The concept of nutraceutical is one gaining traction across many sectors, from the pharma industry to the increasing interest of consumers.
But what are nutraceuticals exactly and what types of nutraceutical ingredients are being well received and successfully incorporated into brands’ catalogs? We take a look at the growing nutraceutical market.
What are nutraceuticals?
The term nutraceutical refers to a series of products that, derived from food sources, present exceptional health benefits that surpass common nutritional claims in regular food.
As such, they typically include concentrated forms of biologically active components that enhance health and wellness in one way or another.
The concept emerges by mixing the words “nutrient” and “pharmaceutical” and it was coined in 1989 by Stephen deFelice, founder and chairman of FIM, the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine. Other names for nutraceutical ingredients include nutritional supplements, functional foods, or medical foods, among others.
Nutraceutical products focus on health from a prevention perspective. Additionally, they can also promote well-being and help control certain symptoms, which may include both physical and psychological manifestations.
The growth of nutraceuticals directly responds to certain shifts in the current market:
- A marked preference for holistic wellness, typically accompanied by a preference for natural products. This has also pushed other developments, such as the prominent vitamin industry growth.
- An expansion in research around nutrition and its effects on health. This is particularly true in the case of increased innovation around food supplements, vitamins and minerals: immunity, mental health, organic and natural products.
Types of nutraceuticals ingredients
- Dietary Supplements: made to include nutrients derived from food products, they contain concentrated bioactive nutrients (such as vitamins, amino acids, minerals, enzymes…). These often come in the form of pills, tablets, gummies, capsules, liquids or powder, among other formulas.
- Functional foods: these are food ingredients or products known for their exceptional nutritional value. Whole grains, yogurt, and bee products are included in this category. For instance, bee pollen use for therapeutic applications falls under this category.
Both traditional functional foods (nutrient-rich such as walnuts) and modern products, which are enhanced versions of food ingredients (such as milk with added calcium).
- Medical foods: this category of nutraceutical ingredients includes those that are prescribed in certain diet management actions or to manage particular health conditions.
5 benefits of nutraceuticals
Overall health improvement
Nutraceuticals are associated with an improvement in overall health. As such, certain nutraceutical ingredients have a direct influence in improving arterial hypertension or digestive processes, among other benefits. Such is the well-known case of propolis and its multiple health benefits.
You might be interested: Propolis extract, health benefits in pharma and food supplement products
Prevention of chronic diseases
The risk of developing diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular illnesses can be minimized by the proper intake of certain nutraceutical ingredients. The immune system boost provided by ingredients such as Manuka Honey also falls into this category.
An energy boost
Nutraceuticals containing vitamins from Vitamin B and Vitamin D group help enhancing energy levels and staying active.
An aid for adequate sleeping patterns
Natural ingredients such as valeria or the traditional milk and honey remedy are also considered as part of the benefits of nutraceutical ingredients.
A relief for anxiety and other mental imbalances
Among the nutraceutical ingredients list, those containing Vitamin D and Vitamin B are related to mood improvements related to anxiety and depression.
What is the difference between a nutraceutical and a pharmaceutical?
While both types of products are health related, there are at least three areas in which it’s possible to discriminate between the two:
- Nutraceuticals are perceived as an aid for health prevention: they are often contemplated as a way to prevent certain illnesses, or as part of a recovery process. Pharmaceutical ingredients, on the other hand, are known to relieve or treat present symptoms in the development of a particular disease.
- These two systems are regulated separately and in a different manner. It can be argued that the pharma industry is heavily regulated in order to protect consumers from inadequate usage and thus often require medical prescription. Nutraceutical ingredient manufacturers, on the other hand, have not been placed under such high scrutiny: most don’t require medical supervision to be consumed and don’t need to be clinically proven, among other differences.
- This also makes a difference in how pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals can be marketed and advertised. For instance, in the U.S.A., nutraceuticals must display a disclaimer specifying they’re not medication and cannot claim to be a cure for a particular disease.
However, they do follow certain regulations, just like the food supplement regulations in Europe.
Nutraceuticals ingredients: wholesale options
Bee products stand out at the center of the nutraceutical trend, as the growing interest in bee products by the pharma industry shows.
This is due to a conflation of reasons which include the natural origin of bee products and its traditional applications, well-known for a wide range of human cultures around the world.
In a post COVID-19 landscape for nutraceuticals, natural remedies and traditional approaches to health are gaining traction in consumers’ minds.
In fact, it’s the post-pandemic focus on immunity boosting that is again putting a renewed focus on nutraceutical ingredients produced by bees and their well-known benefits.
A natural source of multiple bioactive substances (including proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids and minerals), bee products’ health advantages include:
- Prevention and reduction of a number of illnesses and imbalances, from upper respiratory tract infections to gastrointestinal disorders, blood circulation issues or those related to bone tissue
- Energy boost and mood enhancement
- Anti-inflammatory action
- Lowering of blood pressure and blood circulation improvements
- Probiotic and prebiotic effects
- A source of antioxidants
- Acceleration of wound healing
Ingredients from the beehive
The following are the beehive products that are considered as part of the nutraceutical ingredients list:
- Propolis: the key health benefits of propolis include vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin PP and minerals such as chrome, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum.
- Royal Jelly: a source of vitamin B1, B2, B6, E, PP, folic acid, iron, calcium, sodium, manganese, copper, potassium and zinc.
- Bee Pollen: contains simple sugars, protein, minerals and vitamins including all vitamins from group B, C, D and E, and a high content in beta carotenes.
- Honey: contains vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, iodine and zinc.
- Manuka Honey: a source of nutrition, containing amino acids, B-vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
In such a context, the well-known multiple benefits of honey and other beehive products stand out as consumers search for natural alternatives to supplement their diets and boost their health.
The inclusion of bee products in the pharma industry’s catalogs bears witness to this, an inclusion that is taking many forms: from tablets, to capsules, powders, drinks and medical confectionery or energy bars, among other innovative formats.
In such a context, at HoneyGreen we work every day to become a trusted partner for the pharma industry, providing the highest quality and specifications of our clients in our wholesale bee products.
Want to learn more about beehive nutraceuticals and the potential to build a successful pharma catalog today? Take a look at our free resource guides for inspiration and get in touch with our team to talk about how we can help you incorporate nutraceutical ingredients into modern, thriving formulas.