Nutraceuticals FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

Nutraceuticals FAQ

What’s all the recent fuss about Nutraceuticals?  Americans are choosing nutraceuticals over pharmaceutical drugs more and more to reap the effective health benefits of natural sources without the long list of side effects accompanying modern day physician-prescribed pharmaceutical remedies.

Nutraceuticals Defined:

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of nutraceutical is:”a foodstuff (as a fortified food or dietary supplement that is held to provide health or medical benefits in addition to its basic nutritional value- called also a functional food.”  What is great about nutraceuticals is that you might get pharmacological effects in improving your health without taking drugs!

Nutraceuticals have become mainstream in the health industry over the last several decades. This exciting sector of health and wellness is not wrapped around any new concept, as multiple cultures have embraced the use of foods to treat and prevent disease for numerous centuries. These include the Chinese, Indian, Sumerian and Egyptian societies. They practiced the use of food as medicine to relieve the symptoms of ailments, cure health problems and prevent illness and disease in the human body. Nearly two thirds of Americans are using at least one type of nutraceutical.

The nutraceutical industry is an $86 billion dollar industry making phenomenal strides as an increase in consumers shift their focus from pharmaceuticals to nutraceuticals grows.  Once dependent on pharmaceuticals for the remedy to their symptoms, health advocates can  now focus on the root of health and wellness issues by seeking to cure underlying issues with nutraceuticals, home remedies, foods and fitness.

What are nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals are considered to be medication from a natural origin. Typically obtained from a natural food source, they are marketed and sold to consumers as purified, isolated components in food, food products, beverages, supplements or other products with pharmacological doses designed for a variety of specific ailments. The term nutraceuticals encompasses a large blanket of products that are extracted or derived from food or natural sources and provide additional health and wellness benefits. They are classified on the basis of the pharmacological conditions and natural sources. The product’s chemical constitution is also evaluated. A number of nutraceuticals, such as vitamin E and folic acid are developed using biotechnology.

What are nutraceuticals in a language I can understand?

Okay, so in English—a nutraceutical is any type of ingredient, supplement, food or beverage derived from a natural source providing particular health or medical benefits. When consumed, they are intended to provide more than just good nutrition and are preferred by many consumers for their possible treatment of disease and preventative measures against illness and disease.

What are examples of functional food nutraceuticals?

Lycopenewhich is found in tomatoes, is a very common nutraceutical food.. According to the National Institute of Health, Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid that is responsible for the red to pink colors seen in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and other foods and over the past decade, the effects have been studied with respects to a wide range of diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular disease and prostate health. (1)

Cranberries are a commonly used functional food nutraceutical. According to The Cranberry Institute, scientific studies have explored the role of polyphenols found in cranberries in aiding urinary tract infections, inflammation and oxidation, due to their ability to fight existing bacteria and even to take down the bacteria prior to it becoming infectious.(2) So if you can use cranberries as a preventive nutraceutical for urinary tract infections, there is a lot less risk than with pharmaceuticals.

grapes for nutraceuticalsGrapes also contain a high amount of  polyphenol which is an antioxidant and has been shown to reduce inflammation and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Grapes as a nutraceutical has been shown to provide the cardiovascular system with a reduction in the risk of heart disease and support a healthy heart by promoting the relaxation of the blood vessels to help maintain blood flow.

Broccoli is also an excellent source of bioactive compounds and therefore is considered a functional food and nutraceutical. Phenolic compounds are among the nutraceuticals present in broccoli, mainly hydroxycinnamic acids and flavanoids.  It has been shown that these compounds possess a great antioxidant activity and may play a role in the prevention of several diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and nuerodegenerative  diseases.( 3)

Green tea is also known for its antioxidant abilities.  Tea has been used for centuries and it is now thought that green tea (not black or oolong) reportedly contains the highest concentration of polyphenols, which are antioxidants as stated previously.  These are the antioxidents that fight free radicals which are the damaging compounds in your cells that can contribute to a number of health problems, such as cancer and cardiovascular didease

Acai Berries

A food containing a massive amount of antioxidants linked to getting rid of free radicals in the body, promoting heart health, slowing down the aging process and having anti-cancerous properties

                   Image result for nutraceutical foods and what they help chart

 How did nutraceuticals come about?

Stephen DeFelice, M.D. came up with the term nutraceutical in the late 80’s. He combined the two words pharmaceutical and nutrition to make the new term nutraceutical that is commonly thrown around today. The word covers a huge blanket of products and is coined for covering anything consumed and ingested that is from a natural source delivering additional medical benefits to that of basic nutrition.

What are some of the nutraceutical products I can get?


The close relative to the onion is typically delivered to consumers in pill form and shown to deliver a ton of benefits to consumers. Garlic may help to lower cholesterol, improve digestive health, prevent cancer, lessen the frequency of the common cold and even lower blood pressure in people—however, this is just the short list of the benefits from garlic.


