Nutraceuticals and nanotechnology
The use of nanotechnology in nutraceuticals is rapidly growing due to their ability to improve active ingredient solubility, stability and bioavailability. Their unique properties are mainly conferred by small size and high surface-to-volume ratio. However, these physico-chemical properties are also responsible for potential adverse effects of nanomaterials on human health. In order to develop new marketable nutraceutical formulations, the evaluation of their efficacy and safety is required. In this work, we present an in vitro-based approach to simultaneously evaluate efficacy and safety of new formulations in agreement with European Food Safety Authority recommendations and in high-throughput screening fashion. This approach is time and costs effectiveness, providing a useful support to Companies since it well fits with the safe-by-design concept that is currently under development in Europe.
The term nutraceutical was coined in 1989 by Stephen L. DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovative Medicine (New York), combining nutrition and pharmaceutical (1-2). Nutraceuticals are defined as foods, or part of foods, providing medical and health benefits such as the prevention and treatment of diseases (2-3). Nutraceuticals range from isolated nutrients and dietary supplements to processed product, such as cereals and beverages (1,4-5). In the last years, people tried to improve the quality of life modifying their diet and substituting modern medicine with alternative and natural products. Therefore, nutraceutical market and related R&D are rapidly growing (6).
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