Health-beneficial nutraceuticals - myth or reality?


  • S. Sauer
  • A. Plauth


  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


  • Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 101 (3): 951-961


  • The modern term nutraceutical sounds extremely promising to the health-conscious consumers and to the broad audience. But what are the scientific foundations of this hybrid between nutrient and pharmaceutical? Still, most compelling evidence for potential health-beneficial effects of nutraceuticals seem to derive from descriptive and correlative epidemiological data. Here, we will take an inventory of the general concepts of research to assess the current plethora of health claims that were made for nutraceutical products. Thereby, we will discuss the limitations of current experimental approaches to advance in establishing mechanistic or causal links to the possible benefits of bioactive dietary molecules. Finally, we aim to provide perspectives to generate potential scientific evidence for the beneficial effects of nutraceuticals on human physiology.