How healthy you are and how good you feel is directly linked to what you eat. We accept this truth that food is medicine. Would you be willing to next level this truth if it meant better health and a possible longer life? Nutraceuticals is the term coined in 1989 that seeks to tie nutrition via bioactive nutrients to pharmaceuticals. It focuses on plant nutrients that serve a medical purpose.
You could be forgiven for not thinking of nutrients as being alive. This approach to health and wellness is receiving a wellspring of support fueled in part by the legalization of the cannabis plant that pushes us to understand the relationship between the plant and mammals—both as living forms.
Nutraceuticals ask whether plants have the capacity to learn and if they have a memory. It stretches us to perceive that a plant, may in fact, have its own sentient life form just as a mammal has life. Botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer cites photosynthesis, the ability to take non-living elements such as air, light, water and turn them into food that can be shared, or turned into medicine. An aging demographic seeking to enhance the quality of possible longer lives and millennials fixated on knowing where their fresh food comes from are prime candidates to grow this market.
According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Bio-Science, the nutraceuticals market can be classified into functional foods, dietary supplements, medicinal foods and pharmaceuticals. Under these four categories, the market is further segmented by how the products are used in the areas of bodybuilding, diabetes control, pain relief and weight control.
Nutraceutical research supports the claim that food and plant bioactives prevent cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, vascular inflammation and vascular compliance. Interestingly, cannabis research on the endocannabinoid system also supports the treatment of problems brought on by these diseases like chronic pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, PTSD, fibromyalgia, and diabetic or HIV neuropathic pain.
A keen look at cannabis trends in the emerging wellness market is possible because we know demographic preferences, we can substantiate buying patterns from consumer purchase data and we begin to consistently evaluate brands and product strength.
Additionally, more than simple anecdotal research on several food and plant bioactives exist. Curcumin, derived from the plant Curcuma longa, is one such example. It is the active ingredient in turmeric composing two to six percent of the spice and is widely used in India and Southeast Asia. Research suggests curcumin protects against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative malignancies. The natural compounds in cannabis strengthen such propositions and offer a growth opportunity for the field of nutraceuticals.
The public has taken a hard line toward eliminating opioids and an interest in the benefits of nutraceutical products over conventional medicines to fuel the nutraceutical market growth. With this demand, manufacturers will diversify their product offerings and introduce more products to keep pace with the market.