Ginkgo Biloba

A botanical shown to improve cognitive function and decrease depression in a person.

Green Coffee Bean

An extract from the bean called chlorogenic add is shown to hinder blood glucose release while working to assist the body in the burning of fat within the liver—in other words it helps people lose weight as part of an overall healthier lifestyle and diet regimen.

Why the idea of nutraceuticals?

The objective, or main reason people are choosing nutraceuticals is to protect, treat and prevent chronic inflammation and disease in the body. The current nutraceuticals industry market contains a wide range of nutraceutical products that includes processed foods dietary supplements, isolated nutrients, genetically engineered foods, food products, beverage products and herbal products to meet the widening demands from health and wellness consumers

When food is manufactured, nutritional value is sometimes lost. Additionally, when products are manufactured, their chemical components may be extracted or altered. The idea behind nutraceuticals and manufacturing is to ensure the important role of chemical components derived from foods, microbial and plant sources is not lost during the process. When it is in these cases, the extracted components are added back in to the product so it is as effective as intended.

What is the current need for nutraceuticals?

Society today is exposed to a large number of scary things that are bad for our health, body and mind. The repeated exposure to these toxins and pollutants results in free radicals going crazy and rapidly multiplying within our bodies. The free radicals in turn create diseased cells. The sickened, diseased cells not only promote the individual unhealthy state of a person but also may cause the body to unnaturally age. With all of these factors at play, people are on the search for a safe way to get rid of the harmful things infiltrating their bodies. In the search to detoxify, the concept of nutraceuticals delivers the solution to a toxic problem that doesn’t seem to have any other feasible solution.

What are some harmful things nutraceuticals can help with?

  • Lack of nutrients in commercial and industrial produce
  • Pollution Stress
  • No exercise
  • Excessive exercise
  • Prescription drugs
  • Food preservatives and additives
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Electromagnetic radiation

What kinds of nutraceuticals are there?

Most often nutraceuticals are grouped into the following five categories: dietary supplements, functional foods/beverages, medicinal foods and farmaceuticals. The most popular nutraceuticals are dietary supplements functional foods and functional food beverages.

Dietary Supplements contain ingredients supplementing the existing nutrient base by increasing the nutritional value. They may include just one or any number of ingredients in combination to develop a substance comprised of vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids. Most dietary supplement products are available to consumers in a wide variety of forms, such as pills, powders, gel capsules, tablets, powders, liquid shots and drinks.

nutraceuticals foods

Functional Foods/Beverages

The category of functional foods and beverages encompasses a wide umbrella of whole foods and enriched, enhanced and fortified dietary components in food that may provide health benefits beyond the nutrients traditionally contained in the food, as well as possibly reducing the risk for chronic disease, cancer and inflammation. Fortified and enriched foods are food products in which the nutrient content is restored to the state as close to the original levels before being processed. During the manufacturing process of food, nutrients are sometimes removed. In order to restore the nutrients and even add more nutrients to the components, the food or beverage product undergoes the process of nutrification.

Medicinal Foods

Medicinal foods are unlike functional foods and every other category of nutraceuticals, as they are not available to the public and may only be obtained through the administration of a licensed physician. The FDA regulates or formulates all medicinal foods. They are formulated for the treatment and management of patients suffering from a variety of conditions and diseases.


Not as popular as other nutraceutical components, farmaceuticals are components produced for medical value and are made from modified agricultural animals or crops The combination of the words pharmaceutical and farm form, to make the term farmaceutical. This melding of pharmaceuticals and farming produces compounds that are then collected and put through a purification process such as protein. Conventional biotechnology is extremely costly, and farmaceuticals are believed by many to be a more cost effective way to produce nutraceuticals.

What are the components of nutraceuticals? Each category of nutraceuticals has multiple components focusing on different plant types. The components making up the categories are: vegetables herbs herbaceous plants grains and legumes fruit and common weeds

How do nutraceuticals work?

The potential effects of nutraceuticals seem to be unknown, but over the years they have definitely attracted attention for their potential safety, nutritional and therapeutic effects in the human body, as well as the important role they play in a number of biological processes These processes include cell proliferation, antioxidant defenses, safeguarding mitochondria! integrity and gene expression.

What are the health benefits?

Overall, nutraceuticals benefit people by helping to improve their health, postpone the process of aging, support functions in the body and encourage the best integrity of the body. Nutraceuticals are considered to be a reliable source for a method of help in the prevention of life threatening diseases and conditions, while also supporting the immune system. These include, but are not limited to the following: gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, renal disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, immunity disorders infections oxidative stress, Parkinson’s disease, conditions of the eye, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

Who uses nutraceuticals?

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, CRN, more than 170million American adults report taking dietary supplements. Parents have given nutraceuticals such as multi-vitamins and probiotics to their children for years now, but the newest trend in the nutraceutical market is the pet consumer market. Although the dogs and cats are not demanding the nutraceuticals and pawing out the dough on their own, dog owners are most certainly on the bandwagon shelling out the dollars to help keep their best friend at home in tip-top shape.

