Efforts are needed to tap into the potential of nutraceuticals

February 13, 2018, Wiley

A growing demand exists for nutraceuticals, which seem to reside in the grey area between pharmaceuticals and food. The products are thought to provide medical or health benefits "beyond the diet, but before the drugs". A new review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looks at the potential of nutraceuticals, stressing the need for a proper definition of nutraceuticals and clear regulations to ensure their safety.

In the review article, a team led by Ettore Novellino, PhD and Antonello Santini, PhD, of the University of Napoli Federico II in Italy, states that nutraceuticals with proven efficacy and health benefits substantiated by clinical data could be used as powerful tools to prevent and treat medical conditions, especially in individuals who may not yet be eligible for conventional pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have a proper and unequivocal definition of nutraceuticals, to conduct clinical studies on their safety and efficacy, and to have standardized regulations for their use. In addition, nutraceuticals require a specific classification apart from food supplements and pharmaceuticals.

The authors propose the following definition for nutraceuticals: the phytocomplex of a vegetable or the pool of secondary metabolites from an animal. Both are concentrated and administered in a pharmaceutical form and are capable of providing beneficial effects, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease.

"Nutraceuticals, in the collective imagination of the consumer, tend to be confused and wrongly identified with many other products available on the market on the basis of potential ," said Dr. Novellino. "An evaluation of the safety, the mechanism of action, and the effectiveness of nutraceuticals—and substantiating this with clinical data—is the central point that differentiates nutraceuticals from food supplements."

Dr. Santini added that the growing demand and interest in nutraceuticals justifies the need for a restructuring of the entire regulatory framework that differentiates nutraceuticals from supplements. "We propose a regulatory system that is similar to the one used for drugs, which is more rigorous and more complex than the one commonly accepted for ," he said. "It is important for consumer protection that national authorities and regulatory agencies require manufacturers to provide data to support any claim in the labels of products when the term nutraceutical is used."

Explore further: Nutraceuticals alone or with ezetimibe aid in dyslipidemia

More information: "Nutraceuticals: opening the debate for a regulatory framework" British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2018). DOI: 10.1111/bcp.13496

Related Stories

Nutraceuticals alone or with ezetimibe aid in dyslipidemia

December 10, 2015
(HealthDay)—For statin-intolerant patients with dyslipidemia with ischemic heart disease treated with percutaneous coronary intervention, nutraceuticals alone or in combination with ezetimibe improve the lipid profile, ...

Nutrient supplements can give antidepressants a boost

April 26, 2016
An international evidence review has found that certain nutritional supplements can increase the effectiveness of antidepressants for people with clinical depression.

Recommended for you

Male contraceptive compound stops sperm without affecting hormones

April 20, 2018
A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE details how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential ...

A dose of empathy may support patients in pain

April 20, 2018
Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that empathic, positive messages from doctors may be of small benefit to patients suffering from pain, and improve their satisfaction about the care ...

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

For heavy lifting, use exoskeletons with caution

April 20, 2018
You can wear an exoskeleton, but it won't turn you into a superhero.

New device to help patients with rare disease access life-saving treatment

April 19, 2018
Patients with a rare medical condition can receive life-saving treatment at the touch of a button thanks to a new device developed by scientists.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.