The term “nutraceutical” is derived from a combination of the words nutrient and pharmaceutical. Private label nutraceuticals include any food which has shown that is has some health or other medical benefit and includes supplements. The principal difference between a nutraceutical product and a pharmaceutical product is the amount of rigorous testing. It sometimes takes years prior to approval of pharmaceuticals; this is not the case with nutraceuticals.
The most common form of a nutraceutical is a dietary supplement. The supplement is the capsule, tablet or liquid form of the nutrients that are found in the food stuff that it replicates, it is taken in addition to or supplementary to the primary daily diet. There are many food groups that fall into the category of nutraceutical; these include vitamins, minerals, botanicals and herbs.
Many private label nutraceuticals are taken for different conditions and dietary needs. Vitamin B12 aids with ones metabolism, minerals such as calcium are taken to strengthen the skeletal structure and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Botanicals such as St. John’s wort, tea, coffee and chocolate are all examples of botanicals that are used to both stimulate and relieve tension and stress.
It is not only supplements that are nutraceutical, this also includes functional foodstuff. Although many people frown on the practice, nutrients are used to enhance the properties of common food which is consumed normally.
Processed food is often enriched with added nutrients such as vitamin D, the process is known as nutrification. During the harvesting, shipping and processing of foods, certain nutrients are lost; these are replaced during the processing. This is also true with such foods as yogurt which has live cultures added during the processing.
There is certain medical foodstuff which is a nutraceutical which is administered under medical supervision and only available with a prescription. These products are often prescribed to those patients who cannot eat food normally, these patients may be premature babies and patients recently released from surgery. These nutraceuticals are administered to the patient through a gastric feeding tube which reaches the stomach having been inserted into the nostril.
There are also nutraceuticals which are commonly called “farmaceuticals”, a combination of the words farm and pharmaceutical. These products are derived via manipulation of certain crops and animals to produce a more nutritious product.