Ø  Definition of nutraceuticals

Ø  Classification of nutraceuticals

Ø  Market and growth

Ø  Health benefits and role of nutraceuticals in Diabetes, CVD, Cancer and irritable bowel syndrome and GID

Ø  Source and Health benefits of Alfa Alfa, Chicory and Fenugreek

Ø  Source and Health benefits of Honey, Amla, Ashwagandha


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

Ø  Define nutraceuticals

Ø  Classify nutraceuticals with examples

Ø  Discuss the Market and growth of nutraceuticals

Ø  Describe Health benefits of nutraceuticals in diabetes , CVD, Cancer and irritable bowel syndrome and GID

Ø  Discuss the health benefits of Alfa Alfa, Chicory, Fenugreek and Ginseng

Ø  Discuss the health benefits of Honey, Amla, Ashwagandha


     “Any substance may be considered as food or part of food, which in addition to its normal nutritive value provides health benefits including prevention of diseases or promotion of health”

     Diabetes – Garlic, momordica

     Cancer – Flax seeds, green tea

     Immunomodulator - Ginseng

Classification of Nutraceuticals

Ø  Inorganic mineral supplements

Ø  Vitamin supplements

Ø  Digestive enzymes

Ø  Probiotics

Ø  Prebiotics

Ø  Dietary fibres

Ø  Health drinks

Ø  Antioxidants


Ø  Herbs as functional foods

Inorganic mineral supplements:

Ø   Large number of elements control variety of physiological and biochemical functions of human body

Ø  Most of the minerals are provided through diet, Deficiency of minerals in food may lead to various diseases

Eg: Calcium – Imp in the treatment of bone loss and prevention, sufficient intake of Ca post menopause significantly reduce the risk of bone fracture

     Manganese – bone formation and cartilage

     Zinc – Antioxidant 

Vitamin supplement:

Ø   Necessary for maintenance of human life in small quantities

Ø  Vit B complex – Specific vitamin B recommended for to combat high levels of homocysteine

Ø  Niacinamide  deficiency – Neurological and skin problems

Ø  Vitamin C – Anti oxidant, Necessary for proper maintenance for bones

Digestive enzymes:

Ø   Use to help absorb and digest food material

Ø  Pepsin of digestive juice – Digestive aid for proteins

Ø  Amylase – Digest carbohydrates

Ø  Pancrilipase – Breakdown of fat in small intestine

Ø  Papain and bromelain – In digestive disorders


Ø   Describing as a living organisms

Ø  When ingested with or without food improves the intestinal microbial balance and consequently the health and functioning of large intestine

Ø  Approximately 95% of bacteria found in colon of human body, some of them are useful and some of them harmful

Ø  Natural balance between these two play an imp role in the health and functioning of large intestine

Eg: Bioyoghurts – Lactobacillus acidophilus reduces the incidence of vaginal infections Bifido bacteria found in yoghurt prevent young children suffering from diarrhoea


Ø   Food components that escape digestion by normal human digestive enzymes and reach the colon after passage through the stomach and small intestine

Ø   selectively promote the growth of probiotics

Eg: Fructo oligosaccharide used in food supplements encourage the growth of Bifido bacteria already present in the gut

Dietary fibres: Necessary for our body to function properly

Water insoluble fibre:

Ø   Absorbs water to certain extent

Ø  Mainly contributes to bulking of stool

Ø  Allows quick passage of wastes

Eg : Whole grain cereals, wheat, fruits and vegetables

Water soluble fibre:

Ø   Get dissolved in a water and forms a gel that binds the stool

Ø  Slows down the absorption of glucose and reduce the cholesterol levels

Eg : Oats, legumes, fruits and vegetables

Health drinks:

Ø   Health drinks are incorporated with antioxidants, Vit A, C and E and herbal extracts

Eg : Tropicana fruit juice fortified with Calcium provide 365 mg/250 ml


Ø   Deficiency of antioxidants leads to variety of diseases like diabetes, cardiac diseases, arthritis etc

True antioxidants:

Ø   React with free radicals and block the chain reaction of free radicals

Antioxidant synergists:

Ø   Very low antioxidant potential, but enhance the effect of true antioxidants by reacting with heavy metals which catalyse the auto oxidation


Ø   Vitamin C  - Citrus fruits

Ø  Lycopene – Tomato

Ø  β-carotene – Carrot, sweet potato

Ø  Rutin – Buck wheat, eucalyptus

Ø  Quercetin – Onion, apple, black grapes

Ø  Betalaines – Beet root

Poly unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)

