Nutraceutical: the medicinal foods
Abstract Nutraceutical are important part of food which have both health promoting and disease prevention effects. There importance increases many times in modern time as result of our eating habits, life style and high disease risks. They help to combat cancer, cardio vascular diseases, tumors, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and many other diseases. It has opened up a new era of medication in which food is our medicine and that’s the reason that its market grow up to multi bullion industry. The article covers the major food sources that can be categorized as nutraceuticals and there major health effects. Key words Nutraceutical, Spices, Vitamins, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Dietary Fiber Introduction In recent years a new trend arises in diet consumption which emprises much more on positive aspect of diet as hypocrite says 2000 years ago “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
In last few decades our lifestyle and the consumption of junk food increased many fold results in increasing number of diseases due to improper food. Obesity is recognized as world major health problem. Heart problems are primary cause of death worldwide, followed by cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis and many others. The high tech., expensive medication approach has frustrated the man kind and now they are seeking some alternative and nutraceuticals have emerged as a most beneficial class of natural products that made the line between food and drugs to fade (Adelaja and Schilling 1999). Though the nutraceuticals are in use from historic times, but now the global interest has increased many times then before as it is scientifically proven that they play major role in health promotion (Dillard and German 2000).
Nutraceutical The idea of “nutraceutical” arises first in the survey from United Kingdom, Germany and France, where diet was rated superior by the consumers, then exercise or hereditary factors to attain a good health (Pandey et al. 2010). The word “nutraceutical” is combination of words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” originally defined by Stephen De Felice, initiator and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine (FIM), Cranford, New Jersey in 1989 (Maddi et al. 2007; Brower 1998). According to De Felice, nutraceutical can be defined as, “a food (or a part of food) that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and or treatment of a disease”.
Health Canada defines nutraceutical as “a product prepared from foods, but sold in the form of pills, or powder (potions) or in other medicinal forms, not usually associated with foods” (Wildman 2001; Bull 2000) Nutraceuticals covers most of the therapeutics areas and have been claimed to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against the following diseases such as anti-arthritic, sleeping disorders, digestion, cold and cough, osteoporosis, blood pressure, pain killers, cholesterol control, depression (Pandey et al. 2010) and/or found to act as Cardiovascular agents, Antiobese agents Antidiabetics, Anticancer agents, Immune boosters, Chronic inflammatory disorders, Degenerative diseases (Rajasekaran et al. 2008) From the consumers’ point of view, nutraceuticals may offer many benefits: • May increase the nutrition value and quality of our diet.
• May help us to increase the span of life
• May help us to avoid different diseases
• Considered to be more natural than traditional medicine and less likely to give objectionable side-effects.
• May provide food for populations with special needs e.g. nutrient-dense foods for the older age group people (Consumer association of Canada) Classification:
Nutraceuticals can be classify in many ways depending upon its easier use, i.e. for educational teaching, dietary recommendations, clinical examination plan. The food sources used as nutraceuticals can be categorized as (Kalia 2005):
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Spices More broadly, nutraceuticals can be classified in two groups (Pandey et al. 2010) i) Potential nutraceuticals ii) Established nutraceuticals Potential nutraceuticals is one which promise certain health benefit and if sufficient clinical data support that promise it become established nutraceuticals Dietary fiber Dietary fiber are plant material that cannot be digested/ hydrolyzed by human digestive enzymes, include cellulose, hemi-cellulose, gums and pectin’s, lignin’s and some type of starches. – Dietary fiber due to its bulking quality slows down the process and time of stomach emptying, this increase the nutrient uptake (Leclere et al. 1994) – Dietary fiber lower LDL cholesterol level and increase glucose tolerance (Glore et al. 1994) – Persons who consume higher degree of dietary fiber compared to whom consume lesser amount are at lower risk of
• Coronary heart diseases (Liu et al. 1999)
• Hypertension (Whelton et al. 2005)
• Obesity (Lairon et al. 2005)
• Stroke (Steffen et al. 2003)
• High blood pressure (Keenan et al. 2002) There is also evidence that dietary fiber increase immunity (Watzl et al. 2005). Dietary fiber rich food include fruits, barley, oats and beans Probiotic A probiotic can be defined as live microbial feed supplement, which when taken in sufficient amounts have beneficially affects on host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance (FAO, 2011). – Probiotic are helpful to treat certain GI problems likes lactose intolerance and acute diarrhea. (Doron et al. 2005) – Probiotic decrease the risk of certain allergies, asthma, cancer and some infections of urinary tract (Lenoir-Wijnkoop et al. 2007) -Experiments on animals reveals that some strains of LAB are able to lower serum cholesterols levels, by breaking down by breaking down bile in the gut, thus inhibits its re absorption (Sanders:2000) – Probiotics affect pathogen growth by competing them for growth and also improve immune system by various mechanisms like improving phagocytosis, promoting IgA-producing plasma cells and Natural killer cells (Ouwehand et al : 2002) (Reid 2003) -Some LAB strains also modulate inflammatory responses (Reid 2003) Prebiotics Prebiotics are such dietary ingredients mostly short chain polysaccharides that has beneficial affect on host by selectively changing the metabolism of the gut micro flora, it generally promotes the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterial growth in the gut (Hord 2008).
