While scientists grapple with the definition of nutraceuticals, nutraceutical companies are jostling to see who will take the lead in getting the nutraceuticals to market. The dietary supplement companies have the inside track thanks to years of research and product development. Pharmaceutical companies are not far behind with extensive work on regulated products. Food companies could also be contenders to be the top nutraceutical companies. Their marketing and product development expertise is top shelf, and they have excellent distribution systems.
Nutraceuticals is a broad umbrella term used to describe any product derived from food sources that provides extra health benefits in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. Products typically claim to prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay the aging process, and increase life expectancy.
Nutraceutical, a term combining the words 'nutrition' and 'pharmaceutical', is a food or food product that provides health and medical benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups, and beverages. With recent breakthroughs in cellular-level nutraceuticals agents, researchers, and medical practitioners are developing templates for integrating assessing and assessing information from clinical studies on complementary and alternative therapies into responsible medical practice.
There is minimal regulation over which products display the nutraceutical term on their labels. Because of this, the market has products with varying uses and effectiveness. The definition of nutraceuticals and related products often depend on the source. Members of the medical community desire that the nutraceutical distinguish between the wide varieties of products out there. There are multiple different types of products are nutraceuticals.
The Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, and Sumerians are just a few civilizations that have provided evidence suggesting that foods effectively used as medicine to treat and prevent disease. Ayurveda, the 5 thousand year old ancient Indian health science has mentioned benefits of food for therapeutic purpose. Documents hint that the medicinal benefits of food for thousands of years. Hippocrates, considered by some to be the father of Western medicine, said that people should 'Let food be thy medicine.'
Nutraceutical foods are not subject to the same testing and regulations as pharmaceutical drugs. The American Nutraceutical Association works with the Food & Drug Administration in consumer education, developing industry and scientific standards for products and manufacturers, and other related consumer protection roles. The FDA provides a list of dietary supplement companies receiving warning letters about their products.