Frequently Asked Questions Q1. What are Nutraceuticals?
Answer: Nutraceuticals are products that provide health and medicinal benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foodstuff. They are used to promote general well-being, control symptoms and prevent malignant processes. Nutraceuticals are broadly classified as Functional foods and Dietary Supplements.
Functional foods are consumed as part of the usual diet, and are demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions. These products help prevent a disease or compromised health condition and/or improve physical or mental performance. Nutraceuticals ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. DHA) can be targeted at heart health or general cognitive health based formulations. Examples of functional foods are Omega Fatty Acid Fortified Foods, Probiotic Fortified Foods, Branded Iodinated Salt, Fictional Beverages like Energy Drinks, Sports Drinks, Fortified Juices etc.
Dietary Supplements are defined as any product containing dietary ingredients intended to supplement a diet. Dietary ingredients in these products may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandular and metabolites. Examples of Dietary Supplements are Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, Herbal Supplements, Protein Supplements, Chyawanprash etc.
Q2. What is a Drug food interaction?
Answer: A drug-food interaction occurs when the food you eat affects the ingredients in a medicine you are taking so the medicine cannot work the way it should or cause a side effect from a medicine to get worse or better or cause a new side effect. Due to drug-food interaction the medicine can also change the way your body uses a food. Drug-food interactions can happen with both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including antacids, vitamins and iron pills, so always ask your doctor and or pharmacist before initiating any course of medication.
Not all medicines are affected by food, but many medicines can be affected by what you eat and when you eat it. For example - Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) e.g. Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Esomeprazole etc. are very common for chronic acidity and gas. They work by decreasing the amount of acid made in the stomach. The food may delay or decrease absorption on PPIs, so they are recommended to take in empty stomach for maximum absorption and efficacy.
On the other hand, some medicines are easier to tolerate when taken with food. For example- Common Painkillers and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Aspirin, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen and Antipyretics Paracetamol are always recommended to administer with food or milk to avoid stomach upset. These medicines may even cause stomach bleeding for alcoholic patients, especially to those who drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day.