The ingredients of success8 December 2020
The word ‘nutraceutical’ – a combination of ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’ – is an umbrella term describing any food or ingredient that provides nutritional and health beneﬁts, and helps to prevent disease. Nutraceuticals include herbal products, food supplements, probiotics and prebiotics. This edited version of ‘A review on nutraceuticals: The combination of nutrition and pharmaceutical’ by Souvik Tewari and Kamble Sumeet Ramkrishna, examines common nutraceuticals and their potential health-giving properties.
As we become increasingly health conscious, demand for health foods and nutritional supplements continues to grow, and new products are constantly being developed to keep up with changing trends. This has helped to raise awareness of nutraceuticals and their many benefits. Nutraceuticals fall into a number of different categories, each with their own nutritional properties:
¦ Fibre: an adequate intake helps to control constipation and other digestive-related health problems. Dietary fibre is commonly defined as non-digestible carbohydrates and lignins that are intrinsic and intact in plants. Functional fibre consists of isolated non-digestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans. Total fibre is the sum of dietary and functional fibre. Resistant starches, oligosaccharides and other non-digestible carbohydrates are also classified as functional fibre.
¦ Vitamins and minerals: essential for healthy bones, eyes, skin and immune system function. They are mainly present in fruit and vegetables.
¦ Cheese: one of the most common probiotic dairy products, with a high potential to carry bacteria – the number of probiotic bacteria present in cheese can be more than 10 million. This microbial mass has more protective effects on probiotic bacteria in comparison to yoghurt, because of its chemical and physical properties such as low pH, high buffering capacity, high nutrients and high fat levels. Therefore, cheese is one of the main sources of probiotic microorganisms. Probiotic cheese is also beneficial for controlling lactose intolerance.
¦ Probiotic yoghurt: this is another common and beneficial fermented dairy product, which is prepared from milk and produced by lactic acid bacteria. In the production of yoghurt, two starters are used: Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. However, neither of them can survive the digestive tract, and thus are unable to provide probiotic properties since they are destroyed under acidic conditions. Therefore, acid-resistant species must be used. Yoghurt is produced by adding the probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the presence or in the absence of a starter. Many types of yoghurt with different probiotics have been produced around the world. In addition to its nutritional value, probiotic yoghurt has an important role in fighting against pathogens. It is highly beneficial for controlling diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel diseases and lactose intolerance.
¦ Ice cream: a great source of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids from milk proteins, and its components are easily digested and absorbed in the body.
Nutraceuticals and diseases
As well as helping to maintain overall well-being, nutraceuticals can be used against specific health issues, like the ones that follow.
First is cardiovascular disease. Dietary fibre, omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants can help to prevent and control arterial diseases. Rice bran, which contains high levels of dietary fibre, helps lower serum cholesterol levels (reducing low-density lipoprotein and increasing high-density lipoprotein). Rice bran is also beneficial for eye health as it contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps to reduce the risk of cataracts. What’s more, it is a source of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9, as well as folic acid, which helps to remove free radicals from the body.
Fruit and vegetables are also beneficial for cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables can lead to heart disease. Next is diabetes. Various nutraceuticals can be used to control this very common noncommunicable disease. N-3 fatty acids in the form of ethyl esters may be helpful for diabetic patients, while docosahexaenoic acid modulates insulin resistance, and is also vital for neurovisual development. Dietary fibres from psyllium have been used for glucose control in diabetic patients, and can help to reduce lipid levels in hyperlipidemia. Lipoic acid, an antioxidant, is also used for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
Nutraceuticals can be used to fight obesity too. Nutraceuticals such as capsaicin conjugated linoleic acid, psyllium fibre and Momordica charantia contain properties that may help to maintain a healthy weight, as people are conscious about body weight.
