Phytopharmaceutical Applications of Nutraceutical and Functional Foods

Phytopharmaceutical Applications of Nutraceutical and Functional Foods

Dhan Prakash (Amity University, India) and Charu Gupta (Amity University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7039-4.ch008
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Nutraceuticals are actually “Bioactive herbal formulations” that contains selective combinations of specific bioactive constituents of plants and/or their parts that possess health-promotive, disease preventing and medicinal properties. The important phytochemical constituents commonly found in plants are polyphenols, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, anthocyanidins, carotenoids, fibers, limonoids, glucosinolates, phytoestrogens, phytosterols and terpenoids. They play positive pharmacological activities in human health such as antioxidant activity, anti-microbial activity, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic, chemo-preventive, hepato-protective, neuro-protective, hypolipidemic, hypotensive, anti-aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, repair DNA damage, heart diseases, diuretic, Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant, immuno-modulator, carminative, Thus the present chapter summarizes the phyto-pharmaceutical applications of nutraceuticals and functional foods and would lay emphasis on its importance for future generations for their well-being.
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Nutraceuticals: Then And Now

Nutraceuticals are products that provide health and medicinal benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foodstuff. Nutraceuticals are particularly of interest to the present generation because they have the potential to substantially reduce the expensive, high-tech, disease treatment approaches presently being employed in Western healthcare (Sharma & Prakash, 2013).

This category includes any food that we eat, having a particular health benefit that has been established through molecular and clinical research. In other words, a food can become a nutraceutical simply through the production of new scientific knowledge (Street, 2015).

Chemically the nutraceuticals may be classified as isoprenoid derivatives (terpenoids, carotenoids, saponins, tocotrienols, tocopherols, terpenes), phenolic compounds (couramines, tannins, lignins, anthocyanins, isoflavones, flavonones, flavanoids), carbohydrate derivatives (ascorbic acid, oligosaccharides, non-starch polysaccharides), fatty acid and structural lipids (n-3 PUFA, CLA, MUFA, sphingolipids, lecithins), amino acid derivatives (amino acids, allyl-S compounds, capsaicinoids, isothiocyanates, indoles, folate, choline), microbes (probiotics, prebiotics) and minerals (Ca, Zn, Cu, K, Se) (Prakash, Dhakarey, & Mishra, 2004; Sharma, 2009). They play a crucial role in maintaining optimal immune response, such that deficient or excessive intakes can have negative impact on health. Around the world, the governing bodies have accepted nutraceuticals as possible nutraceutical therapy in main stream of medical education and health (Sharma, 2009).

The major nutraceuticals mainly include vitamins and minerals and bioactive constituents from plant sources (phytochemicals). The vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, folate have been reported as anti-cancer, immunoprotective and reducing cancer risk in individuals who used self-medication (Zhang et al., 2008).

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