Nutraceutical Definition

Chemistry Glossary Definition of Nutraceutical

supplement capsules
A nutraceutical can be a food, herb, or supplement with therapeutic properties. Tetra Images/Getty Images

Nutraceutical Definition

The term nutraceutical was coined in the 1990's by Dr. Stephen DeFelice. He defined nutraceutical as follows:

"A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered designer foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups and beverages.

It is important to note that this definition applies to all categories of food and parts of food, ranging from dietary supplements such as folic acid, used for the prevention of spina bifida, to chicken soup, taken to lessen the discomfort of the common cold. This definition also includes a bio-engineered designer vegetable food, rich in antioxidant ingredients, and a stimulant functional food or pharmafood.'"

Since the term was coined, its meaning has been modified. Health Canada defines nutraceutical as follows:

"A Nutraceutical is a product isolated or purified from foods, and generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food and demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease."

Examples of Nutraceuticals:

beta-carotene, lycopene