What do they take nutraceuticals for?

It used to be that people who took dietary supplements were looking to supplement the essential nutrients and vitamins they were missing from their diet or they were seeking the overall health and wellness benefits from the product. But, that focus has changed in today’s market of consumers.

Thirty percent of supplement users accredit energy as their number two reason for consistent use, while 42 percent of supplement users still credit their overall health and wellness as the motivation for using dietary supplements. When it comes to the group of people taking dietary supplements for the benefit of supplementing the nutritional gaps in their diet—they are now ranked third, coming in at 28 percent. Besides gen.,’ wellness energy and nutritional supplementing, nutraceutical consumers are getting products for weight management, beauty reasons, improved memory function, sports performance, heart health, gastrointestinal health, anti-aging benefits and mental health.

Why are people choosing dietary supplements for their nutraceuticals?

multivitamin nutracueticalsIn today’s fast-paced world, adequate nutrition is challenging even sometimes impossible to get for any one person. Besides the fact convenience is the focus of consumers, nutrients are lacking because the soil no longer contains the nutrients it used to have when your ancestors were children. Fresh produce does not necessarily deliver the same nutritional value it did 50 years ago. The missing vital nutrients can be replaced in the human body with dietary supplements, and they are perfect for people who are always on the go.

Are nutraceuticals safe?

In 2007, the GM P, Good Manufacturing Practice was introduced in the United States Since then, the industry of dietary supplements and nutraceuticals have experienced steady market growth and the regulations are now part of many countries’ approval systems for nutraceutical products.

Who regulates nutraceuticals?

Nutizceuticals are not regulated to the same extent or fall under the same guidelines as those of pharmaceuticals. Nutraceuticals are regulated as food additives and dietary supplements by the FDA in the United States The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Ad is the authority over nutraceutical companies and requires them to register manufacturing facilities

What is the outlook for nutraceuticals?

By 2021, the Global Nutraceutical Market is expected to reach $285 Billion.

As health consciousness and the expectation for longer life grows with consumers, so does the need for the nutraceutical ingredients market. The increased incidences of diseases, health issues, conditions and chronic health problems attribute to the widening of nutraceutical applications

Do you answer YES to any of the following questions?

  • Is your weight creeping up?
  • Has your metabolism slowed?
  • Is it difficult to move your joints?
  • Are you experiencing bouts of fatigue?
  • Do you need a boost in your stamina?
  • Is your thinking often foggy?
  • Is your digestive system out of whack?
  • Is your heart functioning at its best?
  • Are you suffering bone loss?
  • Are you afraid of falls & fractures?
  • Does your hair look limp and dull?
  • Are your nails brittle and frail?
  • Is your diet lacking fish?
  • Is your focus lost with your keys?
  • Is your vision worsening with age?
  • Is your memory spotty?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above or you suffer with other aches pains or ailments, then it is advisable to look further into the benefits nutraceutical dietary supplements may provide you in the effort to balance your life, health and well-being. With the proper blend of nutraceuticals in combination with exercise, a delicious balanced diet and the all-important ad of deep, a person can live their best life.

Once this magic combination of healthy habits is truly reached, one will enjoy a boost in mental and cognitive function as well as increased wellness and an extensive decrease in pain, aches inflammation and ailments. Basically, dietary supplements and other nutraceutical products can work wonders for those with health concerns. In order to improve your well-being, take the time to choose the specific nutraceuticals products that are vital to your unique health issues concerns, diet and lifestyle to supplement your body and mind with what they are missing. Adding these nutizceuticals to the existing nutrients you are consuming will give your body and mind the important nutrients they are deficient in, while giving you a much better shot of Funning at optimal speed and functioning.

Should I consult my doctor before taking nutraceuticals?

If you are ready to start improving your health with the benefits from nutraceuticals, then it is time to begin your research and consult with your healthcare professional. Always consult your physician before beginning any new diet, supplement or exercise program. The general information provided in this nutraceuticals guide is not intended for use by consumers to advise of any treatment or diagnosis of medical condition and is not intended to replace your healthcare professional.

Published by

Babe Weisman

*Studied Inflammation and Nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center. *30 year career as a Nutrition Representative to Physicians, RN’s, Dieticians and Health Care Providers for Infants, Toddlers and Adults with a major Pharmaceutical Company. *MBA, University of Kansas *BSN, Indiana University *Owned and operated a Home Health Agency for Pre and Postnatal patients. *Momma to 2 great guys and Nana to 2 high energy Grandchildren

  1. […] It’s proven by the fact that the amount of the people who choose nutraceutical products such as nutraceutical supplements keeps on getting bigger and bigger than those who choose to consume pharmaceutical products. Sure, […]

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