Nutraceuticals: a healthy alternative to pharmaceutical drugs

By Aanan Khurma

The word nutraceutical comes from the word nutraceutical which is a term derived from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”. Nutraceuticals are concentrates and isolates of compounds that occur naturally in different food sources. These compounds are extracted to be consumed for wellness, disease prevention, and addressing dietary deficiencies.

Although the basic concept behind nutraceuticals is as old as civilization itself, it was only with advances in biotechnology that the concept spread to the masses. For example, Shilajit which is literally silt which is excreted from certain mountain ranges like the Himalayan Mountains has been used by mankind for the past 4000 years. From natural nutraceuticals mankind came advanced substances like carbon 60 olive oil, stem cell increasing X39, MitoQ and NAD (supercharged niacin).

While pharmaceutical ingredients follow the problem-solution approach, nutraceuticals work on repairing the metabolic pathways (catabolic and anabolic processes) of the body. The primary purpose of pharmaceutical drugs is to provide symptomatic relief, while that of nutraceuticals is to repair the internal process that leads to a health condition. In this regard, nutraceuticals are preventive while pharmaceuticals are curative.

The nutraceutical approach to health is based on identifying deficiencies in the human body that cause symptoms or may lead to disease in the future. These deficiencies are then filled by supplying the human body with these chemicals through synthesis or extraction as exact copies of those found in nature. These cannot be patented, so they are usually much cheaper.

Thanks to advancements in science, we can now produce the same kind of effect as drugs without all the side effects by synthesizing the exact compounds our bodies need in the lab. It is commendable. These include a multitude of chemical names such as 5-HTTP, pregnenalone, melatonin, DHEA, MSM, lutein, co-enzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, creatine, L-cartinine and many more. Also included are synthetic vitamins A through Z.

Pharmaceuticals require the prescription of a licensed physician to be purchased. The alternative of health supplements happens to be an individual choice. They are marketed without restriction in grocery stores, health food stores, national discount chains, pharmacies, mail order and the Internet. There are no firm laws for the regulation of governing health supplements. Almost anyone can get a health supplement, alert the Food & Drugs Administration, and place it on the market.

(The author is co-founder of Wellversed. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)

Alvin J. Chase