Ø   Human body is capable of synthesizing most of the fatty acids except two major Poly unsaturated fatty acids omega-3-fatty acid and omega -6-fatty acid

Ø  These are precursors for arachidonic acid and docosohexanoic acid (DHA)

Ø  These acids found to regulate Blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting etc

Ø  Essential for the development of foetus and also during first 6 months after birth

Ø  Breast milk is a rich source for DHA

Herbs as functional foods: Various herbs used in prevention of disease

Eg: Garlic, spirulina, momordica, flax seed, tomato, turmeric, Ginkago biloba etc

Market and growth of Nutraceuticals

Ø  Internationally nutraceuticals are gaining importance and are becoming a part of the consumers daily diet

Ø   Major reasons for this changes are the increasing occurrence of life style diseases and people intentionally taking  preventive health care measures

Ø  Developed markets like USA and Europe are discovering the unexploited segment of modified products based on health claims

Ø  In 2010, the Indian nutraceuticals industry was estimated at $ 2 billion, roughly 1.5% of the global nutraceuticals industry

Ø  The total Indian nutraceuticals market was approximately $ 5 billion  in 2015

Ø   Global market size is expected to reach $ 300 billion by 2022

Ø   Nutraceutical  has spectacular annual  growth rate of 25% in indian health care market

Ø   Nutraceutical  market is predicted to record revenue of USD 671 billion by 2024

Health benefits of nutraceuticals in Diabetes

Nutraceuticals may offer many benefits to our health like

Ø   Increases the health value of our diet

Ø   Help us to live longer

Ø   Help us to stay away from particular medicinal conditions

Ø   May be supposed to be more natural medicine than traditional medicine and do not produce unpleasant side effects

Vitamin C:

Ø   It is a chain breaking antioxidant and prevents the propagation of chain reactions

Ø   Vitamin C (800 mg/day) replenishes the Vitamin C levels in patients with type II Diabetes mellitus

Ø   Low Vitamin C level impair insulin resistance levels

Calcium/Vitamin D:

Ø   High calcium intake acts as  protective to develop diabetes

Ø   it acts by suppressing secretion of Para Thyroid Harmone (PTH) and help to preserve insulin sensitivity

Vitamin E

Ø   Essential fat soluble vitamin and acts mainly as an anti-oxidant

Ø  Low levels of vitamin E produces increased frequency of diabetes

Ø  Doses of vitamin E up to 400 IU are generally safe to use


Ø   High fat diet can damage glucose tolerance and promote obesity and these abnormalities can be improved by reducing saturated fat intake. Mono saturated fat such as olive and peanut oils have low glycemic index


Ø   Foods rich in fibres like fruits, vegetables  and whole cereals provede protective effects against chronic diseases and in lipid and glycemic metabolism

Ø   An intake of 26 g and 38 g is recommended for women and men respectively


Ø  Chromium supplements may increase glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in patients with Type II Diabetes mellitus


Ø  Magnesium rich diets significantly improves  the insulin sensitivity (Adiposite insulin sensitivity)

Alpha Lipoic acid:

Ø  Naturally occurring antioxidant involve in chelation of heavy metals and regeneration of other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamine C and E.

Ø  Protects the injury to the retina which leads to visual loss (Diabetic retinopathy)


Ø  Acts similar to insulin in transporting glucose in to the cells and useful in both type I and  type II Diabetes mellitus

Ø   45 – 150 mg/day useful in decreasing fasting blood glucose levels


Ø  Stimulates insulin secretion but excessive intake should be avoided as it may lead to diabetic nephropathy

Ø   Vegetable protein is preferred over animal protein as it is better for reducing serum cholesterol and in the management of nephropathy

Ø  Soya, rice, egg, milk products etc

Health benefits of nutraceuticals in CVD

Ø  Majority of the cardio vascular diseases can be prevented and controlled

Ø  Low intake of vegetables and fruits is connected with a high mortality  in CVD

Ø  Nutraceuticals in the form of anti-oxidants, dietary fibres, PUFA, vitamins and minerals recommended for prevention and treatment of CVD


Ø  Plant sterols are known as phytosterols

Ø   Present in plants – Fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals

Ø   Inhibit intestinal absorption of cholesterol, but do not affect HDL and VLDL. Form micelle with bile salts, thus improve serum lipid profile and decrease the risk of CVD

Poly phenols:

Ø  Include flavonoids, phenolic acids and stilbenes, found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, beverages

Ø   Exert anti athero-sceroticeffects in the initial stages of atherosclerosis development and increase nitric oxide release, which acts as a potent vasodilator and protects against myocardial ischemia


