A NEW APPROACH
LET FOOD BE YOUR MEDICINE – HIPPOCRATES
NOT JUST A SUPPLEMENT
Nutraceuticals is a broad umbrella term that is used to describe any product derived from food sources with extra health benefits in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. They can be considered non-specific biological therapies used to promote general well-being, control symptoms and prevent malignant processes.
The term “nutraceutical” combines two words – “nutrient” (a nourishing food component) and “pharmaceutical” (a medical drug). The name was coined in 1989 by Stephen DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, an American organization located in Cranford, New Jersey.
The philosophy behind nutraceuticals is to focus on prevention, according to the saying by a Greek physician Hippocrates (known as the father of medicine) who said “let food be your medicine”. Their role in human nutrition is one of the most important areas of investigation, with wide-raging implications for consumers, health-care providers, regulators, food producers and distributors.
The definition of nutraceuticals and related products generally depends on the source. They can be classified on the basis of their natural sources, pharmacological conditions, as well as chemical constitution of the products. Most often they are grouped in the following categories: dietary supplements, functional food, medicinal food, farmaceuticals.
A dietary supplement represents a product that contains nutrients derived from food products, and is often concentrated in liquid, capsule, powder or pill form. Although dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, their regulation differs from drugs and other foods.
According to their generally accepted definition, functional food is a category which includes whole foods and fortified, enriched or enhanced dietary components that may reduce the risk of chronic disease and provide a health-benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains.
Medical food is formulated to be consumed or administered internally, under the supervision of a qualified physician. Its intended use is a specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements are established by the medical evaluation (on the basis of recognized scientific principle).
Farmaceuticals are medically valuable components produced from modified agricultural crops or animals. The term is a combining of the words “farm” and “pharmaceuticals”. Proponents of this concept are convinced that using crops (and possibly even animals) as pharmaceutical factories is much more cost effective than conventional methods, with higher revenue for agricultural producers.
POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Over the years nutraceuticals have attracted considerable interest due to their potential nutritional, safety and therapeutic effects. They could have a role in a plethora of biological processes, including antioxidant defenses, cell proliferation, gene expression, and safeguarding of mitochondrial integrity.
Therefore nutraceuticals may be used to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, postpone the aging process (and in turn increase life expectancy), or just support functions and integrity of the body. They are considered to be healthy sources for prevention of life threatening diseases such as diabetes, renal and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as different infections.
A wide range of nutraceuticals have been shown to impose crucial roles in immune status and susceptibility to certain disease states. They also exhibit diseases modifying indications related to oxidative stress including allergy, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, eye conditions, Parkinson’s diseases and obesity.
IT IS GOOD TO KNOW
NUTRACEUTICAL VS ANIMALS SUPPLEMENTS
Vitamins and minerals are essential components of a dogs diet. They govern many processes in the body, including regulation of heartbeat, ability of the circulatory system to deliver nutrients to the body, and neural activity. High-quality dog foods are specifically formulated to deliver all the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy. Why then do manufacturers produce so many different dog dietary supplements of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances?
Some dogs have special needs such as a weakened immune system that make supplementation a smart choice. Many people claim that supplements have helped their dogs overcome chronic diseases or have alleviated their symptoms. Some dog owners may choose to use supplementation as a preventive measure against future health problems.
According to regulatory agencies like the FDA, dog supplements fall into a gray area between food and medicine, and many of the ingredients in these supplements are unregulated. Proceed with caution and give them to your dog only under the guidance of a veterinarian who is knowledgeable on the subject. Even if herbs are legal and saleable, they aren’t always safe for every dog in every situation.