Definitions

Nutraceuticals is a term coined by Stephen DeFelice, M.D., founder and chairman of the private, nonprofit Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, Cranford, NJ, a decade ago. A nutraceutical is ‘any substance that may be considered a food or part of a food and provides medicinal or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.

Phytochemical: The term phytochemical is a fairly recent term that emphasizes the plant source of some of these health-protecting compounds. Currently, the terms ‘phytochemical’ and ‘phytonutrient‘ are being used interchangeably to describe the active components of plants. Scientists are examining the antioxidant, immune-boosting and other health-promoting properties of active compounds in plants. Phytonutrients or phytochemicals that are being studied presently include (and are not limited to) terpenes, carotenoids, limonoids, and phytosterols.

Antioxidant: Any substance that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and thus modifying chemical structures.

Phytonutrients: Currently, the terms ‘phytonutrient’ and ‘phytochemical’ are being used interchangeably to describe those plant compounds which are thought to have health-protecting qualities and disease-preventing compounds

Glycoprotein: A molecule that consists of a carbohydrate (sugar) plus a protein. Glycoproteins play essential roles in the body. For instance, in the immune system almost all of the key molecules involved in the immune response are glycoproteins.

Glucopeptide: A glycopeptide is similar in structure to a glycoprotein but has a shorter chain of amino acids.

Chemoprevention: Chemoprevention uses one or several chemical compounds to prevent, stop, or reverse the development of cancer.

Functional foods, as defined by the Institute of Medicine in Washington, are those foods that encompass potentially healthful products including any modified food or ingredient that may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains. Functional foods can include foods like cereals, breads and beverages which are fortified with vitamins, herbs or nutraceuticals.

Designer Food: Designer foods are processed foods that are supplemented with food ingredients naturally rich in disease preventing substances.

Pharmafood: Pharma foods are foods or nutrients that claim medical or health benefits including the prevention and treatment of disease.

Allopathic medicine: Allopathic medicine is modern medicine. It is a method of treating disease by the use of agents producing effects different from those of the disease being treated.

Glycoform: Same as a glycoprotein.

Glycosylated: Cells are said to be glycosylated when all cell receptors are fully bonded with complete glycoforms.

Glycolipid: Sugar molecules or chains joined to fat (lipid) molecules or chains.