Ø  Present in vegetables, fruits, beverages like cocoa, tea and wine

Ø  Flavonoids exert their effect on heart due to their antioxidant activity

Ø   Inhibits platelet aggregation and loweroxide superoxide production

Spirulina and Soy nutrients:

Ø  Spirulina is a rich source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids

Ø   Spirulina supplementation alters the blood lipid profile

Ø   Soy products are rich in PUFA, fibre, vitamins and minerals, have low saturated fat content


Ø  Curcumin prevents cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure

Ø  Decreases serum lipid peroxides and total serum cholesterol

Ø   Reduces chronic inflammation induced by obesity and improves their vascular function

Omega 3- fatty acid:

Ø  Decrease inflammation and platelet aggregation, cause vasodilation and improve myocardial function

Ø  Most commonly used for primary and secondary CVD


Tomato and lycopene:

Ø  Lycopene is a carotenoid  present in red fruits and vegetables like papayas, tomato, watermelon, red pepper etc

Ø   Lycopene reduces myocardial infarction and angina pectoris

Ø  Most powerful anti-oxidant and plays imp role in preventing CVD


Ø  Garlic is composed of sulphur compounds, proteins and amino acids

Ø   It contains allicin (diallyl thiosufinate) has potent anti-platelet activity

Ø  Inhibits platelet aggregation,  enhances vasodilation and fibrinolysis

Health benefits of nutraceuticals in Cancer

Ø  Fibre content in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer

Ø   Plant derivative polysaccharides act as protective role in development  of cancer lesions

Ø  Dietary supplements such as microalgae, plant derivatives and vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other micro nutrients

Ø  Adequate utilization of  dietary nutraceuticals is a sensible way to maintain health and avoid the formation of cancer


Ø  Chest nut extract possesses antioxidant activity and is protective against gastric cancer

Ø   Mild protective effect against prostate and breast cancer


Ø  Blue, black and strawberries are good source of antioxidants and phenolic compounds

Ø   These berries act as chemo protective against breast cancer

Ø   Exerts anti-cancer effect by inhibiting growth of cancer cells by which activities of proteins involved in the oncogenesis gets interrupted in their path way


Ø  Soy contains iso flavones, which reduce the risk of breast cancer particularly in postmenopausal women

Ø   Intake of high amount of soy reduced the risk of colorectal cancer


Ø  Garlic is composed of sulphur compounds, proteins and amino acids

Ø   Diallyl trisulphide prevents the development of prostate cancer and lung cancer

Ø   Acts by inhibiting the expression of androgen receptor which is actively involved in the development of prostate cancer

Ø   Garlic oil effective against liver cancer


Green Tea:

Ø  Green tea contains polyphenols which prevent the advancement of cancer

Ø   Protects the bladder against cell death, antioxidant potency of green tea reduces the oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide in malignant/normal bladder cells

Grape Seed:

Ø  Effective in the prevention of skin cancer (UV rays induced) and   decreases risk of squamous cell carcinoma as it contains polyphenols and proanthocyanidin

Ø   It also inhibit blood cancer and prostate cancer when taken as supplements

Tomato and Red pepper:

Ø  Tomato contain lycopene ( carotenoid ) is a potent antioxidant , which is chemo-protective against prostrate, breast and lung cancer

Ø   Lycopene reduces myocardial infarction and angina pectoris

Ø  Capsiacin an active component of pepper inhibits the migration of skin cancer cells to other body parts

Dietary fibre:

Ø  These fibres prevents constipation by increasing bulk of stool and hence reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

Ø   Also reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women

Ø   Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,  sprouts contain dietary fibres

Health benefits of nutraceuticals in irritable bowel and GID


Ø  Derived from rhizomes of Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae

Ø   Used both in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, especially in abdominal pain and bloating

Ø  Curcumin has anti-inflammatory activity and reduces mucosal injuries and useful in peptic ulcer


Ø  Garlic is composed of sulphur compounds, proteins and amino acids

Ø   Garlic oil prevents ethanol induced gastric injury and this protective effect has been recognized for its anti-oxidant activity

Aloe Vera:

Ø  Contains  potential anthroquinones, salicylates, lupeol, acemannan

Ø   Acemanan prevents stress induced gastric ulceration

Ø   Stimulates the collagen synthesis, thus increases the ulcer healing process


Ø  Ripe/half ripe fruits of Aegle marmelos, Rutaceae

Ø   Luvangetin, a pyranocoumarin isolated from the seeds has been shown to protect gastric mucosa in gastric ulceration


