Nutraceuticals – Finding Health Among Better Foods and New Supplements
Over the last 10 years there has been a great movement in the health care industry that has changes the perspective of many, transitioning from a position of treatment to one of prevention. Gone are the days where the greater part of the system focuses on treating issues. Now a great deal of effort is being spent on nutritional supplements and nutraceuticals that target and help eliminate some of the greater health concerns of people in the new millennium.
Preventative care has long been identified as one of the best ways to reach and maintain optimum health. Likewise, it’s a sound way to keep doctor visits and medical expenses to a minimum. Creating a regimen for nutraceuticals and natural supplements is one of the easiest things we can do to help us maintain optimum health and prevent illness as a part of preventative care. As the industry grows however it can be extremely difficult for a consumer or even a distributor to distinguish a quality neutraceutical product that is beneficial from those that are poorly manufactured and provide little benefit.
As the neutraceutical market is expected to increase to a range of $176 billion by 2013 (up from $106 billion in 2006) many manufacturers around the world are trying to jump on the bandwagon and get a piece of the neutraceutical market. Many are formulating substances and related products that provide little benefit over the supplements currently on the market; as many are simply the same product with a slightly modified list of ingredients with a higher price tag and inflated promises.
This kind of marketing puts the average consumer at risk as they buy supplements and other nutraceuticals. If they aren’t aware of what they’re buying, they may end up with products that don’t deliver on their promises. That’s why it’s important to purchase products from a manufacturer that has an established reputation in the business.
Trusted Retailers vs. Manufacturers
The best method for identifying premium and effective nutraceuticals is to spend the time doing effective research. The primary source for information and content regarding nutritional supplements is and always will be the Internet. There is a plethora of information available online to those who are willing to do their research before investing in a product.
A great example would be making comparisons on new anti-aging nutraceuticals such as resveratrol. A consumer or distributer could examine the various brands using that type of formula and look up ingredients, side effects, product research and clinical research data, reviews, videos and even discussion forums with feedback form other consumers. All of this information can help a consumer or even a distributor make an educated decision regarding the products they’re interested in.
The best companies that deal in nutritional supplements and nutraceuticals often have a variety of content pertaining to their products including research data. This is why you should always work with a trusted and long-standing retailer or manufacturer. This takes the guesswork out of choosing a product. What’s more is that if you work with a long-standing retailer you know that they’ve done hours of comparison data and will generally choose the best products for their consumers. In many cases, a leading retailer will carry the most popular and most effective products on the market.
Do Nutraceuticals Also Cover Food?
Indeed. By definition, a neutraceutical is a food of any kind with a medical-health benefit. Supplements fall into this category since they’re taken orally but this also covers a wide variety of foods. These are commonly referred to as functional foods and provide a great deal of benefits beyond basic nutrition. The best examples of course are fruits and vegetables as well as foods that are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals.
Traditional Vs. Non-Traditional
Traditional nutraceuticals are the most common and they’re gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. These cover the broad range of simple, natural whole foods that deliver potent health benefits. This also includes organic foods that are natural and in no way enhanced by growers or manufacturers/distributors. In all cases, there has been no change to the food other than how it’s perceived by the people buying it.
There are a lot of foods that fall into the traditional neutraceutical category such as fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, dairy and even meat products. All of these products contain groupings of natural components that offer extensive health benefits to the body.
There of course are also non-traditional foods that are considered nutraceuticals because of the benefits, but these foods have been enhanced in some way through added nutrients, extra ingredients or specific breeding methods that create a desired result. Through genetic alteration and other methods of handling foods, scientists have been able to boost the beneficial traits and nutritional content of a wide variety of foods.
Health Claims in Nutraceuticals
It’s the general claim of a great deal of research that consuming nutraceuticals in any form offers extensive health benefits and that by taking specific foods, food extracts and other substances as part of an overall health diet then a consumer can reduce the risk of certain diseases while keeping others in check.
Consumers should be aware that not all health claims should be taken to heart or viewed as a guarantee. The FDA limits the number of true health claims that a company can make as part of their labeling and marketing – limiting those claims to a total of 13 overall. While manufactures may use these claims to market, the intended purpose to help consumers understand how a neutraceutical (be it a food or a supplement) can help them alter their daily routine and improve their overall health and diet. An example of this would be a supplemental neutraceutical that clearly stated how calcium can build stronger bones”. It’s not a guarantee that the supplement can offer this to everyone, but a general educational statement to help the consumer make an informed decision.
Before making any choice and investment into altering a personal diet to include more nutraceuticals (be it better foods or manufactured supplements) a consumer should always consult with their personal physician and/or nutritionist to help formulate a plan to enact change. Through consultation and research people will be able to better understand how nutraceuticals can improve their day to day healthy living.
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