Nutraceutics is an area of pharmacology regarding food components or active ingredients that may be used
as therapeutic agents. This includes a large number of compounds, such as an active ingredient, food supplements, and functional foods, as well as preparations based on medicinal herbs. Most compounds are vegetable originated, but there are also substances with animal origin (e.g., fish oil). Recent studies have shown
promising results for these drugs in various pathological complications such as diabetes, atherosclerosis,
cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders. These conditions involve many changes, including
alterations redox state, and most of nutraceuticals have antioxidant activity with ability to counteract this
situation. Hence, nutraceuticals are considered as sources of health promotion, and they, nowadays, have received a considerable interest.
Since nutraceuticals are generally considered like ‘foods’, their use does not strictly follow the same rules of
classical drugs and have no patent protection. The process of market release for a drug is a very lengthy,
starting from ‘in vitro’ demonstration of possible effects, followed by evaluation in animal models and then
in humans analyzing effectiveness and tolerability of therapies. Following approval and market availability,
there is strict monitoring of side effects.