Nutraceuticals.. What are they?
To define nutraceutical is to say that they are components of foods & edible plants that have health benefits. We know about calcium and vitamins A, C, D and E in the US today. The first Nutraceutical was Vitamin C. It took over 400 years to ID the part or chemical in oranges, limes and lemons that was stopping sailors from dying of scurvy during the 1500’s… It was during the early 1930’s that vitamin C was identified, isolated & purified and later synthesized….1
Do you remember reading in schoolbooks about the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria...?..Columbus’ ships for his discovery of the New World. I did not remember that he returned to Europe with only one of those ships. Columbus had lost 2/3 of his crew, so he could return with only one ship.2 Those sailors had died at sea because of scurvy.
Not long afterwards, sailors were drinking “grog”- - a mixture of rum and lime juice.3 One can sample the concoction today during a Caribbean vacation. Now we know that Vitamin C helps with scurvy as well as asthma and other ailments.
During the mid 1970’s, studies were done that showed that those suffering with asthma had the lowest levels of A,C & E in their lungs.4 There is recent Vitamin C study, sponsored by the NIH. The abstract can be found on www.pubmed.gov. This new study stated that 1 gram of vitamin C…given twice daily to those with stomach cancer… caused a regression of symptoms (5.3 chance)…even more than an indicated antibiotic (4.8 chance).5 This is more evidence of the importance of fruits and vegetables in one’s diet. One, two or three servings of these foods is no longer enough. One needs 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily in a varied diet.
A newer anti-odxidant is grape seed extract. It is 20 times stronger than vitamin C. It may be the reason for the French Paradox!