Ø  It has capacity to stimulate tissue growth, enhance re- epithelization and minimize scar formation

Ø   Effective against gastric ulcers induced by acetyl salicylic acid

Ø   Inhibits the growth of H Pylori responsible for gastritis, peptic ulcer


Ø  Fat soluble vitamins A and D have protective role in irritable bowel syndrome

Ø   Vitamin D deficiency produces mucosal inflammation


Ø   Describing as a living organisms

Ø  When ingested with or without food improves the intestinal microbial balance and consequently the health and functioning of large intestine

Ø  Approximately 95% of bacteria found in colon of human body, some of them are useful and some of them harmful

Ø  Natural balance between these two play an imp role in the health and functioning of large intestine

Ø  Probiotics available in the form of tablets, capsules, powders and food form

Eg: Bifido bacteria found in yoghurt prevent young children suffering from diarrhoea

Alfa Alfa

Botanical name: Leaves, seeds and stems of the plant Medicago sativa

Family:  Fabaceae

Alfa Alfa is one of the most nutrient rich plants known as father of foods


Vitamins – B1, B6 and C

Minerals: Calcium, zinc and iron

Phytoestrogens: Alfalfa coumestrol, genistein, biocanine Triterpenoid saponins, amino acid – L-Canavanine,

Health benefits:

Healthy skin:

Ø  Alfa Alfa chlorophyll is rich in vitamin A and enzymes. Vit A helps to maintain and construct a healthy and glowing skin, helps to cure dry skin

Healthy hair:

Ø  Rich in Vitamin B1, B6 and Vit C and minerals,  essential for proper growth and health of hair, used to treat baldness and prevent of hair loss

Ø  Rich in proteins- helps in healthy hair

Cardiac disease: Helps in elimination of bad cholesterol and control the level, thereby decreasing the risk of heart diseases

Digestive problems:  Gastritis, stomach ulcers, bloating, and nausea can be prevented. Alfa sprouts are also used in treating chronic constipation due to its high fibre content

Cancer:  Prevents the risk of cancer as it contains an amino acid known as canavanine

UTI: It has diuretic property, which prevents disorders of kidney like water retention and prevents developing of UTI

Menopausal symptoms: Alfalfa coumestrol, genistein, bio canine counter the symptoms of menopause. As a part of diet, fight vaginal dryness, postmenopausal osteoporesis

Anti-diabetic: Diuretic nature of alfa alfa keeps the increased sugar levels under control

Weight loss:  Being rich in fibres and proteins, helps those who are on weight loss regime

Depression: Alfa alfa known to have tranquillizing and sedating effect on nervous system. It is also known to be quite effective in solving insomnia and other sleep disorders


Botanical name: Leaves, flowers & Roots of Cichorium intybus

Family:  Asteraceae


Vitamins – A, B6, C, E and K

Minerals: Zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron

Volatile oil

Phyto chemicals – Inulin, oligo fructose, coumarins, flavanoids, tannins, alkaloids and sesquiterpene lactones

Health benefits:

Digestion: Good for digestion as it contains inulin, which is a powerful prebiotic. It is effective against acid reflux, heart burn as it reduces the acidity

Cardiac diseases: Inulin reduces the level of bad cholesterol, which is main cause for atherosclerosis and high blood pressure, also contributes for heart attack and stroke

Ø  As it is low calorie vegetable acts as anti arrythemic agent

Anti-cancer: Reduces tumor growth in various type of cancers, due to the presence of various fructans which have anti-oxidant properties

Arthritis:  used in the treatment of arthritis as it has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the pain in conditions like osteoarthritis

Weight loss:  Chicory is an excellent source of oligo fructose and inulin, which helps in the management of weight by promoting weight loss. These help in the regulation of ghrelin, an amino acid mainly connected with feelings of hunger.

Constipation: Inulin is a natural fibre and helps in bowel movements and peristaltic motions as well as secretion of gastric juices. As a result digestion is improved and constipation is reduced

Improves immunity: Powerful booster for immune system, it has anti-bacterial effects and act as immune system booster. Various phyto chemicals present in it acts as antioxidants and improves immunity

Relieves anxiety: Chicory has sedative effects, which reduce anxiety and soothe the mind, thereby relieve stress

Kidney disorders:  Root extract has diuretic effect which increaser urine volume. Frequent urination helps to eliminate toxins stored in liver and kidney, thus prevent the dangerous condition that occur when toxins are allowed to remain in the body


