Nutraceuticals have grown in popularity over the past decade, highlighting the important tie between whole food nutrition and medicine. By targeting different parts of the body with the nutrients proven to support them, nutraceuticals have shown to support improved health in a variety of ways for a variety of demographics.
History of Nutraceutical Manufacturing
The word “Nutraceutical” was originally coined in 1989 by Dr. Stephen DeFecile, founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovation Medicine. He sought a hybridization of the words “nutrient” meaning nourishing food components and “pharmaceutical” which refers to a medicinal product or drug. As studies continue to show the efficacy of nutraceuticals, nutritional product manufacturers have adopted the concept of nutrition as medicine, promoting high-quality whole food nutrients and supporting the development of nutraceutical formulas.
Nutrient deficiency is a common contributor to illness and disease, but proper supplementation has shown to protect the body and enable peak performance of bodily functions.
Categories of Nutraceuticals
There are four categories of nutraceuticals to be aware of: dietary supplements, functional food, medicinal food, and farmaceuticals. Proponents of farmaceuticals suggest that crops and animals may even have something to contribute to the market. Alternatively, medicinal foods are formulated for consumption under the supervision of a physician, and functional food refers to fortified whole foods that can be found in most grocery stores.
But the most important category of nutraceutical is the dietary supplement. According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, “a dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to supplement the diet.” It goes on to further define the product as taking one of many forms, such as tablets, liquids, powders, capsules, and softgels. These supplements include dietary ingredients ranging from vitamins and minerals to enzymes and amino acids, and most formulas utilize more than one of these ingredients in order to help balance chemicals in the body.