Dietary modulation of the human gut is major focus in today’s nutritional sciences. Certain bacteria present in gut involved in the onset of acute and chronic disorders while most of them are benign. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are considered beneficial. Prebiotic food ingredients are metabolized by beneficial intestinal bacteria thus increasing numbers and enhance working of the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli thus increasing resistance to pathogenic bacteria, lower blood ammonia, and reduce the risk of cancer. (Gibson 2004) Other health benefit include anti tumor properties, reduce constipation and blood cholesterol level (Schrezenmeir and De Vrese 2001) Polyunsaturated fatty acids They perform many vital functions in human body, and have 2 sub-categories: omega 3- fatty acid and omega 6-fatty acid, Studies shows omega 3-fatty acid involved in three important functions:
• Prevent irregularities in rhythm of heart beat (Leray et al. 2001)
• Help to reduce lipid concentration in serum (Buchner et al. 2002)
• Function to decrease arteriosclerosis (Buchner et al. 2002)
Recent studies show omega 3- fatty acid also help to prevent asthma (Broughton et al. 1997) and diabetes (Connor 2000) Linoleic acid has profound antimutagenic effect present in dairy and meat products and the inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis in animals is the most broadly documented physiologic effect (Raghuveer and Tandon: 2009) Antioxidant vitamin Some vitamins has capability to bind free radicals i.e. vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids known as antioxidant vitamins.
They prevent several diseases by scavenging free radicals including cancer and cardiovascular diseases (Elliot 1999) A variety of anti-oxidant derived from natural products and divided into several groups based on chemical structure
1) Flavonoid polyphenols e.g. EGCG in green tea
2) Non-flavonoid polyphenols e.g. resveratrol in grapes
3) Phenolic acids e.g. carnosic acid in rosemary
4) Organosulfur compounds e.g. L-sulforaphane in broccoli, thiosulfonate allicin in garlic They all are included in antioxidants because they directly scavenge free radicals or indirectly increase cellular antioxidant defenses (Natalie et al 2010) Antioxidant vitamins are in abundant in fruits and vegetables. Free oxygen radical may lead to diseases of following organs (Elliot 1999)
– Heart (heart attack)
– Eyes(Retina damage)
– Vessels (Atherosclerosis) Polyphenols Polyphenols are formed by plants to protect them from photosynthetic stress and reactive oxygen species.
The most commonly found polyphenols in food include flavonoids and phenolic acids. They are responsible for many organolaptic properties of fruits and vegetables like flavor and color and also add to the nutritional properties of fruits and vegetables.(tapas et al. 2008) In vitro studies show polyphenols affect various cellular processes like gene expression; apoptosis so may have application as anti-carcinogenic agents. (Duthie et al.2003), apart from this phenols also have application as anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic agent and function to protect against diabetes mellitus and nerve degeneration (Scalbert et al. 2005).
The most beneficial effect is as anti-oxidants. Found in tea, legumes, fruits etc Spices Spices are used to improve the sensory quality of foods. These give characteristic flavor, aroma and color to foods, stimulating our desire for food. Beside these spices also affect human health by its anti-diabetic, anti- carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering properties (Kochhar 2008; Rao 2003; Lampe 2003).
In table 1 is summary of few health benefits related with spices.
Table 1: Health Benefits
Spices Lowering of blood cholesterol
Garlic, Onion, Turmeric, Red pepper Prevention and dissolution of cholesterol gallstones
Curcumin, Capsaicin Hypoglycaemic potential
Fenugreek, Garlic, Onion, Turmeric, Cumin Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effect Turmeric/Curcumin, Capsaicin, Eugenol Antimutagenic effect
Turmeric/Curcumin, garlic, Ginger/Gingerol, Mustard Antimicrobial
Turmeric/Curcumin, Garlic Factors responsible for fast growth of nutraceuticals market In last 15 years nutraceuticals market grows to USD 117 billions and its increasing day by day. There are four factors responsible for fast growth of nutraceuticals market
• Life style of working population
• Expensive medical care driving consumers towards Nutraceutical food
• Increasing awareness and role of media
• Better assessability of nutraceutical food in market and improve distribution chain Conclusion Nutraceutical has emerged as new field of nutrition sciences.
The increasing chronic diseases due to changed life style and weakened immune system has led the people to think differently from traditional medication ways and nutraceuticals give people that way. Effect of nutraceuticals may vary from person to person and depend upon his health condition, life style disorder like smoking, alcoholism but they prove them self health beneficial and keep diseases away from persons.
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By: Hammad Shafiq1*, Saba Fiaz1, Humayun Haseeb Baig1, Muhammad Kaleem1, Ahmad Mahmood2, Rameez Hassan1 1 Department of Food Technology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi 2 Department of Agronomy, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi * Corresponding author: email@example.com