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FREE RADICALS AND ANTIOXIDANTS (NUTRACEUTICALS): A BOON TO HUMAN HEALTH. Sarbjeet Kaur, Shabnam preet Kaur, Pritpal Kaur, Nondita Prasad

FREE RADICALS AND ANTIOXIDANTS (NUTRACEUTICALS): A BOON TO HUMAN HEALTH.

Sarbjeet Kaur, Shabnam preet Kaur, Pritpal Kaur, Nondita Prasad

International Journal of Natural Product Science 2012: Spl Issue 1:175.

Abstract(RBIP-175)

Nutraceutical, term is the blend of two words, ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’, is a food or food product that reportedly provides health and medical benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered foods, herbal products and processed foods such as cereals, soups, and beverages. Nutraceutical products were considered alternative medicine for many years. They have become a more mainstream supplement to the diet. Nutraceuticals can be broadly classified into four categories – Dietary supplements, functional foods, medical foods and farmaceuticals. These products typically claim to prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay the ageing process and increase life expectancy. In recent years, there is upsurge in areas related to newer developments in prevention of disease especially the role of antioxidants and free radicals. The term ‘free radical’ is used to describe reactive species such as ‘excited states’ that lead to free radical reaction. So, they play an important role in, generation of ATP from ADP (oxidative phosphorylation), detoxification of xenobiotics, apoptosis of defective cells and oxygenases for generation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. ‘Antioxidants’ are the substances that neutralize free radicals or their actions. These are capable of neutralizing free radical or their actions, act at different levels of prevention, interception and repair. There are epidemiological evidences correlating higher intake of compounds/foods with antioxidant abilities to lower incidence of various human morbidities or mortalities. Natural products from dietary components such as Indian spices and medicinal plants like Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Bacopa monera, Curcuma longa, Ocimum sanctum etc. are known to possess antioxidant activity. Newer and future approaches includes gene therapy to produce more antioxidant in body, genetically engineered plant products with higher level of antioxidants, synthetic antioxidant enzymes, novel biomolecules and use of functional food enriched with antioxidants.
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