Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Research

: 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 79--82

Metabolic management: The role of nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals

Ashok D.B. Vaidya 
 Chief Editor, JOMR

Correspondence Address:
Ashok D.B. Vaidya
Chief Editor, JOMR

How to cite this article:
Vaidya AD. Metabolic management: The role of nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals.J Obes Metab Res 2014;1:79-82

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Vaidya AD. Metabolic management: The role of nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals. J Obes Metab Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Mar 5 ];1:79-82
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Recently, the 9 th Nutra India Summit was held at Bengaluru from March 12 to 14, 2014. At the same location, a major EXPO was also organized for the manufacturers of nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals. [1] The conference was organized by the International Society for nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals with MM ACTIV, supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Government of Karnataka and the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management. The sponsors included "Who's Who?" of the Nutra Industry of India and the world. The conference has been a major event in India for more than a decade. The participants included eminent scientists, industrialists and academicians. Dr. V. Prakash, a member of the Advisory Expert Panel of JOMR, has been the prime mover and leader of the Nutra summits. The deliberations at the conference and the display of products at the expo nudged your editor to focus on the role of nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals in the management of metabolic disorders.

The present issue of JOMR has articles on metformin - a synthetic derivative of galegine (isoamylene guanidine) from Galega officinalis. The antidiabetic activity of G. officinalis was shown as back as in 1800s. Patade and Marita have well-traced the history of metformin in the present issue. [2] Puranik et al. have shown the pharmacokinetic interaction of metformin with formulations in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-FN01) (Curcuma longa + E. officinalis). [3] In Ayurveda, there is a long tradition of integrative management of obesity and diabetes. [4],[5] The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has also many modalities of treatment of metabolic disorders. It is a bit unfortunate that despite the usage-safety of millennia and the current basic research on activity of these traditional modalities, these opportunities for new drug discovery and development are often lost. [6] To avail of such hits, reverse pharmacology has been evolved as a novel path for drug discovery. [7] The experienced traditional, safe, and active remedies are explored with the state-of-the art bedside and basic drug research. The leads gained can be developed as drug candidates. [8]

A paradigm shift of a similar kind is also needed for the R and D on nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals. A neologism for this approach is called - reverse nutraceutics. [9] Recently, a meeting was held of eminent scientists, pharmacologists and Ayurvedic physicians to consider the possibility of developing a phytopharmaceutical that would have a major global impact on the unmet medical needs. [10] Such a task force approach can also be brought to the field of nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals. At the Nutra Summit meeting, an eminent scientist Dr. G. Thyagarajan - the Former Director, CSIR laboratories and the former scientific secretary - COST-ED suggested the need of a global research alliance for nutraceuticals development. Such an endeavor of an intersectoral R and D program in the Nutra field would lead to innovative products in nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals from the traditional nutritional and health heritage. [11] The domain of metabolic disorders is in urgent need of safe preventive and therapeutic modalities.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the pioneer of the green revolution and Chief Mentor, UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the conference. In his distinguished address, as a leader of Agricultural Sciences, he reminded all the sectors that zero hunger is a key challenge. He said, "The South Asian enigma is that 39% of the kids suffer stunted growth and low birth weight. One in four kids dies due to hunger and malnutrition. Some of the foods that we come across everyday have plenty of nutritional value. We need to ensure that the message is passed on to the public. For example, Moringa oleifera (drumstick) has 25 times more iron than spinach, 17 times more calcium than milk, 15 times more potassium than bananas, 9 times more protein than yogurt, and 10 times more vitamins than carrot." Besides, its richness in these micronutrients, Majambu Mbikay has recently reviewed the therapeutic potential of M. oleifera leaves in hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia. [12] There is a sizable base of experimental and clinical evidence showing the antihyperglycemic and antidyslipidemic effects of the extracts of M. oleifera leaves. [13],[14],[15],[16],[17] The commercially available products are quite costly for example moringa capsules ($14.95), moringa tea/powder ($10.95), moringa extracts ($16.45) and moringa seeds ($45.00): There are 300 seeds/package. [18] Imagine the cost based on the dollar: Rupee parity! The local self-government organizations need to take up a wide spread cultivation of M. oleifera trees in all Indian towns and villages with a forward linkage of its leaves and drumsticks in regular food, nutritionals and nutraceuticals. We all know about the cartoon character Popeye - the sailor man-famous for his strength derived from spinach. We need to imagine a new comic character, one who derives nutrition from M. oleifera and performs feats of bravery like the legendary Bheema. The Sanskrit name of the tree is Shigru. Can we name the character as Shigrula-a strong girl? Her rich nutrient intake of Moringa and brave feats, through cartoon films, would inspire millions of kids to emulate her!

