By Anita Solanki & Dr. Jnanadeva Bhat
The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the necessity of leading a healthy life and has altered the way we live today. As a result of enhancing interest in the potential for nutraceutical ingredients to prevent diseases and boost the overall immune system, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements have become a necessity in the modern world. In recent years, they have moved into the mainstream, with growing awareness among consumers of their role in amending and retaining physiological functions to maintain a healthy body.
Dietary supplements are aimed at preventing various diseases, as they can contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, probiotics, fatty acids, and various natural oils, which help manage health issues. These include higher cholesterol, heart health, muscle pain, joint pain, blood sugar, mental health, etc.
It may seem the development of a huge range of dietary supplements has emerged almost rapidly. Still, when one looks more closely at nutraceutical ingredients and their properties, one can see history and the deep roots of these ingredients in our societies.
Many nutraceutical combinations have entered the global market by exploring claims made by different traditional practices like Ayurveda. Nutraceutical manufacturers have been, and continue to be, engaged with this ancient Indian traditional medicinal system and developing products based on traditional Ayurvedic remedies and principles. India is in the forefront in developing these Ayurveda inspired nutraceutical products.
From Ayurveda to modern Nutraceuticals
Ayurvedic medications are traditionally used as extracts or a mixture of ingredients for therapeutic purposes as mentioned in those historical Ayurvedic books. However, in order to develop Ayurvedic medicines into a form that will be accepted and recognized as a modern dietary supplement, modifications are required to convert them into unit dosage forms. Modern developmental techniques are adapted to standardize and achieve therapeutic efficacy through improved solubility and bioavailability. There are various methods to develop products with enhanced absorption and bioavailability for consumers. These methods make Ayurvedic ingredients even more effective.
Role of capsules
In the dietary supplement segment, capsules are one of the most widely used solid oral dosage forms. Capsules are easing the development of modern nutraceuticals and helping preserve the integrity of Ayurvedic medicines. Two-piece hard capsules can encapsulate a wide variety of ingredients and formulations due to their flexibility.
From tradition to trend
With advancements in scientific methods, Ayurvedic medicines are steadily finding their place worldwide with effective utilization as supplements. Several trends fuel the demand for development of Ayurvedic-based nutraceuticals, particularly the shift from synthetic to more natural nutraceutical products supported by clinical evidence.
The demand for plant-based products has increased worldwide. The majority of ingredients available in nature and in Ayurveda are from plant or non-animal origin. Vegetarianism is well-established and impacts the choices consumers make when choosing supplements. In regard to this demand, capsules are now widely available in vegetarian polymer—cellulose based capsules called HPMC (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose).
In Ayurveda a single ingredient is used for multiple therapies in various ways. Different therapies may require different strengths of active constituents, and thus customization is required. There is a very strong demand for customized wellness approaches that are pushing product innovation in this area. Capsules can play an important role in delivering ingredients in different strength dosage form, with the help of combination filling options.
Modern nutraceuticals are proficient at meeting modern-day unfulfilled health needs. There is a great potential in amalgamating modern nutraceuticals with traditional Ayurvedic medicines to improve and develop products that address unmet consumer needs. The effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine can be enhanced with quality control and standardization to develop pure, potent products. Modern techniques are used to make Ayurvedic ingredients more soluble and bioavailable and enhance absorption. Vegetarian capsules available in different sizes offer an integrated path with modern nutraceuticals thus provides the scope for a customizations and better healthcare system, serving consumers with efficient and safe therapeutics that meet their evolving needs.
(The author Anita Solanki is Lead – White Papers, Formulation R&D (Pharma and Nutra) and Dr. Jnanadeva Bhat is Vice President, Head, Formulation R&D (Pharma and Nutra), ACG Capsules. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)