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A Nutraceutical is a pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrient. Nutraceuticals are regulated by FDA under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Nutraceuticals are treated differently in different jurisdictions.
Under Canadian law, a nutraceutical can either be marketed as a food or as a drug; the terms "nutraceutical" and "functional food" have no legal distinction, referring to "a product isolated or purified from foods that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food [and] is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease."
The term "nutraceutical" is not defined by US law. Depending on its ingredients and the claims with which it is marketed, a product is regulated as a drug, dietary supplement, food ingredient, or food.
In the global market, there are significant product quality issues. Nutraceuticals from the international market may claim to use organic or ingredients, yet the lack of regulation may compromise the safety and effectiveness of products. Companies looking to create a wide profit margin may create unregulated products overseas with low-quality or ineffective ingredients.
A market research report produced in 2012 projected that the worldwide nutraceuticals market would reach US$250 billion by 2018, defining that market as "Dietary Supplements (Vitamins, Minerals, Herbals, Non-Herbals, & Others), and Functional Foods & Beverages"
Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources that are purported to provide extra health benefits, in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. Depending on the jurisdiction, products may claim to prevent chronic diseases, improve health, delay the aging process, increase life expectancy, or support the structure or function of the body.
A dietary supplement is a product that contains nutrients derived from food products that are concentrated in liquid or capsule form. In the US, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined the term: “A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders.”
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