First of all, let’s start by explaining its origin. The term nutraceutical comes from the fusion of the words nutrient and pharmaceutical-therapeutic. It was created in 1989 by the president of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, Stephen DeFelice, who defined it as “a food or part of one that provides health benefits including the prevention and / or treatment of diseases.”
Therefore, we can say that they are concentrated bioactive compounds beneficial to health. But why are they so favorable? These natural bioactive compounds can be found in different foods, and, in the case of bioceuticals, they are presented in higher doses than the food itself can have, becoming supplements rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Precisely for this reason, they are usually defined as a food supplement, even so, we must never forget that they do not have to be a substitute for the diet.
Nutraceuticals can be produced naturally or synthesized by chemical or biological means. This point helps to clarify the difference between them and drugs: while nutraceuticals have a natural biological origin, drugs do not, and what differentiates them from the different types of extracts and infusions is the concentration of their components, since they do not they have to have a therapeutic action and in nutraceuticals they do.
There are many foods that contain the nutrients that nutraceutics are made of. Some of them would be: tomatoes, some cereals such as oats, blueberries and red fruits, kiwi, arugula, sources of folic acid, fruits and vegetables, fish …
They can be presented in different formats: capsules, vials, tablets, powders … They are not presented in the form of conventional food or as the exclusive product to ingest, replacing meals or food. As the name suggests, these are plugins.
On the other hand, they can be classified based on:
1.- Base from its natural sources.
2.- Pharmacological conditions.
3.- Chemical constitution of the products (phytochemicals).
– Natural origin with active biological properties.
– They have medical evidence in many of their applications about their bioactive properties.
– They are beneficial for health.
– They are isolated and purified by non-denaturing methods, to preserve their original properties without any type of chemical manipulation.
– They have a therapeutic, preventive and curative capacity.
– They improve physiological functions and help fight different diseases, such as cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, stress, insomnia, cardiovascular …
– They act against viral and bacterial infections.
– They slow down aging.
– They improve the quality of life and provide temporary stability.