By Aanan Khurma
The word nutraceutical comes from the word nutraceutic which is a term derived from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutics.” Nutraceuticals are concentrates & isolates of compounds that are naturally present in different food sources. These compounds are extracted to be consumed for well-being, disease prevention, and addressing dietary defficiences.
Although the core concept behind nutraceuticals is as old as civilization itself it is only with advances in biotechnology that the concept has scaled to the masses. For example, Shilajit which is literally an ooze that is excreted from certain mountain ranges like the Himalayan mountains has been in used by mankind since the last 4000 years. From naturally occurring nutraceuticals, mankind has come advanced substances like Carbon 60 Olive Oil, Stem Cell increasing X39, MitoQ, and NAD (supercharged niacin).
While pharmaceutical ingredients follow the problem-solution approach, it nutraceuticals works on repairing metabolic pathways (catabolic and anabolic processes) of the body. The primary purpose of pharmaceutical drugs is to provide symptomatic relief, while the of nutraceuticals is to fix the internal process that lead to a health condition. In this regard, nutraceuticals are preventive while pharmaceuticals are curative.
The nutraceutical approach to health relies on identifying the deficiencies in the human body that are causing symptoms or may result in diseases in the future. These deficiencies are subsequently fulfilled by supplying the human body with these chemicals through synthesis or extraction as exact copies to those that are found in nature. These cannot be patented, so they usually are much less expensive.
Through advances in science, we can now produce the same type of effect as drugs without all of the side effects by synthesising the exact compounds that our bodies need in laboratory. This is commendable. Included in these are a host of chemical names such as 5-HTTP, pregnenalone, melatonin, DHEA, MSM, lutein, co-enzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, creatine, L-cartinine and many more. Also included are the synthetic vitamins A through Z.
Pharmaceuticals require prescription of a licensed doctor for being bought. The alternative of health supplements happens to be a choice of individual. They are traded with no restrictions at grocery stores, health food stores, national discount chains, drug stores, mail-order & Internet. There are not any firm laws for the regulation of governing health supplements. Nearly any person can arrange a health supplement, alert the Food & Drugs Administration & place it in the marketplace.
(The author is Co-Founder of Wellversed. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)