19 May Nutraceuticals
The term “nutraceutical” was originally defined by Stephen De Felice, the founder of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, in 1989 as “food or parts of a food that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease” (Bull). Nutraceuticals include products such as “bio yogurts, fortified breakfast cereals, vitamins, herbal remedies, and genetically modified foods and supplements” (Bull). Many modern nutraceutical products have origins in the plant kingdom, due to plants’ production of secondary compounds that protect them from infection and other detrimental effects; these compounds have been found to benefit humans in many ways as well (Bull).
One of the most important things to remember when purchasing any type of nutraceutical is that some products are manufactured in clean, controlled labs and are accurately labelled, while some others are not. Labels do not always list every substance within the product accurately, and some contain different fillers, which can cause more harm than good to the consumer (Chan). Manufacturers are legally responsible for revealing any adverse effects to the FDA, however, they do not have to prove their product is effective before it becomes available for public consumption (Chan). When a product has not been evaluated by the FDA, it includes a disclaimer on the label that reads, “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease” (fda.gov).
The real question is, how do you know a nutraceutical will benefit your health? Paul M. Coates, director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health, admits that the category of nutraceuticals is very broad, and that their effects may be subtle (Hayden). One of the first things you should check is where the product is manufactured. This will give you a good sense of the quality and accuracy of the product’s function. Another important step to take before purchasing any nutraceutical is checking the feedback given by previous consumers. If you plan on ordering the product online (or if you do some research before entering a store), you will be able to find some sort of comments section where you can determine if the consumers’ nutraceutical preferences match yours, and if they were satisfied with the results of the product.
Bull, Esther, et al. “1. What Is a Nutraceutical?” Pharmaceutical Journal, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, 8 July 2000, www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/1-what-is-a-nutraceutical/20002095.article?first Pass=false. Accessed 27 March 2020.
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/food/information-consumers-using-dietary-supplements/questions-a nd-answers-dietary-supplements. Accessed 27 March 2020.
Hayden, Thomas. “Getting to Know Nutraceuticals.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2012,
www.scientificamerican.com/article/getting-to-know-nutraceut/. Accessed 27 March 2020.
Stanford Health Care. “Nutrition Related Supplements: The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 December 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXuKyjnCoII. Accessed 27 March 2020.