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NUTRACEUTICALS: AN AGENT FOR IMPROVING HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.

ASANTEWAA BEATRICE
ASANTEWAA BEATRICE


In a community where l live, the first and immediate antidote given to a person suffering from a minor illness is soup. Primarily referred to as "pepper soup". This occurred to me to look into the ingredients used in making such soups and how it helps cure diseases. Some of these ingredients are used as part of dietary supplements in maximum countries. Also, they can be phytonutrients that are biologically effective and have health advantages for human fitness and longevity. The beauty of these ingredients is that consumption is without a medicinal prescription. However, categories of these ingredients put together are termed nutraceutical. So, this article will pertain to the study on nutraceuticals from various biological origins and their probable usage as an agent for enhancing human health and wellness.

Nutraceutical is used to clarify any product that is developed from food sources that offer other health benefits in addition to the nutritional value of the food including the prevention and treatment of diseases. It Is derived from "nutrition" and pharmaceutical. The term “nutraceutical” was coined in 1989 by Stephen De Felice, founder, and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, an American organization that facilitates medical health research. He defined a nutraceutical as a “food, or parts of a food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease”.

Generally, nutraceuticals are declared to contain anti-aging and pharmaceutical properties, prevent the development of some long-term diseases, are able of lessening symptoms, and show other distinct physiological functions, such as boosting immunity. Nonetheless, nutraceuticals may be referred to as superfoods, health supplements such as vitamins that are derived from natural sources.

CLASSIFICATION OF NUTRACEUTICALS AND THEIR USES.

Nutraceuticals can be classified in different ways depending on their application. Some of the most accepted means of classifying nutraceuticals can be based on food sources, chemical character, and mechanism of vitality. The food sources used as nutraceuticals are all-natural and can be classified as

1.Probiotics
2.Dietary Fiber
3.Prebiotics
4.Spices
5.Polyunsaturated fatty acids
6.Antioxidant vitamins
7.Polyphenols
Let's take the explanation one after the other.


1.PROBIOTICS.

Probiotic is beneficial and a live microbial feed extra, which when regulated in ample quantities affects the host creature by enhancing its intestinal microbial proportion when consumed or even applied to the body. In other words, probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses, stimulating a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system. Also, probiotics can be supplied through foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. Gram-positive cocci such as Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus, Enterococcus faecium is bacteria found in probiotics. However, let's not forget that.

Our body naturally has what we would call good or beneficial bacteria and bad or harmful bacteria. So, It is agreeable to doubt the idea that bacteria are beneficial and can be tough to understand. Yet we take antibiotics to kill harmful bacterial infections and use antibacterial soaps and lotions more than ever. Look, the wrong bacteria in the wrong place can cause problems, but the right bacteria in the right place can have benefits. That is why maintaining the correct balance between these bacteria is necessary for optimal health.

Although age, genetics, and diet may influence the composition of the bacteria in the body,  an imbalance called dysbiosis has possible links to diseases of the intestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn's disease, as well as more systemic diseases like obesity and diabetes.

PREBIOTICS.


Prebiotics are a type of fiber that the human system can not digest. They are found in foods such are bananas, grains, soybeans, onions, garlic, and more. The prebiotic comes before and helps the probiotic, and then the two can combine to have a collective effect, known as synbiotics. A prebiotic is a nondigestible carbohydrate that acts as food for the probiotics and bacteria in your gut.

The effect of prebiotics is the selective stimulation of growth of one or a limited number of microbial species in the gut microbiota that confers health benefits to the host. The health benefits have been suggested to include acting as a remedy for gastrointestinal complications such as enteritis, constipation, and irritable bowel disease; prevention and treatment of various cancers; decreasing allergic inflammation; treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases and fight immune deficiency diseases.

DIETARY FIBER.


Dietary fiber is a part of plant-based food that does not break down or digest when passes through your digestive system. Dissimilar to other food ingredients, such as fats, proteins, or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes somewhat intact through your stomach and small intestine.
Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, and insoluble, which doesn't dissolve. Most plants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber but in different amounts. Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet and supports many different body systems. It helps control body weight, regulates bowel movements, and lowers the risk of breast cancer, diabetes, it also regulates blood sugar, and possibly prevents hypertension.

ANTIOXIDANT VITAMINS


Antioxidants are molecules that oppose free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm your cells. However, Free radicals are compounds that can incite damage if their levels increase in your body. They’re likened to numerous illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Generally, our body has its antioxidant defenses to keep free radicals in check. But, because our body needs to maintain a certain balance between free radicals and antioxidants, adequate intake of antioxidant vitamins is necessary. Nonetheless, the three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E which are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Note that Antioxidants are essential for the survival of all living things. Your life counts on the intake of certain antioxidants — i.e., vitamins C and E.


SPICES.


The antioxidant properties of spices have far-reaching nutraceutical value. The antioxidant properties of bioactive compounds present in spices are of particular interest given the consequence of the suppression of oxidative stress in the expansion of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, inflammatory disease, and cancer. Spices deserve to be considered as the natural and necessary ingredient of our daily nutrition, beyond their function in imparting aroma and taste to our food.

POLYPHENOLS.


