Health Canada (2002) defines the term as “a product isolated or purified from foods that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food. A nutraceutical is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease.” Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplementsand specific diets, to herbal products.
Nutraceuticals provide extra health benefits in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. Nutraceutical products typically prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay the aging process, and increase life expectancy. Over 60% of the North American population takes at least one type of nutraceutical health product at present time.
The main use of nutraceuticals is to accomplish desirable therapeutic outcomes with reduced side effects, as compared with conventional approaches like pharmaceuticals. Nutraceuticals are protected by trademarks. Their prices directly reflect the potency, the quality of purification and extraction processes and the bioavailability.