Botanical name: Dried leaves and seeds of Trigonella foenum graecum

Family:  Fabaceae


Vitamins – Riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, Vit C

Minerals: Zinc, calcium, iron, Phosphorous

23-26% Proteins, 58% Carbohydrates, 25% dietary fibre

Phyto chemicals – Steroidal sapogenin and diosgenin

                                   AlkaloidsTrigo coumarin, trigonelline

                                    Saponins - graecunin

Health benefits:

Ø  To enhance milk production in new mothers

Ø   Fenugreek seeds commonly used as a supplement to control blood glucose level, especially to prevent or treat diabetes

Ø   To enhance libido in both men and women

Ø   Used to treat skin inflammation as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities

Ø   To reduce appetite , menustrual cramps and fever, to balance cholesterol,  to smooth muscle pain


Botanical name: Roots of Panax ginseng

Family:  Araliaceae


Vitamins – Niacin and Riboflavin

Minerals – Iron, manganese, zinc, Copper 

Phyto chemicals – Ginseng saponins – Gensenosides or Panaxosides, triterpens of dammarane and oleanane

Health benefits:

Alzheimer’s disease: Root of ginseng Improves the mental performance in people with alzheimer”s disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease: Improves lung function and, many symptoms of COPD

Mental function: Ginseng improves abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills in healthy middle aged people. In combination with ginkgo leaf extract improves memory

Erectile dysfunction: Improves sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction and also helps to prevent premature ejaculation

Flu: Reduces the risk of getting cold or flu by improving immunity

Diabetes: Help to lower blood sugar by stimulating the production of insulin in pancreas

Increases energy: Stimulates the physical and mental activity in people who weak and tired


B Source: Honey is viscous, sugary secretion obtained from honey comb of Apis mellifera and Apis dorsata

Family: Apidae

       Bees produce honey from nectar of flowers by enzymatic activity

       Honey is collected from honey comb, either from wild bee colonies or from hives of domesticated bees.


Ø  Honey is composed of carbohydrates- fructose, glucose and sucrose, proteins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids

Ø  Pure honey also contains flavonoids, polyphenols, reducing compounds, alkaloids, glycosides, anthraquinones and volatile compounds

Health benefits of Honey

Ø  Wound healing activity: Has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Activates immune response to infection

Ø  Anti-Diabetic: Honey reduces blood lipids, homocysteine and c-reactive protein contents

Ø  Anti-cancer effects: Honey modifies immune responses, prevent cell proliferation, induces apoptosis, antimutagenic etc 

Ø  Cardiovascular diseases: (Flavonoids, polyphenolics, vitC and monophenolics) Improves coronary vasodilation, reduces the ability of platelets in blood to clot and inhibits low density lipoproteins from oxidizing.

Ø  Neurological diseases: (Polyphenols) Prevents memory disorders and induce memory production at the molecular level.

Ø  Gastrointestinal diseases: Exerts antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori, also treats gastroenteritis.


B Source: fresh/dried fruits of Emblica officinalis /Phyllanthus emblica

Family: Rutaceae

       Amla is a subtropical plant, is small or medium sized tree, fruits are fleshy.


       Vitamins - Amla is a rich source of vit C (760mg/100g)

       Minerals – Zinc, copper, Chromium

       Amino acids – Alanine, lysine, proline, aspartic acid

       Phyto constituents: Phyllemblin and curcuminoides

Health benefits of Amla

Ø  Immunity booster

Ø  Treats respiratory disorders

Ø  Manages diabetes

Ø  Remedy for heart disorder

Ø  Cures eye disorder

Ø  Prevents aging

Ø  Cures anaemia

Ø  Enhances food absorption

Ø  Helps urinary system

Ø  Good for skin

Ø  Promotes healthier hair

Ø  Remedy for Scurvy


Biological Source : Dried leaves, roots and stem bases of Withania somnifera

Family: Solanaceae

       Short perennial shrub

Chemical constituents

Triterpene lactones: Withanolides- which include withaferin-A, alkaloids, steroidal lactones, tropine and cuscohygrine

Health benefits of Ashwagandha

Ø  Reduces blood sugar levels

Ø  Anti-cancer properties

Ø  Reduces cortisol levels

Ø  Boosts testosterone and increase fertility in men

Ø  Increase muscle mass and strength

Ø  Reduces inflammation

Ø  Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides

Ø  Improve brain function and memory



Ø  Nutraceuticals – Nutritional value as well as health benefits

Ø  Classification - Inorganic mineral supplements, Vitamin supplements Digestive enzymes, Probiotics, Prebiotics, Dietary fibres, Health drinks

Ø  Antioxidants, Poly unsaturated fatty acids, Herbs as functional foods


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