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Information @ a Glance

General
  • 'A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered designer foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups and beverages.
  • Nutraceutical, a portmanteau of nutrition and pharmaceutical, refers to extracts of foods claimed to have a medicinal effect on human health. The nutraceutical is usually contained in a medicinal format such as a capsule (pharmacy), tablet or powder in a prescribed dose. Nutraceuticals are often used in nutrient premixes or nutrient systems in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Process

  • Nutraceutical places special emphasis on quality control and conducts inspections throughout the manufacturing process, including raw material verification, homogeneity testing, weight deviation measurements and package quality sampling. Nutraceuticals are polar organic molecules with associated health benefits that can be extracted from plants.
  • Botanicals can be fractionated to produce a natural color fraction, an aroma fraction, an anti-oxidant fraction and/or a flavor fraction. This is important in producing nutraceuticals because unwanted strong flavors in certain botanicals such as garlic and rosemary can be separated from the nutraceutical components.

Applications

  • The carotenoid pigment astaxanthin has important applications in the nutraceutical, cosmetics, food and feed industries. Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest source of natural astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a strong coloring agent and a potent antioxidant its strong antioxidant activity points to its potential to target several health conditions.
  • A new trend is sweeping the Western world. "Nutraceuticals" are foodstuffs, including drinks, snack bars and even marshmallows, which have been given additives such as collagen, vitamins and enzymes. And it's claimed that these products can make people appear younger and even more attractive. The relationship between stereospecific fatty acid location and lipid nutrition suggests that the process of interesterification, or acidolysis, could be used to improve the nutrition profile of certain triacylglycerols(TAGs.)

Technology

  • Supercritical fluid technology will allow nutraceutical companies to develop products of standardized concentration of active ingredients, and will simultaneously produce nutraceutical products of much higher concentration (higher yields and purity) and quality (with less creation of artifacts), than possible by conventional chemical engineering unit operations, such as liquid/liquid extraction, distillation, mechanical micronization, liquid and/or gas phase reactions, etc.
  • Molecular diagnostics may play a key role in food safety related to genetically modified foods, food-borne pathogens and novel nutraceuticals. The DNA microarray technology offers a new dimension of strength in molecular diagnostics by permitting the simultaneous analysis of large sets of genes.

Market

  • A University in Canada is establishing a $25 million Research and Development Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals to study prairie crops such as oats, wheat, buckwheat, canola, flax and hemp. Nutraceuticals, which do not pose an environmental hazard, may be easier and faster to market.
  • Japan was the first country to recognize and regulate functional food. Japan is the most advanced market with a flexible regulatory environment. Today it is worth some $12 billions for nutraceuticals and food supplements combined.
  • Growth of the US nutraceutical market will accelerate, led by the dairy and confectionery categories, annual nutraceutical sales will be $35.4 billion. The Indian nutraceutical market is likely to reach $270 million in the next three years, excluding vitamin formulations. Indian pharmaceutical companies have ventured into nutraceutical products as they have realised that the future is for preventive therapy rather than curative therapy.

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