The term nutraceutical was coined in the 1990’s by Dr. Stephen DeFelice: ‘A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease’. Nutraceutical products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered designer foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups and beverages. This applies to all categories of food and parts of food, ranging from dietary supplements such as folic acid, used for the prevention of spina bifida, to chicken soup, taken to lessen the discomfort of the common cold…to a bio-engineered designer vegetable food, rich in antioxidant ingredients, or a stimulant functional food or pharmafood.
Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources that are purported to provide extra health benefits, in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. Products can help to prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay the aging process, or increase life expectancy. Theoretically, the appeal of nutraceuticals has to do with accomplishing treatment goals without side effects.
One area that fascinates our team, PHYTONUTIENTS, has seen a lot of growth in the last year. Also referred to as phytochemicals, phytonutrients are compounds found in plants. They serve various functions in plants, helping to protect the plant’s vitality. For example, some phytonutrients protect the plant from UV radiation while others protect it from insect attack.
Not only do phytonutrients award benefit to the plants but they also provide benefits to those who enjoy plant food. That’s because they have health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activities.
Fruits and vegetables are concentrated sources of phytonutrients; other plant foods like whole grains, legumes/beans, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices also contain phytonutrients. Since many phytonutrients also serve as the pigment that gives foods their deep hues, you can identify many phytonutrient-rich foods by looking for colorful foods; for example, look for foods that are blue or purple like blueberries, blackberries and red cabbage (rich in flavonoids); yellow-orange foods like carrots, winter squash, papaya, and melon (rich in beta-carotene); red or pink foods like tomatoes, guava, and watermelon (rich in lycopene); and green foods like kale, spinach, and collard greens (rich in chlorophyll). Yet, since not all phytonutrients give color, it’s important to not overlook some off-white foods as well—for example, garlic, onions, and leeks are rich in powerful sulfur-containing phytonutrients.
Look for Phytonutrients Like: Hydroxytyrosol (especially for heart, reducing arterial plaque formation), French maritime pine bark (especially for circulation, anti-inflammatory, preventing oxidative stress); astaxanthan (especially for heart, lowering blood pressure, preventing oxidative stress) and pterostilbene (especially for heart, lowering blood pressure, preventing oxidative stress).
Anthocyanins joined polyphenols as the most marketable mass market phytonutrients followed by flavonoids and resveratrol. If you don’t know any of these terms…don’t feel badly. According to the Gallup Study on Nutrition Knowledge & Consumption, only 62% of adults were aware of polyphenols and only 21% were making a strong effort to get more.
New consumer attitudes/practices, health issues and a rising fear of all things artificial are creating a bevy of new health-focused “nutraopportunities”. This unprecedented demand for more natural health solutions, a fundamental shift toward food and naturally functional food-based ingredients, as well as demand for cleaner, safer and more effective products are the underlying forces set to redefine the nutraceutical market.
Always consult with your doctor before trying any dietary supplement or nutraceutical. If you have any questions regarding the use of supplements please call our pharmacists, at 800-644-9431or feel free to text them at 321-872-0723. Our Pharmacists are available 24/7 for questions on this subject, or other Amex Pharmacy areas of expertise like Men’s ED Treatments, Dermatology Compounds, Topical Pain Relief, and more.