Polyphenols are a type of compound naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. Regularly consuming polyphenols is thought to stimulate digestion and brain health, as well as protect against heart disease, and even certain cancers. Also, polyphenols may hinder the breakdown of starch into simple sugars, lowering the rate of blood sugar quantities after meals.
These compounds may again help enable the secretion of insulin, a hormone that’s needed to alternate sugar from your bloodstream into your cells and keep your blood sugar levels safe.


POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids refer to those fatty acids that are not usually attributed with food, but rightful dietary supplements of those fatty acids can promote our health or provide protection against some diseases. Polyunsaturated fatty acids contain two or more double bonds and have been identified as essential nutrients for mammals. For instance, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), rich in the cells of the mammalian retina and brain tissues, was discovered to be important for the normal function of the human eye and brain, as well as helpful for patients suffering from other infections. Dietary supplements of this fatty acid were revealed to hinder chemical-induced skin and stomach cancers, decrease the growth of atherosclerosis, and improve immune role in mammalians.


SOURCES OF NUTRACEUTICALS.


Nutraceuticals are derived from bacterial, fungal, algal, cyanobacterial, and plant origins.

NUTRACEUTICAL FROM FUNGAL ORIGIN.

Specific types of fungi are used as traditional medicine across various parts of the world. For instance, in Africa, fungi are consumed as food and medicine, for recreational purposes, Some fungi having anti-aging properties are used in promoting health benefits. In modern years, science has uncovered fungi as rich sources of nutraceuticals. Mushrooms; which are types of fungi are rich in several kinds of bioactive compounds with functional properties as antioxidants, anticancer, antibiotics, and immunomodulatory.


2. NUTRACEUTICAL FROM BACTERIAL ORIGIN.


Different nonpathogenic microorganisms have proved therapeutic properties that are useful for gut and immune health, and they are collectively identified as probiotics as discussed above. However, the positive effect of probiotics is linked to a specific strain of bacteria. These strains of bacterial probiotics are stated to give health benefits to the human when consumed adequately.
3.Nutraceuticals from the Algal and Cyanobacterial Origin
Seaweed bioactive metabolites have been eaten for many years in different forms of diet.. seaweed is a great source of some vital elements like iron and iodine. However, high concentrations of minerals such as iron, cadmium, and zinc were found in a group of different Mediterranean seaweed species with high potential to be used in the nutritional supplement industry. However, the content of those minerals depends not only on the species but also on the geographical distributions and environmental conditions. therefore, the assessment of the content and potential human toxicity should be a routine procedure for those species selected for health supplements and the food processing industry. Brown seaweed also showed potential antiviral properties against HIV. This property of antiviral activity of the seaweed extracts related to bioactive secondary metabolites has promising applications to fight different viruses, making these different species of seaweeds a target for the drug development process and therefore improving their usefulness

NUTRACEUTICAL FROM PLANT ORIGIN.


Medicinal plants have an outdated account of tools as local remedies for many illnesses. Today, this direction is the same as using those plant molecules as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for human well-being. Traditional plant-based nutraceutical is considered the source of nutritional elements, phytochemicals, and functional food to more than three-quarters of the earth’s population. The largely known plant-based nutraceuticals are vitamins.

However, Phytonutrients are considered as a source of a bioactive raw unprocessed compound which can be figured as a basic form of nutraceuticals. For instance, fruits and vegetables give us a faction of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, water, and restorative phytochemicals. It is assumed that grains, fruit, and vegetables contain more than 4000 phytochemicals with probable nutraceutical applications.

In addition to the macronutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, essential for normal metabolism, and plant-based micronutrients such as trace elements, vitamins also have significant importance in health development.

BENEFITS OF NUTRACEUTICALS.

In a nutshell, the rapid population growth and the growth in health challenges due to the rising of different diseases made the availability of health-related nutraceuticals from natural sources an urgent requirement. The need for nutraceuticals may improve with the changes in the demographic with a high tendency in an aging population which will lead to higher incidences of chronic diseases.

It is well known that common diseases related to aging are hypertension, congestive heart failure, dementia, osteoporosis, breathing problems, diabetes, and pathologies linked with decreased immunity. So, nutraceuticals can be beneficial in promoting healthy aging, lessening cancer incidence, and decreasing epidemics.


Today more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food selection, toxic food ingredients, and nutritional deficiencies. Nutraceutical is the only solution that can bring full recovery and can be used with any therapy. Amazing Vinny Max Bani once said, "You are what you eat". Remember, food is the best medicine!

REFERENCES


1.DeFelice, S.L. The nutraceutical revolution: Its impact on food industry R&D. Trends Food Sci. Technol. 1995, 6, 59–61. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]


2. Chanda, S.; Tiwari, R.K.; Kumar, A.; Singh, K. Nutraceuticals Inspiring the Current Therapy for Lifestyle Diseases. Adv. Pharmacol. Pharm. Sci. 2019, 2019, 6908716. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]


3. Meštrović, T. What Are Nutraceuticals? Available online: https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Nutraceuticals.aspx .

ASANTEWAA BEATRICE

I am an artless lady who seeks to improve the health care of children in deprived areas with little knowledge l have. I love to write, motivate, and inspire people with academic challenges.