuable tool for people to be proactive with their health.
At Essentia Pura, we know that the nutraceutical industry is a billion-dollar industry on which many try to capitalize on. And so is the case with CBD and Hemp, which is the most recent boom in the nutraceutical space where plenty of companies try to take advantage of a new and underregulated market.
Striving to be as professional and devoted to our clients, we supply CBD products at the highest industry standard.
Cutting-edge equipment and qualified personnel expertise in every field allow us to unveil the true potential of CBD. In various forms and combinations, we will make sure CBD will deliver the best nutraceutical benefits to the masses.