In 1989 a well known doctor who specialized in nutrition coined a word that is in common use today; nutraceutical. The word is a compilation from the words nutrition and pharmaceutical. Nutraceutical products are the host of dietary supplements, which are derived from various plants that have a positive effect on human health and wellness, providing the user with the necessary dosage of fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Many foodstuffs are fortified and are perfect examples of nutraceuticals. A good example is milk, which is often fortified with Vitamin D or with certain enzymes, which help those that are intolerant to lactose, to digest it. Another common food item which is fortifies is orange juice, it is fortified with Vitamin C and calcium. There are many other examples but any food that contains nutraceuticals is considered as a functional food.
Those companies that are involved in the contract manufacturing of nutraceuticals will tell you that their products are considered natural as they are derived from plants and not from chemical clones of the substances found in plants. Although natural nutraceuticals are by far the most common, chemical variations of some do exist but they cannot be considered as true nutraceuticals. A good example is estrogen, the natural estrogen is a product of yams but there is a chemically produced form as well which does not meet the test.
Many nutraceuticals are well recognized for being antioxidant and are used to combat ageing and as an antifungal. Fish oil and flaxseed are two examples of supplements that used to combat high levels of cholesterol or to reduce the risk of heart problems. They both contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Many types of vitamins are plant based and as such a product of companies involved in the contract manufacturing of nutraceuticals. Today, people are not only relying on vitamin supplements, they are also turning to herbal supplements, of which there are many.
Nutraceuticals are not subjected to the in-depth and rigorous testing that pharmaceuticals are and as such they must be treated with caution. There is always the possibility that they may interact negatively with each other or with a prescription drug that is being taken. It is always a good idea to discuss these products with your doctor.