Emerging Trend in Medicine today is Neutraceuticals
Emerging Trend in Medicine today is Neutraceuticals

Dr. Sanjay Agrawal

Leading Pharmaceutical consultant and editor-in chief of IJMToday


The potential of food as prophylactic and therapeutic agent versus diseases has now begun to be acknowledged. The fascinating facts have been revealed about effect of dietary factors on certain molecular systems and mechanisms that take care of mental activity in recent years. A diet that is high in omega-3 fatty acids is earning accolades for reinforcing cognitive activity in humans and up regulating genes that are vital for sustaining synaptic activity and agility in rodents. Eventually, diets that are rich in saturated fat are turning culprits for lowering molecular scaffolds that help cognitive function and elevating the danger of neurological dysfunction in humans as well as animals. Thus, a combination of nutrition and exercise is recommended to undo these probable ill health outcomes. This is further corroborated by information available in the literature. Nutraceutical is hybrid of nutrition and pharmaceutical and was introduced in 1989 by Stephen L. DeFelice, founder and chairperson of the Foundation of Innovation Medicine, and defined as “Food, or parts of food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease”. Functional foods, according to their generally accepted definition, are “any food or food ingredient that may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains”. Plenty of studies are about fruitful influences of nutraceuticals like antioxidant, mushrooms, vitamins, essential amino acids, phytochemicals, and polyunsaturated fatty acids in pediatric foods upon the budding immune response. There are numerous evidences regarding effect of general physical condition on children’s cognitive ability and school performance. The activity of brain is definitely based on appropriate nutrition, and short-term alterations in the quantity and makeup of nutrient intake in healthy individuals affect actions of cognitive processes. It has been observed that consuming breakfast leads to a number of affirmative influences on the cognitive activity of well-fed children. The elevated hormone content and enzyme functions signal towards sensitivity of brain for stress. The high stress circumstances may trigger depression and in adverse manner alter behavioral, learning, and biochemical activities. A mood disorder such as major depression is probable life endangering disease. A sizeable population of patients with depression is reckoned to be treatment resistant even after advancement of pharmacotherapy. The antidepressant drugs suffer from drawbacks such as post compliance side effects or absence of required effect. These findings have ignited the minds of researchers to pursue hunt for natural remedies for improved beneficial effects with no or lesser toxic consequences. The dementia is often manifested by Alzheimer’s disease. It causes severe suffering for the patients, in the form of progressive behavioral and neurological changes that include functional impairment, loss of independency, emotional problems, and behavioral disturbances. A high risk of many mental disorders has been observed, such as attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia .when humans are omega-3 fatty acids deficient. Since the human body is not able to synthesize omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that is an important part of neuronal membranes, we have to depend on DHA from dietary sources. The mechanisms underlying DHA’s action on brain plasticity and cognition have begun to be explained in recent times. The enhancement of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) content and increased cognitive process in rodent models of brain trauma are observed during DHA dietary supplementation.

Eating habits and trends in food production and consumption have health, environmental and social impacts. Diet has implications on gut health. Gut complications, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gluten therapy resistant celiac, result from overgrowth and imbalance of intestinal microbial flora, and are related to one’s diet. Notably, the gastrointestinal tract is sterile at birth; intestinal microflora develops after birth, with the colonization rate varying according to factors such as the mode of birth, infant nutrition, antibiotic use, diet and age. Gut health determines an individual’s overall health. Gut malfunction, therefore, has a direct negative impact on human health.  From more southern healthy diets (rich in fruits

And vegetables), to the northern ones (rich in animal fat and animal food products). In spite of the fact that today’s consumers are increasingly attentive to food safety, quality and health-related issues, the population  is  fighting with the diseases of a modern age such as obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, allergies, stress and dental problems Increased energy uptake, unbalanced diets, and highly processed foods used in fast food products are huge problems.

Consumers are concerned about how their health care is managed, and priced. The expensive, disease-treatment approach prevalent in modern medicine has forced the consumer to seek alternative beneficial products and is making nutraceuticals particularly appealing. Nutraceuticals (referred to as phytochemicals or functional foods) are natural bioactive, chemical compounds that have health promoting, disease preventing or medicinal properties. Nutraceuticals are found in products emerging from (a) the food industry, (b) the herbal and dietary supplement market, (c) pharmaceutical industry. The term ‘nutraceutical’ was coined in 1979 by Stephen DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine located in Cranford, New Jersey. It was defined as ‘a food or part of food, which provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease .

     Nutraceuticals range from isolated nutrients, herbal products, dietary supplements and diets to genetically engineered ”designer” foods and processed products such as cereals, soups and beverages. The goal of achieving an optimal or maximal state of nutrition and health is becoming an increasing challenge with the introduction of many nutraceuticals . Nutraceuticals are useful to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and also to prevent or treat hypertension, high cholesterol, excessive weight, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, cataracts, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, diminished memory and concentration. Nutraceuticals are marketed in concentrated forms as pills, capsules, powders and tinctures either as a single substance or as combination preparations .


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