Another use is in inflammation and immune disease. Curcumin (the primary bioactive substance in turmeric) is a polyphenol that has anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beetroot, cucumber, spinach leaves and turmeric rhizomes also have anti-tumour properties, and have been shown to help remove free radicals from the body. Gamma linolenic acid – found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and vegetables oils such as blackcurrant seed oil and hemp seed oil – is another nutraceutical with beneficial qualities that may help treat inflammation and immune disease.
A final example is osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate are nutraceuticals that are mostly used to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a debilitating joint disorder. Individuals experiencing discomfort caused by osteoarthritis or other joint disorders may have reduced physical mobility, resulting in energy imbalance and, potentially, weight gain. This can exacerbate existing problems by causing additional stress on the joints. These two nutraceuticals have nutrient and pharmaceutical properties, and help to regulate gene expression and the synthesis of nitric oxide and Prostaglandin E2, offering a plausible explanation for their anti-inflammatory qualities.
Nutraceuticals in use
Nutraceuticals have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties that can help to control a number of diseases and disorders when taken according to their acceptable recommended intake. Foods and ingredients with nutraceutical properties can also help to maintain general health. For example, probiotic dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and ice cream are beneficial for the digestive system and help to control diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive gas problems and lactose intolerance. Dietary fibre-rich foods like rice bran, wheat bran and fibrous fruits, meanwhile, can control obesity and help reduce serum cholesterol levels. Some polyphenolic compounds, including flavonones, flavones, curcumin, glucosinolates, isoflavones and lignans, also have beneficial antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutraceutical ingredients market worth $227.5bn by 2025
As of 2020, the nutraceutical ingredients market was estimated to be worth $162.1bn, and it is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7% to $227.5bn by 2025. The expansion of the nutraceuticals industry has been driven by the rising demand for fortified food as consumers have become increasingly health conscious in recent years.
The probiotics segment is estimated to be the largest in 2020
Probiotic products have dominated the nutraceuticals market in 2020. Probiotics have been shown to have positive effects on human health, and have become an essential ingredient for various health and nutritional applications. As a result, there is a wide range of probiotic-based products available in the functional food and beverage, dietary supplement and animal nutrition segments.
The food segment is projected to dominate the market by 2025
As awareness continues to grow, the market for nutraceutical-based food is increasing as consumers become more concerned with maintaining a balanced diet. People are now seeking out food that not only satisfies their hunger but also takes health into consideration. Consequently, the expansion of the nutraceutical food market is widening its applications and creating growth opportunities for the nutraceutical ingredients market.
The dietary segment is projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast 2020–25 period The dietary supplement segment is projected to be the fastest-growing market in the 2020–25 period. Dietary supplements offer a number of general health benefits; they have been shown to help improve the balance of gut microflora, intestinal functions such as bulking and regularity, calcium absorption and bone density, immune function and control of blood sugar. Dietary supplements can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, the release of toxins that lead to fatty liver disease and other complications, obesity and metabolic syndrome, and abdominal pain, bloating and constipation.
The prebiotics segment is estimated to be the largest in 2020
The nutraceutical ingredients market, by type, is currently dominated by the prebiotics segment. The rising health awareness among the global population in recent years has been a major influence on the growth in demand for prebiotic products. Prebiotics have been used as a low-calorie fat replacement to help reduce weight gain and diabetes, and have a wide range of other applications, including fortification in food and beverage products. In animal feed, meanwhile, prebiotics are an effective alternative to antimicrobials, and can be used to protect livestock health and increase the efficiency of nutrient utilisation.
Asia-Pacific projected to account for largest market share in 2020–25
Looking at the global nutraceutical ingredients industry, the Asia-Pacific region is a major driver of demand. Increasingly busy lifestyles have led to a rise in the consumption of convenience food products, and the rapid economic growth of countries in this region has increased the need for fortified nutritional food and beverage products to keep up with these trends.
The nutraceuticals market is projected to increase at a rapid rate in the region due to a surge in demand and the presence of a large consumer base for food, beverages, dietary supplements, personal care products and animal feed, which ingredients producers and suppliers can take advantage of.