Prof. Pingfan Rao, President, International Union of Food Science and technology, Director, Institute of Biotechnology Fuzhou University, China, made an excellent presentation on "intestine: The key target of antioxidant nutraceuticals." He stressed the need for a balance between reactive oxygen species and antioxidants, both in the gastrointestinal tract and systemically. He phrased for the oxidant damaged tissue debris and substances a term "detrimental metabolic waste." The latter corresponds to a subset of aam in Ayurveda. His remarkable findings of the channels, which carry fluorescent superoxide dismutase (TAT-SOD) were a highlight of the conference. [19] He showed how inflammatory foods cause oxidant damage and the channels from the intestine to liver light up. The effects of intracellular superoxide removal at acupoints with TAT-SOD has been studied on obesity. [20] Indian spices present in Indian curry have phytochemicals, which counter the oxidant damage and raise the level of serotonin and melatonin in the plasma.

The commonly used antiobesity and antidiabetic Ayurvedic foods, plants and drugs have to be re-evaluated from this perspective. The gut flora plays a significant role in obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. [21] The relationships of gut microbiome, probiotics, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were discussed by Dr. Rama Vaidya. [22] Some species of the genus of Lactobacillus in the guts of mice, affect the level of a bile acid - tauro-beta-muricholic acid. With lower levels of Lactobacillus, this bile acid increases and it inhibits farnesoid X receptor (FXR) - a regulator of the metabolism of fats and glucose. Inhibition of FXR in the intestine is a potential target for antiobesity drugs. [23] Commiphora wightii (gugglu) is a known antiobesity and hypolipidemic drug in Ayurveda and Guggulip is a product from the plant. [24] The active principles of the plant guggulsterone - inhibits FXR. [25] This suggests a mechanistic understanding of the weight loss observed earlier with a preparation of guggulu - triphala guggulu. [4] There is a need to develop an appropriate oral delivery system of the product as a prebiotic.

Dr. Nicolas Issaly, from Spain, presented a review of their natural product Glucevia ® , derived from the seeds/fruits of the plant Fraxinus excelsior. The plant was used for a long time in the Mediterranean countries. Within 3 weeks of therapy, the postprandial glycemia, as judged by the area under the curve of glucose levels after an oral load of 50 g, showed a reduction of 28.2% from the basal value. The company has launched the product in the North American nutraceuticals market. [26] The active principles appear to work through the hepatic mechanisms of glucose homeostasis. This suggests the need to explore other nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals for such an effect, for example Salacia prenoides. Phyllanthus amarus, a known hepatoprotective plant can be targeted for its effect on NAFLD and metabolic syndrome, as other hepatoprotective plant - Picrorhiza kurroa has shown a significant effect in an experimental model of NAFLD. [27]

The importance of the maternal nutrition for the growing fetus is well-known. The stress on the intake of the macro- and micro-nutrients during pregnancy cannot be over emphasized. And still the rampant prevalence of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is shocking. It has been well-demonstrated that IUGR leads, in the later life, to the development of metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. [28] Dr. Deepak Dave, an eminent leader of Obstetrics and Gynecology who had chaired a session on R and D innovation in ingredients at the Nutra summit, coined a new term - Matruceuticals for maternal nutraceuticals, nutritionals, and naturals. Dr. Sukhinder Kaur Cheema, Professor of Biochemistry from Canada, made an excellent presentation on the power of omega-3 fatty acids in health - from conception through ageing. She has been studying Omega-3 fatty acids for its impact on heart disease, NAFLD, diabetes and obesity. She showed that flax seed oil, by activation of PPAR-γ, can reduce lipid accumulation in a rat model of metabolic syndrome. [29] She has shown that a mother's diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation can enhance the cardiovascular health of the child in adulthood. Her PhD student Kayode Balogun found that the adipocytes are smaller in these offsprings and these have higher brain stores of DHA. [30] The later is positively correlated with better memory, cognition and IQ. Dr. Cheema said, "India is also having major issues with obesity, heart disease and diabetes and we thought an awareness of the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids could help. However, since a majority of the population is vegetarian, they would be more interested in vegetarian sources of Omega-3." There was a discussion on the uses of the vegetable sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in India. The use of flax seed chutney in Maharashtra is quite common. There is an urgent need to develop Matruceuticals with stable Omega-3 fatty acids.

The Expo, at the Nutra summit, had many stalls and the coverage was very wide of products and processes. The Nutra sector in India is growing rapidly, despite the bureaucratic delays at the government level for precise guidelines and new product approvals by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Recently, after several years, the new regulations have been gazetted. [31] This should encourage the academia and industry to embark upon R and D collaboration for nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals for obesity and metabolic disorders. There is vast potential of selected medicinal plants from Ayurveda and TCM. There is a need to brainstorm on deciding the priorities as per the available evidence on their safety, activity, and traditional usage. The work carried out by CSIR, ICMR, and DBT and academia in nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals needs to be systematized into a database, like the traditional knowledge digital library (CSIR). The hits and leads in nutraceuticals, nutritionals and naturals obtained by the CSIR-NMITLI multi-institutional program offer significant leads in hepatitis, arthritis, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus type 2. [32],[33] Recently, one such formulation (DM-FN02) has been taken up for further drug development. There are several which await an initiative from both the Pharma and Nutra industries. This may lead to novel safe modalities for the management of metabolic disorders.


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